Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2012 “Despero quickie” digital art by Rodrigue Pralier

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I know that I kind of phoned in this December of Despero, but 2013 has not been my favorite year, and there was probably more Kalinorian content day by day (thanks to deviantART) than ever before. Still, I wanted to go out with something special. There's been a lot of Martian Manhunter/DC movie fan casting, both on the internet and right here on the blog, but Despero hasn't been given nearly as much face time. I'm tired of unimaginative people continuing to echo Wizard Magazine's ancient suggestion of Keith David's voice for Despero (weren't Black Panther, Goliath, Apollo, Spawn, Mongul and cartoon Despero enough?) and I've been bummed by the lack of CGI representation. Well, thanks go out to "Bad_Koala" for fixing half that gripe, and offering up the best possible villain for a Justice League movie (as opposed to the New Gods.) I screwed around with Mr. Pralier's art quite a bit above, so you owe it to him and yourself to view the original two perspectives of Despero's head at high resolution on CGHub. It's glorious!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 “Despero's Hostile Takeover” digital art by Chris “CaptainZammo” Robinson

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"The Evil alien from the JLA has returned! But since he needs a retinue, he's going to control the minds of superheroines to allow him to take over the earth. Can Isis stop his evil rampage?"

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2009 “Ultimate Despero” by MegamanNeos

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"The entity now known as Despero has a complicated history, but the gist of it is as follows:

Throughout the known universe, an entity has been the subject of nightmares for millenia. It had no name, and it had no body; it was simply a sentient mass of psionic energy, but it was one of the most dangerous creatures in existence, due to its ability to "possess" physical life-forms. Each of his victims was branded with a third eye.

Pierre Despereaux was formerly a French psychic with a traceling carnival, who used his mental abilities to put on a show for his audience-and to convince them to "donate" their belongings to the carnival. One day during his act, Pierre was reaching out with his mind, when he came upon a ...presence. He had no idea what it was, and "conversed" with the mind he had discovered. Despereaux and the ntity realized how alike they were, neither of them constrained by the morality of others, and joined as one, not like the entities previous victims.

The fused entity then named itself Despero, and using its immense psychic powers, set out to bring the universe under its control. Though Pierre Despereaux's body is now dead, Despero retained the entity's ability to possess other aentities to further its goals."

Friday, December 27, 2013

2010 HeroClix “Custom Despero Ver. 1.0” by Chris tervaco

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Here's a wicked custom of early '90s Despero, which you can see much bigger and from an additional four perspectives by clicking the link.
"So yeah, I'm a little late, but whatever, I was busy. This is Despero, the world conqueror from the Justice League. He was always kind of a joke to me until I read the 80's series when he became this hulking genocidal madman you see here. In this incarnation he killed Steel, Gypsy's parents, and countless other innocent civilians. All this while wearing the United Nations flag as cape. Now, I didn't put the UN symbol on the cape, but I'll get around to it when I'm better at this.

Recipe: He's almost all Etrigan. I sanded off the spikes and belt, and then I trimmed the ears a little. Next I sculpted the head fin out of greenstuff. Then you're all set. He's ready to tear into the Justice League!"

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 An Awkward JUSTICE LEAGUE CHRISTMAS by Nerdist

Don't watch this. It's even worse than the terrible Thanksgiving one. It's just crude, NOT SAFE FOR WORK non-humor and not even especially good cosplay. Charlie Sanders is the worst Martian Manhunter of all time, and I guess the gross stoner affectation is permanent. At least we now know who to blame for this garbage, since the main creator cast himself in an extended non-super role as "Todd." I'm not having a merry Christmas at all, but I only offer up this lump of coal because I'm too tired and miserable to put in greater effort. I don't want you to suffer through this.
It's Christmas at the Justice League of America household and things are just as awkward for them as they might be for your family. Join Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Power Girl and more as they celebrate the holiday.

Written/Directed by Andrew Bowser

Wonder Woman: Valerie Perez
Batman: James Mastraieni
Superman: Ryan Stanger
Aqua Man: Steve Szlaga
Green Lantern: William Sterling
Power Girl : Vegas PG
Hawk Girl : Rachel Middleton
Green Arrow: Bradford Jackson
Martian Manhunter: Charlie Sanders
Todd : Andrew Bowser

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2011 “Beta Ray Bill vs Despero” fan art by Nelson Buck

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I'm not a big Christmas guy, but I try to give the peoples what they want in this time of low comments and high consumerism. Wasn't there something in the nativity story about a horsefaced demigod battling a pink alien with a dragon fin? Or is that a Hindu Christmas thing? Hindu Christmas always messes me up. Anywhere, here's the black and white sketch, the fabled gift given by one of the Four Wise Horsemen of the Christening. The Shinto one, yes?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2012 Martian Manhunter Movie Fan Casting: Raquel Castro as Gypsy

Sometime between 1999 and 2001, I wrote up a fan casting for MARTIAN MANHUNTER: The Motion Picture for my late fan site The Rock of the JLA. Besides being terribly out of date, my casting of heroes and villains skewed very much toward the relatively recent Modern Age. Since the Martian Manhunter was in something like 150 solo adventure strips over thirty years before that period, and about a third as many in the fifteen years I focused on, I essentially cast the Manhunter-centric Justice League movie. I'd like to rectify that...

I put a lot of thought into casting Gypsy. Over a decade back, I fan-casted Alyssa Milano for the JLTF period, but in hindsight that was rather unimaginative and a poor fit. Also, Milano was too old for the part even then. Three years ago, I had the idea of doing a fake Smallville spin-off/continuation called "Middletown" that would star Detective John Jones and the fifteen year old runaway version of Gypsy. I went through dozens of actresses under twenty-five as possibilities, with Cassie Steele and Francia Raisa being top candidates. Still, they were in their early twenties and maturing, so I really wanted to see if I could discover an actual teenager. I finally decided on Raquel Castro, best known as the titular Jersey Girl in Kevin Smith's 2004 dramedy flop. Today, she's 19 and while still nurturing a music career, is back to acting and viable for the role. She's got the right look and attitude, needing only hoop earrings, green eyeshadow, and a patchwork dress.

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Martian Manhunter Movie Fan Casting: Ray Liotta as Despero

In my first fan casting for Martian Manhunter characters in 2000, I assigned the role of Despero to Clancy Brown, based mostly on a fifteen year old performance as The Kurgan. My understanding of Despero has grown considerably since then, as well as my desire for greater nuance. Despero was born a mutant with telepathic abilities who was despised by his people, and retaliated for a lifetime of mistreatment by conquering his world. When his tyranny was ended by the Justice League, it increasingly became the Kalinorian's mission in life to make the heroes suffer. Despero isn't in it for money, fame, or even power. Despero hurts... he hates... he seeks expression for the misery he endured by relishing the torture of those who have wronged him. Despero is a nerd rageaholic, emotionally crippled, defined by the degree to which he can childishly lash out at others. The role doesn't require a brute, but a damaged being.

Ray Liotta has been playing emotionally unstable, wounded, violent, hyperbolic man-children for decades. He seems to be a bit of a nut in real life, and his career hasn't been what it should, but when this guy lights up it's mega-wattage. I think Liotta can play the anger and the angst equally well, and turn Despero from DC's Hulk stand-in to the cunning, toying, complex villain he's meant to be.

Diabolic Movie Fan Casting

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2005 “Team YuuSha” by Andrew George

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"The Eisner Cup's Team Yuusha. Team includes Colossus, Magik, Despero, Monkey Joe, Moondragon, Deathstroke the Terminator, and Squirrel Girl. Created by request."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013 “142 Despero” by ColourOnly85

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Pretty scary for a pink dude with pointy elf ears. Part of "The 215 Project 200 DC Characters."

I Want to be Evil

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Martian Sightings for March, 2014

Martian Manhunter
Written by MATT KINDT
1:25 Robot Chicken Variant cover
On sale MARCH 12 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US. Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information. This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

The fate of the Justice League revealed! Will Manhunter and Stargirl be alive long enough to learn the truth?

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
1:25 Robot Chicken variant
1:25 Variant cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
1:50 Variant cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
1:100 Variant cover by GARY FRANK
On sale MARCH 26 • 48 pg, FC, 7 of 7, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US. Retailers: This issue will ship with six covers. Please see the order form for more information.

It's evil versus evil in the shocking “take-no-prisoners” conclusion to FOREVER EVIL! What will be the fate of Lex Luthor and his Injustice League? Who will live – and who will die? And why is The Hooded Man the most feared being from the Syndicate's world? Do not miss this startling finale that will leave the DC universe reeling and reveal the secrets to the future! This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Master Characters: Commander Blanx as The Apollonian Traitor

45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters [Revised Edition] by Victoria Lynn Schmidt offers a perspective on and resource for writing archetypal male and female pro/antagonists. Given how little anyone has bothered to use Martian Manhunter related characters, I hope referencing the book here and assigning Schmidt's roles to these obscure creations might help to encourage their use by future writers and, more importantly, assist in making said usage function within the framework established by their creators in service to expanding the literary merit of the Manhunter from Mars. A more extensive look at this process can be found in the initial Martian Manhunter entry.

In the case of Commander Blanx, employing the Apollo archetype is less about setting firm rules on how to approach the villain as to add some meat to his narrative bones. Blanx has only ever appeared in two comic book stories, one told posthumously, yet he was treated as the archenemy of the Alien Atlas from 1969-1990 (and in fact retroactively made a nemesis dating back to the character's original 1955 story.) However, in both of his stories, Commander Blanx spends most pages out of sight, directing flunkies and creating circumstances that preoccupy our heroes. Blanx didn't speak a word until 19 pages into his debut, and then only had dialogue on a couple of pages. When he reappeared for a flashback tale eight years later, he only turned up for nine pages, and spoke in a few panels. There's a lot of room for interpretation, but it would be a shame to waste him as a militaristic tyrant in the General Zod vein based on a superficial resemblance, especially since that would fly in the face of what we do know about the character.

Dru-Zod owes his heritage to the likes of Ares and Zeus, conquerers set on subjugation. Commander Blanx sentenced Mars to die as a contractual stipulation of his selling the planet to some aliens. He literally sold out the lives of his people for profit, and while he may have postured and speechified about how they'd grown weak from lack of combat, ideology was clearly less of a concern than personal enrichment. The combination of profit motive and retaliatory action places Blanx in the Businessman/Traitor aspect of the Apollo archetype.

The villainous side of Apollo is shared by Gordon Gekko, Speed's mad bomber Howard Payne, and Ebenezer Scrooge. The Traitor feels undervalued, desiring his due respect and admiration. He is motivated by a personal code of conduct and a drive toward order under his subjective terms. These terms may not conform to an objective morality, but Apollo abides by his own rules and is the hero of his own story. The Traitor is a company man, seeing himself as a chess master moving devoted pieces about the board for the greater good, but any sense of loyalty is lost if the Traitor himself feels betrayed by his people or organization. One line in the description of the archetype is especially telling: "If he sees his company facing disaster, he'll go to extreme lengths to cover up any wrongdoing."

Let's look at how the Apollonian Traitor archtype is determined to best suit Commander Blanx based on canon, and how it should reflect on Blanx with any future usage. The white-skinned polar Martians invaded the lands of the green-skinned Desert Dwellers and attempted to take control of The Blue Flame of Mars for unrevealed reasons. Blanx was the pale Martian military leader, who defeated his opposition's equivalent, J'onn J'onzz. Blanx apparently wanted to execute J'onzz, but was prevented from doing so by popular opinion. Blanx later attempted to secretly murder J'onzz on Earth, but was again stopped by a greater power than himself, the prototype for the Justice League of America. Likewise, despite his new and incredibly powerful friends, J'onn J'onzz never tried to "liberate" his home planet, stating "The Mars I loved is gone! It is a world of lost causes and dead dreams! Evil triumphed over good there!" J'onzz repeatedly returned to Mars for brief visits without adverse consequence, but chose to live of Earth permanently. Meanwhile, whatever purpose Blanx had for taking control of the Blue Flame, he ultimately waited thirteen years to unleash its power to ravage Mars.

Clearly, Blanx would not have bided his time so long to simply destroy Mars, and if Blanx were the sole "evil" on the red planet, J'onzz would have returned home in 1959 as a conquering hero. There must have been an authority beyond either J'onzz or Blanx, whose corruption maintained J'onzz's exile and eventually drove Blanx to destroy his own world. Blanx was likely working in this authority's interests at the time of J'onzz's exile, but at some point was so frustrated in his drive that he became a traitor. Mars in the mid-20th century was considered a dying world, and J'onn J'onzz wished to use the Blue Flame to power a space program. Perhaps Blanx was offended by J'onzz's plans to "abandon" Mars, or he sought a means to renew/expand the power source, or maybe Blanx simply wanted to secure it for his own race. Blanx perhaps had the best of intentions, but at some point his overall strategy for Mars was thwarted, and his exit strategy went nuclear. It's possible he gained and lost what he desired and retaliated, or merely realized that all his plots on Mars were futile, so he sought a fresh start as the last of his kind.

Again, Blanx at least initially worked for the benefit of his people, which earned him trust and considerable leeway. Even as he was destroying Mars, he was assisted by loyalists who were either killed off-panel or somehow abdicated their legal identity as Martians to representation by Blanx for the purpose of the Commander's financial compensation as sole living owner of Mars' mineral rights. Blanx had to be empowered to stake this grandiose claim of entitlement while simultaneously disinheriting every other representative of his species. This plays into how to write the character. Commander Blanx is correct in everything he does in his own mind, anyone who disagrees is wrong, and are therefore subject to Blanx's judgment of fit punishment for their crime against his social order. Any government that does not abide must be torn down, while any individual must be taught a lesson or utterly destroyed as pronounced by Blanx.

One way to approach writing Blanx is through his subordinates. What did they know about Blanx's goals? Were they outright lied to, or simply mislead most grievously? Was it more systemic, like German soldiers consigned to an unjust cause without the strength to rebel, or were otherwise halted from doing so? Was Blanx seen as the last best hope of a doomed planet, and what then caused him to stray so far from the greater good? "When things get chaotic, his emotions fly out of control making him do things he never thought he could. His logical mind holds his emotions at bay, but when situations defy logic, his mind is pushed to the breaking point." Was he driven mad, or merely a product of circumstantial, banal acts of evil? Per Schmidt, Blanx would be a dispassionate perfectionist unwilling to let anything go to an obsessive degree. He would be utterly convinced in his righteousness and the fault lay in any who would dispute this. He enjoys proving himself with drawn out machinations against his foes. If his worth is not valued, he'll "liquidate" assets under his control to claim his due. Others can and should die for his cause, for he is a great man with a pristine vision of the future.

Speaking of which, should Blanx return, how would his arc play out? Would he learn life lessons to loosen up and enjoy the wonder of living itself? Or more likely, would he feel compelled to move on to the next business plan... the next culture to raid with hostility and profit from at the cost of lives and souls? Blanx would want to be cool, calm, and removed, allowing others to get their hands dirty while he reviews the quarterly report. He would seek challenges from contemporaries, so he could take satisfaction in demonstrating his overall superiority at the great game. He only wants what is denied him, and is contemptuous toward genuine affection. This is not a man with fellowship, defined instead by accomplishments and holdings. While sensible, he's a peacock who wants the sharpest mind and looks in any given room.

J'Onn J'Onzz as a wise, humble recluse is the antithesis of Blanx, but Schmidt recommends exposing the Commander to greater sowers of chaos to bend this inflexible fiend. Imagine someone like Lobo as a spanner in his works to confound his efforts without any larger objective, or Bel Juz as a seductress who plays with the player's tightly wound emotions. The death of Mars was only the beginning of the possibilities for a villain who works his harmful ways across whole societies; a remorseless, conscienceless capitalist against the most socially aware of alien heroes...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Manlover from Mars?

Time does not often work in favor of comic book characters. When was the last time you met someone named Clark or Bruce? How about that classic, totally straight golden age favorite "The Gay Ghost?" In that same time period, two separate publishers decided to take the police term "manhunt," add an "er" to the end, and create what they thought would be formidable trackers of the world's deadliest game. Today, and quite frankly for some time, references to a "Manhunter" have been more broadly interpreted like, well, this. I've been addressing the "gayness" of J'Onn J'Onzz's nom de cape since the late '90s by pointing out that he was a married father who's had numerous sexual relationships with women of various races and species while asserting himself as a heterosexual male, sometimes quite pointedly.

Recently though, I've been reconsidering the matter of the Sleuth from Outer Space's sexual orientation. I'm a big believer in representation of all people through the spectrum of super-heroics. These are figures meant to inspire the best in all of us, so it kind of sucks when white males have their pick of Super Friends, while minorities are asked to make do with Samurai, Apache Chief, El Dorado and Black Vulcan. There's been a trend toward depicting John Jones as African-American in popular media, but for many he'll never be African nor American, and there's always the reminder that his first four decades in comics were spent in the human identities of various Caucasians. The Alien Atlas is undeniably powerful and well respected within the DC Universe, but if he can never be wholly "owned" by the black community, an adjustment in pigment may forever be seen as a halfhearted measure.

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Meanwhile, John Jones in the Silver Age was no ladies man. Superman and Lois Lane were courting one another from the beginning, while Spider-Man saw years of comics retroactively altered solely because a large contingent of his fans missed the girl-chasing that long defined the character. Batman and Robin were more forcefully pressed into relationships with the newly created Batwoman and Bat-Girl to dispel Fredric Wertham's allegations of improper conduct between the Caped Crusaders, but Batman tended to have a femme fatale in waiting for a sufficient percentage of his adventures to at least secure him bisexuality.

Middletown Detective John Jones seemed to operate in an almost entirely male sphere for much of his early career, and even when pretty Patrolwoman Diane Meade was brought into the mix, her partnership with Jones was purely platonic. J'onn J'onzz spent entirely too much time in a secluded mountain hideway with an orange imp of undetermined foreign origin. As international playboy Marco Xavier, the disguised Manhunter was often availed of beautiful women that he dismissed while obsessively mediating on Mister V. Having debuted in 1955, and aside from ill-defined episodes of affection toward Meade and Bel Juz, J'onn didn't present an unambiguous "girlfriend" until 1984. Of course, Hunter Commander J'en had already suffered an acrimonious break-up from J'onzz at her point of introduction, and the couple never so much as kissed on panel. J'Onzz was retroactively "married" in 1988 to a conveniently deceased spouse. Of his three strongly implied intimate relationships with women (and a stated lust for another,) not a single one predates 1997. That is an awfully long period of mourning for his wife, and it's worth mentioning that each of these couplings was seemingly established with planned obsolescence (two had fire-based powers, one was a reformed villainess, and another was the fiancée of an alien prince set for an arranged royal marriage to bring forth global harmony.)

Over two years into the New 52, we still know very little about a visibly altered Manhunter from Mars. He's full of secrets and agendas, with no time for romance. Not to fall into stereotypes, but where J'Onn was something of a chaste "Green Guru" Post-Crisis, the current Manhunter is a much more physical, visceral, passionate being. Where altering the race of an extra-terrestrial shapeshifter provides a limited object of identification to black readers, such a figure of fluid orientation hiding his true nature in a society that lacks understanding and is quick to persecute his kind would resonate strongly in the LGBT community. Loosening the definitions on J'Onn's gender identity would make far more sense on the DC Mars as we understand it today, as opposed to the more patriarchal model from the 1950s. Nothing need be lost in translation, as J'Onn could still be widowed and dealing with the loss of a child-- but his tragedy could be made more universally endearing if his family unit were allowed to include a homo-or-polysexual partner.

I'm not confident that J'Onn J'Onzz could ever be a great black hero, and as a white one he's rather doomed to mediocrity in a sea of same. However, with competition like Northstar and the fifth most popular flavor of Green Lantern who makes his home in an alternate universe, the "Manhunter" could more fully own his name and become the premier queer of the cosmic set.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Jason Momoa as Zack Snyder's Martian Manhunter?

It's a great tribute to the lasting impression made by the Magnificent Seven JLA that Martian Manhunter is even brought up when film casting rumors start circulating. J'Onn J'Onzz hasn't been a member of the core Justice League team in seven years, and his position as a founding member no longer stands in the New 52. Regardless, when The Hollywood Reporter caught wind that Jason Momoa was in negotiations to appear in the sequel to Man of Steel, they assumed it was for the role of either Doomsday or the Alien Atlas. Unofficially referred to as Batman vs. Superman, Gal Gadot has already been cast as Wonder Woman alongside Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck's World's Finest Duo, and there's some question as to whether this is essentially a back door League movie.

At a beefy 6'4", it would be neat to see Jason Momoa look down on the Last Son of Krypton on celluloid, but I have trouble seeing him as a Sleuth from Outer Space. I was a fan of Momoa as the savages Khal Drogo and Conan, but you'd figure Doomsday would be pure CGI, so why waste that physique on motion capture and voice acting? Momoa seemed like a good fit for the green-skinned warrior Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, though that role went to Dave Bautista. Maybe that's where director Zack Snyder was given the idea to try Momoa as a Martian. As much as I like the actor, I have trouble seeing him fit the personality, which I find more essential than how he looks in body paint. He'd be a winning Hawkman, though.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

2012 Martian Manhunter by Xeraton

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Here's a blatant swipe of a piece by Robert Q. Atkins without any attribution by some guy going by a ridiculous pseudonym because the internet.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

2005 Larry's Comic Show Despero choking Martian Manhunter sketch by Chris Batista

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“I had only been peripherally aware of Batsita's work before I met him but now I'm a big fan. As nice as his work looks in JLA the pencils are even better. He's also a really cool dude. I love how he added in J'onn getting throttled.”

Friday, December 6, 2013

Suiting the Sleuth From Outer Space #12

Like a skeevy photographer with a model, after a bunch of unsatisfying costume attempts, I was all like "let's try some shots with the clothes off." The naked Martian did not solve any problems.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Anti-Justice League Malevolent 7ish Doodle

Here's that line-up doodle I mentioned the other day. It was part of the premise for my big late '90s fanfic crossover that exists only in my tired old brain and will never be realized. If I remember correctly, there was a group of very powerful beings in Kingdom Come called something like "The Omnipresence." I came up with an evil counterpart-- a confederacy of the most powerful DC deviants who would wreck havoc on the universe to reach individual ends. One of the conspirators was Eclipso, who possessed the surviving members of the Magnificent Seven JLA (a few had comic book deaths to be reversed by epic's end) to act as his soldiers. To counter the eclipsed League, a Malevolent Seven would be brought together, consisting of villains powerful enough to defeat each conscienceless hero at full unbridled power. Geoff Johns recently did something similar with the Justice League of America, except his team was designed to have members that paralleled the JLA who still had no chance in hell of emerging victorious one-on-one. Different strokes, and hey, Johns' comic book career is a tad more successful than mine.

I've never understood why in the past fifteen years Kevin Maguire's 1987 cover to Justice League #1 has been swiped a few dozen more times, while Howard Porter's JLA #1 remains ignored. I took up the gauntlet with the above homage. Please remember that the original doodle has been enlarged several hundred percent from a sheet of Diamond Distributors 15th Anniversary stationary. Despero was the countermeasure for Martian Manhunter, because 'natch. I think Major Force was against the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern, since it had taken a team-up with Warrior to stop him around that time, and I just think he's a tough dude. I called up Brainiac for the Wally West Flash, since there was no true equal for the Speed Force avatar, so I figured to aim for his mind. Amazo was a weak link opposite Superman, since the Man of Steel had beaten him in the Bronze Age and lesser heroes did the same since. I think I might have been saving Superman for a Captain Marvel battle. See, another major concern of this imaginary story was sidelining big name heroes to spotlight viable but underutilized heroes like ol' Shazam. Moving on, Deathstroke tore up Batman in an early issue of his solo series, and I used to be a big fan, so he was in. Maxima was my Wonder Woman analogue, since she had all of the Marvel Inhuman Sersi's powers, which kind of made her Circe on steroids. Were I to do it again today, I'd have used fewer Superman villains and more character-specific and DCU ones. Also, I'd have dug up somebody for Aquaman, but it's not like any schmo couldn't do. Everyone knows Aquaman's an unpopular loser.

...Note they have 3½ times more followers and H'ronmeer only knows how many more page views, in case you missed the sarcasm. I just hadn't picked an Aquafoe. I crafted an entire weekly series devoted to making Aquaman cool in my brain, only for Johns to render it moot years later, but don't underestimate my interest in the hero.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2013 Just One of the Guys Podcast Episode #87

I know of Shawn Engel through out mutual internet friend (and one of/the earliest commentators on this blog) Luke Jaconetti, with whom he produced a three episode podcast covering the 1995 DC Comics crossover "The Way Of The Warrior." I listened to the trilogy, and wrote a response to the first part that was so long and involved that I converted it into a blog post. I actually have commentary for the other two that I should just email directly to the guys, since they've been sitting in a queue four months now.

Anyway, while I enjoyed the shows involving Hawkman, Wonder Woman, Guy Gardner, and the rest of the Justice League, Engel's podcast focuses on Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, who I'm not passionate enough about to stay tuned regularly. That's too bad, because #87 featured a GL/Martian Manhunter team-up, and Engel had invited me to participate a few weeks ahead of "broadcast." Unfortunately, he contacted me through the Idol-Head's obligatory, scorned, bi-annually accessed Facebook page, so I was unaware until it was too late. I actually have a history with that specific issue, but it'll keep for another time. Engel will get around to DC One Million in a few months, after all. In the meantime, enjoy this podcasting missed connection, and thanks to Shawn for the shout-out within...

  • Download/Play:
    "Just One of the Guys" Podcast Episode #87
  • Tuesday, December 3, 2013

    2009 “Deathstroke's Army” fan art by Phil “MacAddict17”

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    The basic idea behind this one was to get the villains together that Slade Wilson would choose to try to take down the JLA. From top to bottom:

    Chemo: A colossal liquid humanoid with half a brain. He's approx. 40 stories tall, and shoots acid out of his mouth.

    Gorilla Grodd: A talking gorilla with a strong mind, who can give telepathic commands as well as pack a punch

    Despero: Mind-Control powers, as well as super strength and Flying. Don't look into his eyes!

    Bane: Some guy juiced up on venom, which is essentially steroids. Grudge against Batman.

    White Martian: Same powers as the Martian Manhunter - Strength, Speed, Invisibiliy, Shapeshifting, Intangibility, Heat Vision, Flying. Also, same weakness to fire.

    Amazo: Quite possibly the most dangerous, as he can use any of the powers of the heros on the JLA. For instance, can use the speed of the Flash and the strength of Superman at the size of the Atom to be a human bullet. Ouch.

    Solomon Grundy: Your standard brute, who just happens to be immortal. Can't really hurt him physically at all.

    Deathstroke the Terminator: The man with a plan. Essentially, if Batman was a ninja/mercenary/assassin, he'd be Deathstroke. His only power is using 90% of his brain, which allows him to take on lots of heroes at once and win.

    The typical JLA, say Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, and a couple superfluous characters aren't going to last against these guys. Amazo alone could take them down, and so could Despero.

    So my question for you is this: If you had to come up with a team to defeat these villains with as few members as possible, who would you pick and how would you do it?
    At some point after JLA #1 came out, I started thinking of an anti-JLA team concept surprisingly (or really, not all that surprisingly) similar to this one. I even did a crumby little color sketch. Should I dig it up to post?

    Monday, December 2, 2013

    2012 Miss Martian color art by Jerry Loomis

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    "Miss Martian from the Young Justice cartoon. India ink, watercolor dyes and acrylics."
    It's been an awful long time since we had a M'gann M'orzz Miss Martian Monday, so let's bring her back this holiday season!

    Sunday, December 1, 2013

    2007 Despero color convention sketch by Kayode Kendall

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    So I have about a half-week or so worth of material that I wanted to cover during October Commandeered that I thought I might shoehorn into the first of December, but the video is only a third done and Blanx's Master Characters maybe three quarters. I don't see myself finishing either, since I've got to do a bunch of work I've been putting off for months to renew my license for a career that I'm increasingly disenchanted with.

    Maybe it's just the holiday blues, but beyond my personal discontent with real life and frustration with the mounds of partially finished hobby blogging I can't publish, I'm also feeling down on the human race in general. Movie critics are contemplating what an actor's death means for a franchise before the body's cold. People are trampled to death by throngs of supposedly normal shoppers to buy discount electronics on Thanksgiving. Corporations are "people" that actively work against the basic needs of the less philosophically murky flesh and blood folk while half the afflicted population cheers on their taskmasters. The environment is steadily, violently turning our hubris into the stimulus to kill thousands with numbing frequency, not that we have much reservation about destroying one another directly. I don't believe I'm living in the end times, but I think I'll be lucky if they don't graze me on the way out if old age claims its due instead of some other dumb, likely avoidable demise.

    So, today, I happily let Despero shed his disgrace on me. I've got a fair amount of Kalinorian content left over from 2012 ready to post at the click of a button. My dissatisfaction with the earth pales in comparison with the burning Flame of Py'tar. The rule of an absolute alien despot would at least settle all this partisan squabbling, and if Despero just blows the whole damned planet up, there'll be no more misplaced hope squelched in the blackness of oblivion. But until then, I think I need an "Ænema...*"


    Saturday, November 30, 2013

    2009 “Martian” color art by Joel DuQue

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    "A birthday picture of one of my Dads favorite character."
    J'Onn J'Onzz and his Black Lantern...

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    2013 An Awkward JUSTICE LEAGUE THANKSGIVING by Nerdist

    Very NOT SAFE FOR WORK language, which is pretty much the sole source of "comedy." Even if the portrayal of J'Onn J'Onzz wasn't totally uncharacteristic and obnoxious (shapeshifter = poseur,) none of the heroes are agreeable nor laughable. At least Valerie Perez looked great. Hope you like this better than I did...
    It's Thanksgiving at the Justice League of America household and things are just as awkward for them as they might be for your family. Join Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and more as they give thanks.

    Happy Thanksgiving from Nerdist!

    Wonder Woman: Valerie Perez
    Batman: James Mastraieni
    Superman: Ryan Stanger
    Aqua Man: Steve Szlaga
    Green Lantern: William Sterling
    The Flash: Steven Meissner
    Raven: Celia Sutton
    Ms Marvel: Olivia Taylor Dudley
    Green Arrow: Bradford Jackson
    Robin: Jesse McKeil
    Martian Manhunter: Charlie Sanders

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    2013 Comic Vine “Justice League popularity contest”

    I haven't spent as much time at Comic Vine since they got stingy with their image hosting, and never much bothered with their forums, but user and blog commentator
    pointed out a thread to me a while back. The premise was simple: thread author waezi2 would offer two historic members of the JLA, and the first to receive ten positive votes would move on to successive rounds. 1550 responses later, "Martian Manhunter came in SECOND place, after Superman!"

    1st Round Matches (victor in bold):
    Adam Strange VS. Barbara Gordon
    Connor Hawke VS. Oliver Queen
    Congorilla VS. Plastic Man
    Wally West VS. Barry Allen
    Aquaman VS. Cyborg
    Hal Jordan VS. Kyle Rayner
    Captain Atom VS. Red Tornado
    Wonder Woman VS. Donna Troy
    Firestorm VS. Steel (Irons)
    Bruce Wayne VS. Dick Grayson
    Vixen VS. Black Canary
    Martian Manhunter VS. The Phantom Stranger
    Blue Beetle VS. Booster Gold
    Elongated Man VS. Zatanna
    The Atom VS. Hawkman
    Hawkgirl VS. Hawkeye (WHA?)
    Red Arrow VS. Mr. Miracle
    Vibe VS. Gypsy
    Captain Marvel vs. Big Barda
    Mon-El VS. Superman
    Steel II (Heywood) VS. Dr. Fate
    Guy Gardner VS. John Stewart
    Rocket Red VS. Dr. Light
    Fire VS. Ice
    Huntress VS. Lightray
    General Glory VS. Orion
    Maxima VS. Tasmanian Devil
    The Ray VS. Agent Liberty
    Bloodwynd VS. Animal Man
    Metamorpho VS. Power Girl
    Bluejay VS. Crimson Fox
    Maya VS. Triumph
    Starman VS. Supergirl
    Atom Smasher VS. Obsidian
    Zauriel VS. Blue Devil
    Jade VS. Jesse Quick

    I'd like to point out that the Manhunter from Mars took every single vote from the Phantom Stranger.

    2nd Round Matches (victor in bold):
    Green Arrow VS. Black Canary
    Plastic Man VS. Barbara Gordon
    Green Lantern Hal Jordan VS. The Flash
    Aquaman VS. Red Tornado
    Wonder Woman VS. Firestorm
    Superman VS. Batman
    Booster Gold VS. Martian Manhunter
    Hawkman VS. Hawkgirl
    Zatanna VS. Captain Marvel
    Roy Harper VS. The Atom
    Vibe VS. Dr. Fate
    Dr. Light VS. Green Lantern John Stewart
    Fire VS. The Huntress
    Maxima VS. Orion
    Animal Man VS. The Ray
    Jade VS. Power Girl
    Atom Smasher VS. Supergirl
    Blue Devil VS. Major Disaster

    Major Disaster was a second round only ringer. Maxima was a squeeker against Orion. I think waezi2 was a Hawkman fan, because he "accidentally" pitted the Winged Wonder against Big Barda after he'd already lost to the Atom, then Hawkgirl was given the only Marvel opponent of the first round, and then Hawkman was allowed to advance following the initial defeat once he won against his girlfriend. Anyway, Martian Manhunter had an actual match from Booster Gold this time instead of an absolute blowout, but still won handily 10-3.

    3rd Round Matches (victor in bold):
    Green Lantern Hal Jordan VS. Green Arrow
    Aquaman VS. Plastic Man
    Superman VS. Wonder Woman
    Hawkman VS. Martian Manhunter
    The Atom VS. Zatanna
    Green Lantern John Stewart VS. Doctor Fate
    The Huntress VS. Maxima
    Power Girl VS. Supergirl
    Animal Man VS. Blue Devil

    Kind of lame that the already disqualified Hawkman was J'Onn's opponent, but an Alien Atlas victory of 13-5 makes it less annoying. Kind of neat that Huntress is in this long after daddy Batman.

    4th Round Matches (victor in bold):
    Green Lantern Hal Jordan VS. Aquaman
    Superman VS. Supergirl
    Zatanna VS. Martian Manhunter
    The Huntress VS. Green Lantern John Stewart

    Again? The previously disqualified Zee (6) was beaten twice over by lord of the scraps Martian Manhunter (11.) The Atom and Animal Man were missed entirely, advancing unscathed to the next round.

    5th Round Matches (victor in bold):
    The Atom VS. Martian Manhunter
    Aquaman VS. Superman
    Animal Man VS. Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)

    The Atom took an early, fierce lead, Manhunter closed the gap, position jockeying commenced, and finally closed 8-11 in a rally for the Martian Marvel. I forgot Jaime Reyes was ever in the League, but he snuck in to give Animal Man somebody to fight. The Huntress got free immunity as a result.

    6th Round Matches (victor in bold):
    Animal Man VS. Martian Manhunter
    The Huntress VS. Superman

    The Sleuth from Outer Space, who's only ever had one ongoing eponymous series ever and a mini-series this decade thrashed an Animal Man with two ongoings to his name and a mini-series (two of which came out in the past decade) by 11-3. Superman then walked away the ultimate champion with 12-1 against the Alien Atlas. It took over three months for the tourney to run its course. MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg requested a breakdown list of the results so, hey, here you go!

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    2008 Martian Manhunter fan art by Amber “MyriahKamm”

    Click To Enlarge

    Here's a coffee painting clearly based on Alex Ross' poster from 2001. I need to post that sometime, but I can't find good reference and mine's framed on the wall.

    Sunday, November 24, 2013

    2013 IGN “The Top 25 Heroes of DC Comics” countdown

    Click To Enlarge

    Thanks to @AquamanShrine, I checked out IGN's The Top 25 Heroes of DC Comics article by Jesse Schedeen. I was happy for the Manhunter from Mars to come in at #13, ahead of Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, something you would not have seen in the JLA heyday. While both heroes have been shuffled off center stage, J'Onn J'Onzz hasn't had his own book since 2001, while Kyle hasn't been without a starring vehicle since 2007. Was this list at all objective for me to give any weight to the preference for the Alien Atlas? It also featured the art of Eddie Nunez seen above, which appears to be required by obscure federal law for at least 46% of all Martian Manhunter-related posts on the internet.

    Speaking of percentages, it's possible the Sleuth from Outer Space benefited from being an "original" character. 40% of the list is made up of conceptual variants, meaning characters who are legacies that are immediately derivative of a prior character. Mantle-bearers, corpsmen, "girl" versions of male heroes, etc. Most ranked after the Martian Manhunter though, so his placement on the list isn't majorly effected. Ahead of J'Onzz were, in ascending order, Swamp Thing, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Shazam, and the usual suspects from there. I can live with that kind of company.

    Saturday, November 23, 2013

    2009 Martian Manhunter fan art by DarkTailss

    Click To Enlarge

    "I half-assed a MM and my friend Eduardo drew a rifle and helmet on him, awesome."

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    2013 Comic Vine Comic Book Question of the Week Results: Which DC Character Deserves a Feature Film?

    Comic Vine is a fairly popular fan site, and they ran a poll this week to determine who their readers thought should get the cinematic treatment most in the DC pantheon from a list of eight JLA-centric options. The top results were extremely predictable:

    1. Wonder Woman 42%
    2. Aquaman 19%
    3. Flash 18%
    4. Martian Manhunter 8%
    5. Green Lantern 6%
    6. Green Arrow 5%
    7. Cyborg 1%
    8. Hawkgirl 1%
    Wonder Woman is one of the most popular and globally recognizable super-heroes, whose TV show ran three successful seasons and whose direct-to-DVD animated film is the best-selling DC Universe Animated Original Movie not to feature "Superman" or "Batman" in the title (#5 overall.) It's a travesty that she hasn't starred in a film yet, especially since she suits Zack Snyder's sensibilities far better than Superman (not that I'm advocating Snyder as director, because please God no.) Aquaman is also extremely well known to the general, non-geek public, though his being taken seriously as a hero can be directly credited to recent successes under Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis (seeing as he was a running gag on Entourage as recently as 2006. Green Lantern presumably would have hit #3 if his realized 2011 feature film hadn't been covered in number two, so he slid to #5. In his stead was the Flash, a DC fan favorite who's never quite broken out into the mainstream. Runners aren't tagged with his name like Michael Phelps was "Aquaman," and his 1990 TV series was crushed between Cosby and The Simpsons after one season. Obviously, this blog is most interested in Martian Manhunter, a solid #4 with about 41 of the 514 total votes. The Alien Atlas edged out the franchise favorite Emerald Gladiator and Green Arrow, both of whom have had solo comic series run hundreds of issues across multiple volumes to J'Onn's measly thirty-eight issue single volume. I suspect the Sleuth from Outer Space seems due "his turn," since Oliver Queen's already taken care of by the Arrow TV series, plus the Hawkeye factor. The inclusion of Cyborg and Hawkgirl were probably obligatory for diversity purposes, since the latter only extended the life of a dwindling Hawkman volume by 17 eponymous issues before cancellation, and the former has never had an ongoing of his own.

    Here's a selection of comments referencing the Manhunter from Mars...

    LCazT1996: "Wonder Woman, then Aquaman, then Flash, then Martian Manhunter in Justice League."

    SynCig: "I don't think Cyborg, Hawkgirl, or Martian Manhunter could support their own movie."

    TheCannon: "Also, why are Cyborg, Hawkgirl, & Martian Manhunter here? There are several characters not listed that deserve films first (Static, Nightwing, Batwoman, The Question, etc.)."

    Black_Arrow: "your opinion, Martian Manhunter is one of the big seven all the characters you named except Nightwing dont deserve a movie."

    BritishMonkey: "Wonder Woman is the obvious choice. Martian Manhunter would get his first appearance in Justice League most likely."

    Dstick88: "Martian manhunter all the way."

    Overlander: "Martian Manhunter sounds like an interesting prospect until you start thinking through how Hollywood would do it."

    NeonPheonix: "MMH deserves one, but I'd want a Flash one the most."

    solon: "Flash and Martian Manhunter"

    mtrakos: "GL please followed by MM. Keep it cosmic."

    Perfect 10: "voting for wonder woman but i think aquaman, flash, martian manhunter, green lantern (that travesty doesnt count) all deserve movies."

    CrazyScarecrow: "Wonder Woman of course. She needs a movie. I am not a huge fan of Wonder Woman, but she would be essential when making any DCU. My other choices would be the Flash and Martian Manhunter. I am a huge fan of both of those characters."

    Kelevra216: "I chose Martian Manhunter. There might be a disconnect/an identifiability problem being an extraterrestrial and because I really think they should start with an origin story with J'onn, even though I'm strong supporter of "rolling with it." But if they start with an origin story with J'onn the audience can develop a relationship with the J'onn and his tragedy. Different from Superman being an adult and witnessing it first hand.After J'onn, I'm going to have to go with Wonder Woman, then The Flash and Aquaman."

    MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg: "Wonder Woman, then Flash, then Aquaman. Martian Manhunter doesn't need a movie and would be better as a "Nick Fury" role, popping up in various other movies. Him and Green Lantern can just appear for the first time in Justice League."

    ComicKitten: "Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman or Aquaman!"

    McDerpyson: "hmm... I voted for the Martian. It would be a good follow-up after MOS."

    kilon: "who came up with the idea that characters like MM, hawkgirl and cyborg should have individuals films, hello these are team based characters not solo acts. next time pick characters that started out solo like hawkman, atom, firestorm etc."

    milkylame: "Martian Manhunter could be introduced in a JLA movie. He could be the one to gather the heroes to fight Darkseid or some other villain."
    My general response: The Manhunter from Mars was a solo strip five years before the Justice League of America was created, lasting a total of thirteen years and 133 stories. 56 individual comic books are titled "Martian Manhunter." Curiously, I've never even considered abbreviating Martian Manhunter as "MMH" in all my years discussing the character. J'Onn J'Onzz could work as DC's "Nick Fury," and I'd take that over nothing, but it would be a letdown to go that derivative on a character far easier to "crack" cinematically than most. The Question was already in Watchmen. Oh, and all those folks who referenced Supergirl, Catwoman and Elektra as reasons not to make Wonder Woman must not have seen those movies, because each sucked first and had a female lead second. Try again.