While researching Triumph-related posts from writer Christopher J. Priest, I stumbled upon some Martian Manhunter material, including the following undeveloped proposal...
"Mr. Jones has absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Smith. It’s an idea likely to be stolen either off of this page or, certainly, an obvious idea just waiting to be pitched by someone more marketable than myself. It is the story of a twentysomething working mom struggling to get her undergraduate degree who, desperate for a job, pursues her neighbor, Mr. Jones, until he agrees to hire her as a part-time Girl Friday working a strange 8PM-2AM shift for his detective agency. Mr. Jones is a enigmatic and unknowable cold fish whose entire caseload seems to consist of strange and scary supernatural or extra-terrestrial phenomena. Jones himself seems to have mysterious mind-control powers and can enter locked rooms without anyone seeing him. The Girl Friday inevitably becomes convinced Mr. Jones is a vampire and tries to report him to the police or whomever hunts vampires these days, but becomes invariably involved in his cases. Of course, veteran DC readers are in on Jones's secret, which we may never explicitly state: the nature of Mr. Jones's strange abilities: the series is a Martian Manhunter reboot minus the swim trunks and swashbuckler boots. Mr. Jones wipes her memory of him or his strange cases at the conclusion of every arc, such that the girl ends up pursuing him all over again in a kind of Groundhog's Day cycle until Jones comes to know and trust her enough to allow her to retain her memory of him and his work."The above was taken from Priest's new web home, Lamercie Park from a whole page of unreleased Projects. Do check it out!
If only MM was popular enough to support two titles, this would make a great "Shadow of the Bat" sort of title.
Green, yes. Lantern, no. My mind can't even perceive a niche spin-off when we can't get a single series under the rubber stamp of the New 52. At least now I recognize one reason to hold Martian Manhunter back is "big plans" within the DCnU that are more important to editorial than a solo book. This could have been cool, and reminds me of JLTF and Black Panther, problem being that Priest already wrote those books. As a result, this registers more as sidelining J'Onn to focus on a new character/scenario, basically saying J'Onzz doesn't have the oomph to work on his own.
Well, someone must have finally picked up my subliminal pyschic suggestions I constantly send out in the airwaves towards all comic creators, because this is exactly the type of story treatment I want to see J'onn in. There's a lot of leeway for tone: this story pitch could almost be comedic, or it could be noirish, or it could be bittersweet, or a blend of all three. In fact, it's a bit reminiscent of "John Jones's" arc in Vertigo's Madame Xanadu: he's a stranger who keeps showing up, has an uncanny knack for throwing a punch and appearing where he shouldn't, and then he disappears at the end, still mysterious and unknowable.
The only thing I would do is remove is the word "vampire." Other than that, I'm 100% on board with this. (Make it a period piece set in the 1950's and I'm on board 120%.) I'm really missing J'onn having a human secret identity and I think it's time for that to come back.
I don't know if it's sidelining so much as seeing J'onn through a stranger's eyes: somehow I think he can benefit from an outsider's perspective. He was great in Madame Xanadu. (Unless a talented writer can come along and give him the noir "voice over" treatment as in American Secrets, but I think that's hard to pull off.)
The story could even rotate to different characters whom J'onn's path intersects, so we see him through different lenses: male, female, poor, rich, rural, various nationalities and foreign countries, etc. He should be off exploring the world a bit and letting us readers see some different cultures for a change.
Anyway, I'm sorry DC said no to this pitch. I'm not surprised, because it's not typical superheroic fare and instead a story based more on characters. But it's the kind of storyline I'd really like and would make me actually start buying comics again.
I'm not sure DC passed on it, Liss. My impression was that it was an idea Priest had but never submitted, and finally gave away online. Were it to exist, it would definitely be comedic and bittersweet (if not outright acidic,) because that's Priest's thing. Noir I'm not so sure would be his bag. Priest is a bit too cerebral for the sublimated passions of noir. Someone like Ed Brubaker or Matt Fraction would probably hew closer to your platonic ideal.
Like I said, it's a fun idea, but I'm pretty sure the Girl Friday would be the ongoing lead character, and dominate the narrative the way Everett K. Ross and Queen Divine Justice did in Black Panther, or the kids did in JLTF.
On the subject of MM related obscurities, check this out...
Yeah, that's got me curious.
Yeah, what's going on there, anyway. I was wondering what the what was, too. hmmm....
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