Sunday, January 1, 2012
Happy Zook Year!
Welcome to the year 2012 A.D. It marks 57 years of Martian Manhunter stories, ten years since I ended my old Rock of the JLA fan site, and in September, five years of running this blog. I've tried to do right by J'onn J'onzz over the years, and staying true to the title The Idol-Head of Diabolu, I believe that this is the most comprehensive (though hardly complete) reference source for Alien Atlas adversaries anywhere on the planet Earth. However, one area in which I feel I have been much too lax relates to the comrades of the Martian Manhunter-- his friends, allies, and assorted members of his supporting cast. Given that we're well into a global recession, and we'll be facing unholy negativism leading into the U.S. presidential elections, this seems like a perfect year to try to focus on more positive features on the blog.
I can't think of a single aspect of Martian Manhunter mythos more grinch-proof than Zook, the adorable baby-talking/pidgin-english spouting other-dimensional pet featured in a run of adventures from 1963-1968. Sure there are Zookphobics Anonymous meetings for the haters, but you know, you have to learn to love yourself before you can love quasi-yellowface-minstrel/ space-monkey/teddy bear/ toddlers with super-powers. Peace must be made from within, and it begins with not pronouncing the name as "Zuck."
Zook was presumably created in 1962, debuting in the January 1963 cover-dated Detective Comics #311, which was actually released on November 29, 1962. That would make this year the fiftieth anniversary of the character in print, which like last year's Despero ½centennial will likely be treated as commemorable only by myself.
Let me tell you, Zook would have owned the Teen Titans and led the Legion of Super-Pets if anybody had ever bothered to use him outside of the Manhunter from Mars strip, and the little guy was made for animation. Zook is essentially the embodiment of everything about the Martian Manhunter abandoned Post-Crisis-- the whimsy, the nonsensical plot developments, sequelized planets, teleportational radio waves, a scientist bandit with a head the size of a watermelon, an evil criminal mastermind wearing a Graphitti Designs t-shirt under a blazer -- the works. When I see things like CSBG's "The Greatest Martian Manhunter Stories Ever Told" not featuring a single comic published before 1990, it reminds me that our community won't let J'onn J'onzz have his Silver Age, nor the Bronze, and I just can't allow that without a fight. Martian Manhunter solo stories did not begin and end with Ostrander/Mandrake, and there are just as many delightfully embarrassing skeletons in J'onn's closet as any other old time super-hero.
In 2012, expect to see a lot more of Captain Harding, Idol-Head monsters, Diane Meade, creator biographies, Gypsy, cartoons, the JLI, toys, Cameron Chase, and just plain more fun stuff. We could all use that, right? Before the Mayan-predicted destruction of the world, I mean...