Saturday, September 1, 2012
Five Years After Five Years Later...
In 2011, I offered a multi-year breakdown of my Martian Manhunter fandom, leading to the creation of this blog. Much of it centered on my late '90s WebTV fan site Martian Manhunter: The Rock of the JLA, which had been put to rest approximately five years before my first post here. I've talked a lot in the past about finer details of all that mess, to the point where I'm sick of repeating myself and I'm sure longtime readers can recite it from heart. I've been doing Manhunter from Mars blogging on something vaguely equivalent to a daily basis for most of the past five years, once I got my act together, and you can find 365 posts for each of them archived in the sidebar. Instead of boring you with another navel gazing history lesson, I'd like to do a little compare and contrast with regard to the past half decade.
The Aquaman Shrine inspired me to reinvent the old fan site as a blog, and came out six months or so ahead of the Idol-Head. At the time, Arthur Curry/Orin was dead, replaced by some random kid in a series that was very near cancellation after a misguided shift toward sword & sorcery. In the time since, Aquaman has been resurrected in his iconic presentation, his classic supporting cast revived, he's spent the past three years headlining bestselling series (Blackest Night, Brightest Day and Aquaman) by one of the most popular and accomplished creative teams currently working in the industry, and is no longer a pop culture joke (or at least is far less so.)
BOO$TERRIFIC started in 2007, contemporaneous to the launch of the second Booster Gold ongoing series. It ran 49 issues, thirteen more than any starring the Martian Manhunter. For one of those years, Booster was also in Justice League: Generation Lost before leading the latest iteration of Justice League International as part of the New 52.
Supergirl Comic Box Commentary arose three months after this blog, during the period when the Maid of Might's solo series was adrift following the departure of Jeph Loeb and his terrible Image artists. The title improved almost immediately, Supergirl became more integrated into the Superman family, and a fan favorite run by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle began. The New 52 relaunch of the book is well within the top 100 comics published each month.
Firestorm Fan launched in January of 2009, citing the Aquaman Shrine and Idol-Head of Diabolu as inspirations. At the time, Ronnie Raymond was a deceased recovered alcoholic, while Jason Rusch was limping along on guest appearances three years after the cancellation of his short-lived series. Since then, the Nuclear Man co-starred in two of the books that made Aquaman more popular than the X-Men before getting a New 52 series that is still doing okay.
Being Carter Hall took flight in 2008, a couple of years after that guy's girlfriend stole their book from him and one after she ran it aground. Hawkman was in two of the same books as Aquaman and Firestorm, and has his own New 52 ongoing which is currently doing slightly better than The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men.
Subject: The Suicide Squad: Task Force X accepted its mission in October of 2010. It had been nearly twenty years since a Squad book had lasted more than twelve issues, involving two unsuccessful revivals. The New 52 volume launched a year later, and sells almost twice as much as The Savage Hawkman.
The last ever eponymous Martian Manhunter comic was published a few months before The Idol-Head of Diabolu opened. J'Onn J'Onzz had already been booted from the Justice League, and wasn't appearing very much. He almost joined Batman and the Outsiders, but the first three issues were scrapped and a whole new creative team were hired to offer him as part of a guest appearance before the new team solidified. Less than a year into the blog's life, the Manhunter was unceremoniously murdered in Final Crisis #1. He stayed dead for a year or so, appearing in the early comics tied into Blackest Night, but swiftly faded into the background. Returning from the grave, he was also in Brightest Day, but was voted by Newsarama readers one of the least popular features. In the New 52, he lost his founding status among the Justice League, was a background player in a relaunched Stormwatch series, and will be joining a JLA b-team clearly set up to be mowed down in the event crossover "The Trinity War." No solo series, like the ones enjoyed by Batwing, Grifter, OMAC, Frankenstein, the vampire Andrew Bennett, Mister Terrific, Voodoo, the Phantom Stranger or Talon, are forthcoming.
For five years, I've pressed for acknowledgement of fifty-seven years of Martian Manhunter stories, supporting players and villains in a book of his own that could showcase his distinctions while offering a vehicle for creative innovation from unique talents. Instead, DC has dumped every bit of that continuity, offered virtually nothing but a costume change in its place, and continue to fill out the back end of rosters for second rate teams with the Alien Atlas.
Basically, demonstrably, whatever I've been doing differently from these other blogs over the past five years has gone terribly wrong for everyone concerned. My apologies to the tens of dozens of Sleuth from Outer Space fans out there, especially because I have no intention of changing even one goddamned iota any time soon.