Monday, March 31, 2014

The Weird War of Gilgana: Final 4

The Mighty Aroo fired an energy beam from his right antennae at the Creature King, which missed and struck the ground nearby. Debris flew up and hit Iwangis, which set off a series of explosions in his vicinity. Aroo had the misfortune of being pegged by a blast, its furry form limply dragged across the ground by the momentum of its former flight...

The Horn Firing Creature's projectiles kept The Orchestra of Doom far enough at bay that whether through distance or alien physiology, the native of Gilgana was not affected by their music. However, the Doom Band's tune compelled Diabolu's Creature to overrun their foe, collapsing upon it in a heap. The Maestro saw the value in their former possession, and thought that yellow-furred creature out past a stone monolith might be a suitable replacement for their lost ginger one...

The Chulko was faced with its greatest vulnerability in the Giant Watery Hand of Gilgana, but if it knew fear, no emotion could be found upon its expressionless visage. Instead, the Chulko blankly stared, its gaze irradiating the Hand with paralyzing energy that stopped it short of impact...

The Giant-Maker's wandering into the ongoing conflict between the Purple People and creations of the Evil Mystic Brushes had no apparent bearing, as it was trampled in their wake. However, one of The Venomee finally managed to find a small advantage in the stalemate, its touch turning a painter into a fish, gasping and flopping on the sands of Gilgana. They looked on as the former artist desperately sought water, and only found the approach of the Doom Shadow...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Comics Should Be Good 2014 March Madness: Sweet Sixteen by Brian Cronin

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The Comic Book Resources subsection Comics Should Be Good has been running their own readers' poll of comic book character versus brackets this month, divided into four sections: DC Heavy Hitters, Marvel Street Level, Marvel Heavy Hitters and DC Street Level. So far, quite marvelously by my estimation, the Manhunter from Mars has overcome Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Supergirl. While that's a very pleasant surprise, his next challenge is Superman, so let's commemorate his achievement now before the bitter taste of defeat is mingled with it. Voting is ongoing here.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Weird War of Gilgana: Quarter the Second!

The Color-Ring Creature tried to encircle Iwangis and suck it right off Gilgana, but the canary-colored critter's thick muscles bulged until the ring burst, setting off a chain reaction that left the "spirit" in not-so-great shape. Meanwhile, an horrific shriek let out as the mighty Aroo's flamethrower antennae ignited the turban of the Giant Genie of Gensu, which traveled down his bridge cable mustache. Aroo had shown the genie who his true master was, and as he flew past the towering burning man, he intended to teach the same lesson to the so-called "Creature King..."

The hypnotizing tune of The Orchestra of Doom made Diabolu's Creature their own, and they sent it forth across the pink sands of this alien world. Scampering over the skewered Cobra-Beast, the next obstacle was the equally terrifying, monolithic Horn Firing Creature of Gilgana...

Like a match in a teacup, the Fireball-Creature was extinguished with aplomb by the Giant Watery Hand of Gilgana. Its wave carried forward toward the shoreline, where a Glowing Menace similarly grew dim, dried up, and blew away under a shadow of doom projected from The Chulko. The pink colossus turned slightly as it heard a sinister tide washing towards it...

From out of some impossible creature form, “Driftwood” Dagan was relieved to reemerge first as himself, and then as a mindless gigantic version of the same at the sickly touch of The Giant-Maker. No more would he struggle against his atavistic urges, but now he lumbered toward the painters behind The Evil Mystic Brushes. Each time they crafted a new incredible monster, the touch of The Venomee would turn it into something mundane and nonthreatening. Three threats enter one another's sphere-- which will triumph?

Friday, March 28, 2014

2012 “My review of Martian Manhunter, Issue 18 of the DC Comics Super Hero Collection by Eaglemoss” from “Monkeyboy Productions”

Holy crap... It's been five years since I first wrote about this figurine, four since my second go through, and I never did finish. I've even had Eaglemoss' second Martian Manhunter edition for a few months now, and haven't covered it either. Well, watch the video, and we'll see if I can get back to it soon. I don't see an excessive overlap, since the video is chock full of errors that either originated with the Eaglemoss publication or a misreading that I could elaborate upon.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2012 New 52 Animated Style Martian Manhunter art by Eric Guzman

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If you like this, the artist also did a Classic Alien Atlas amidst DC Superheroes, as well as grouping the New 52 JLA.

Eric Guzman

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2013 Genie of Gensu Comicpalooza Commission by Kaitlyn Richardson

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Here's the last of my Diabolu Idol-Head related Awesomest Alien Atlas Art Anytime commissions from last year, this time featuring The Genie of Gensu. The piece was by a tablemate of Venomee Commission artist Kaleigh “Kalo” Hvizdos (whose boyfriend also contributed.) I couldn't find any sort of live gallery for Kaitlyn Richardson-- only a deviantART page without images by someone of that name. That's too bad, since I quite like this piece, which does a good job of capturing the giant scale of the genie by filling out the 11" x 17" board, as well as his foreign air through the meditative pose. She even kept the tendency in Joe Certa's one story with the character for the mustache to look like it's growing directly out of his nostrils! It's funny; I just caught an old episode of I Dream of Jeannie that featured an evil male djinn that got me to thinking about the possibilities of this guy, but like that '60s show, he's probably best left as a period novelty.

Now that I've finally got the heavy lifting of "Happy Zook Year" and two months worth of idol-head entries out of the way, I hope to have the time and energy for better general blogging. With Comicpalooza 2014 eight weeks away, and about seven 2013 pieces yet to appear online, I need to get as many of those remaining works out as appropriate before the whole cycle starts again! Should I save the four Martian villains for some sort of alliterative May theme? Should I save the David Mack for our seventh anniversary in September?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

(Late) March Madness of Diabolu

When jimmypulv first suggested a March Madness brackets for Martian Manhunter villains in 2011, it gelled perfectly with the blog's earliest origins as a response to versus threads on the late '90s DC Comics Message Board. It's hard to believe that there was a time without Wikipedia or YouTube, where a dude who'd recently become interested in the Martian Manhunter had to learn about the character on the back streets of the Information Superhighway. Most of my initial education came from U.S. Navy Commander Adam Benson (Ret.) and back issues of House of Mystery that I was slowly accumulating off eBay. Benson characterized the Diabolu Idol-Head as a gimmick, and the stories I was exposed to firsthand were typically not the best (and in fact they were among the worst.) This not only led to my having a negative opinion of the device, but also an essential misunderstanding of it.

For many years, I thought that the beasties from out of the idol-head were like soulless spells that the Alien Atlas "broke" when he defeated them. It was only after I read the Diabolu origin story that I realized these were living beings from ancient times who were captive within the sorcerous container. They were mostly semi/non-sentient monsters on a path of destruction, rather than properly motivated adversaries of the Sleuth from Outer Space, which is why I prefer to list them under an eventual Diabolu Head group listing instead of The Vile Menagerie. Still, there was no good reason for my initial and ongoing exclusion of the beasts from the annual March Madness brackets.

I had to read up on March Madness for the 2011 edition, because I'm not a sports fan, and it was a bit of a mess. The first year's victor was Malefic, but there seemed to be some shenanigans that played into that. The second year offered up Despero, who had been in contention previously, but I'd have figured Ma'alefa'ak would have done better just a few months after his role in the animated film Justice League: Doom. It seemed likely that a cycling between Malefic and Despero would continue, so to give the event an opportunity to surprise in 2013, we flipped the script to force Martian Manhunter supporting characters to battle to death, our Final Girl being Miss Martian.

With the Idol-Head of Diabolu hitting its fiftieth birthday this year, I thought it would be nice to make up for their previous seclusion by offering a spotlight "Weird War of Gilgana" where Diabolu's monsters were the only competitors. It gives some classic, wholly "owned" Alien Atlas adversaries a chance at a title, and it gives me a break from organizing a larger competition. After two years off, I figure the 2015 contest will return to the model of the first two, but hopefully better structured and more diverse. I suppose the teased "The Isle of Diabolu" will have to wait a while, though...

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Weird War of Gilgana!

Following the destruction of the Idol-Head of Diabolu, all of the beasts once under the spell of the ancient wizard now reside in the weird other-dimensional world of Gilgana. Regardless of the breath of this nether place, there was a certain inevitability to their congregation for colossal conflict.

"The Great Color-Ring Spirit" originated in another domain entirely, but would be fine with dominating this sphere. Its first ring to detach was yellow, and so it was drawn toward the towering form of Iwangis. The Creature King was no trifling thing though, and who knows what sort of eruption could come of this combination?

The Color Ring wasn't the only menace haunting the skies. Aroo buzzed past on some unknown mission, its orange fur not attracting attention so far. However, the Genie of Gensu seemed disturbed by this invasion of his skies, and streaked toward fresh prey...

The Orchestra of Doom hovered much lower, beneath their immediate notice, but encircling Diabolu's Creature. Could their music tame such a savage breast?

Perhaps defending its natural territory, the Horn Firing Creature of Gilgana targeted the Cobra-Beast as it half-crawled/half-slithered across the pink sands of its native world...

Further out, across the water, the Fireball-Creature blazed over a sea that seemed discontent with merely reflecting its light. A Giant Watery Hand of Gilgana reached out to quash its thirst for immolation...

That Glowing Menace was another sight to behold, hurtling across the beach, with its own insatiable appetite. Bounding along the shore was the Chulko, its doom shadow converting the sand to stone. Might this offering be unpalatable?

A few deranged souls had been drawn into a portal to this inhospitable place, and one, and artist, found much inspiration in its alien landscapes. With Evil Mystic Brushes, she though a portrait incorporating those Venomee in the distance might be suited to her sick amusements...

Another lost soul was “Driftwood” Dagan, seeking pieces of jade throughout this weird environment. While the Man-Thing That Unearthed Secrets continued its unenviable task, the Giant-Maker lingered, perhaps intent on giving Dagan a new task seated in madness?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Diabolu's Creature

The fourteenth and final full moon to cast its light upon the Idol-Head of Diabolu in the modern era saw it attempt to release a menace from out of smoke. The materializing creature was forced back inside the Diabolu Head by the timely arrival of J'onn J'onzz, except the Manhunter from Mars was himself drawn into the magical device and transported to its time of origin in ancient Babylonia. There, the Martian Marvel saw the creature fully realized and attacking villagers. Rescuing the lot, J'onzz met the former unwilling apprentice of Diabolu the Wizard, with whom the idol-head had been created. The apprentice guided the Martian Manhunter to the cave lair of Diabolu, who watched as the Alien Atlas appeared to reengage the final creature the wizard intended to imprison within the idol-head. Diabolu's Creature seemed to be the sole survival of the clash, and after destroying the deserted village of its former prey, dutifully submitted to confinement within the idol-head. However, the Manhunter had in fact destroyed the creature and used his shape-shifting powers to take its place. This allowed J'onn J'onzz to return to the present, then destroy the Diabolu Head once and for all.

Powers & Weapons:
Diabolu's Creature was another of the wizard's multi-story tall titans. Its primary power was firing "giant explosive bolts" from out of its snout. It was likely quite strong, resilient, and a solid climber, but did not come across as a serious threat to the Manhunter from Mars.

First Appearance: House of Mystery #158 (April, 1966)

Created by Jack Miller & Joe Certa

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Cobra-Beast

At the thirteenth full moon since its reactivation in modern times, the Idol-Head of Diabolu unleashed a creature Zook recalled from the Diabolu Book of Legends. "With tongue and crushing power, the Cobra-Beast will overpower! Only the contact of one from an alien sphere can tame the evil beast-- though he himself will disappear." As the Cobra-Beast cut a swath of destruction through Central City, the ailing Zook tried to stop the Martian Manhunter from directly interacting with the monster, for fear of losing his friend forever. Duly warned, the Alien Atlas consistently failed to halt the fantastic beast through long range attacks, and the firepower of local authorities fared no better. Caught in a situation where innocents were in immediate danger with no other clear recourse, J'onn J'onzz engaged the Cobra-Beast physically, and appeared to be absorbed into its body. Conversely, the Cobra-Beast was merged into the shape-shifting Martian, who merely reverted to his normal form, erasing the Cobra-Beast from existence.

Powers & Weapons:
The Cobra-Beast was a giant reptile that mostly resembled a serpent, except for two arm-like appendages. It could crush large trucks and small buildings with its extended body and tail. Its forked tongue could lick very rapidly from dozens of feet away with explosive results that blasted apart structures, such as a Ferris wheel. The Cobra-Beast was invulnerable to most conventional weapons, clearly bulletproof and merely shed a layer of skin when caught in the explosion of a string of grenades.

First Appearance: House of Mystery #156 (January, 1966)

Created by Jack Miller & Joe Certa

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Genie of Gensu

Height: Approx. 36-40 feet
Eyes: Black
Hair: Black
Base of Operations: U.S.A.
First Appearance: House of Mystery #155 (December, 1965)

Upon the twelfth full moon since its reactivation in modern times, the Idol-Head of Diabolu issued forth a giant genie. Petty hood "Mousy" Mulloy was the first man to see the genie manifest, and therefore became its master. As an initial test, the genie plucked a massive cargo ship from out of the sea. The genie was next used to take over a local gang, then robbed a bank by ripping off the roof and extracting its vault. This brought the attention of the Manhunter from Mars, whom he fought to a standstill before J'onn J'onzz vanished to stop further destruction of the city. The Sleuth from Outer Space deduced who the genie's master was, and tricked Mulloy into commanding the genie to return to where it had come from. The Genie of Gensu has not been seen since.

Powers & Weapons:
The genie appeared to have strength near that of the Martian Manhunter, and was comparably indestructible. The genie could fly and fire a destructive power beam from his eyes.

Quote: "I obey, Master!"

Created by Jack Miller & Joe Certa

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Occupation: Creature King
Height: Approx. 30'0"
Eyes: Black
Fur: Yellow
Base of Operations: U.S.A.
First Appearance: House of Mystery #152 (July, 1965)

On the eleventh full moon under the threat of the idol-head, a menace appeared that matched a quote from the Diabolu Book of Legends: "From stone to indestructible life, to lead a mighty army in strife." On a hilltop near an unnamed town, the towering stone statue of a simian beast mysteriously appeared in the night. Visitors alerted local authorities, and once the dawn's light struck the statue, it changed color to a bright yellow and began to move. The Martian Manhunter had responded to the initial reports, and arrived as the creature was coming to life to batter it about the head. With each blow J'onn J'onzz landed, an explosion occurred in the immediate area, imperiling innocent bystanders. Not only couldn't the Alien Atlas lay a finger on the self-identified "Iwangis," but he had to stop anyone else from doing so, and also protect onlookers from explosions whenever he failed.

At an attraction for Farr's Circus, Iwangis created yet another complication. By transferring his own energy into a large stone statue of a lion, its fur turned orange and it sprung to life to follow the orders of "The Creature King." Together, the pair traveled to The Museum of Mythology and Natural History, where Iwangis raised an army out of a menagerie of statues based on fantastic beasts. A unicorn, "griffon," minotaur, dinosaurs and more were sent to attack innocents as a test of their power. Even as the Martian Manhunter fought some of Iwangis' creations, the creature leader was marching others of his army to the next town.

Having noted that Iwangis' color dimmed when he created a follower, and that all his converts were originally stone, the Sleuth from Outer Space hatched a plot. J'onn J'onzz sculpted a creature out of steel, coated it with sand, and attached a powerful electromagnet. Iwangis presumed it to be another stone statue, only to be held fast by the magnet as his life force drained away. Iwangis reverted back to stone, and was smashed to bits by the Manhunter.

Without the living presence of Iwangis, the creature army reverted back to stone. Even while active, Iwangis' creations could not venture outside a hundred foot radius of their leader without returning to stone. Iwangis was believed to draw his energy from the sun's rays.

Quote: "Be off, puny one! I am the indestructible Iwangis!"

Created by Jack Miller & Joe Certa

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Fireball-Creature

At the tenth full moon since its reactivation in modern times, the Idol-Head of Diabolu unleashed a fire creature "on a grim mission of destruction," beginning with a cabin in the woods. Zook had been helping the Manhunter from Mars search for the idol-head in the area, but when the Alien Atlas was cast into an other-dimensional world by an unrelated menace, the imp was left to face the "strange fireball-creature" alone. It grew larger as it set more of the forest ablaze, and while Zook could generate cold enough to save some areas, the Fireball-Creature was too hot for Zook to handle at either extreme of his temperature powers.

The Martian Manhunter returned to Earth, but was trapped in the form of the creature he had been battling. Using the powers he'd gained in his altered form, J'onn J'onzz sent the "Fireball Nightmare" to the other-dimensional world, where the friendly (and suddenly imperiled) natives' advanced technology was able to freeze the fire-creature in a cube set at -25,000°

First Appearance: House of Mystery #151 (June, 1965)

Created by Jack Miller & Joe Certa

Monday, March 17, 2014

Martian Sightings for June, 2014

Martian Manhunter
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art and cover by MIKE McKONE
DC Collectibles Bombshells variant cover by ANT LUCIA
1:25 Variant cover by BEN OLIVER
On sale JUNE 11 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US.

It’s all out battle issue as Hawkman has a showdown with Lobo as the League is teleported to Rann to face the shape-changing alien called Byth! This looks like a job for Supergirl!
This sounds like the Martian Manhunter team book I bought a year each worth of two titles to get, but didn't. I'm looking forward to the trade paperback collection of this. Sometime in mid-2015, based on a solicitation later in this post. DC's Silver Age sci-fi heroes addressing like villains in the manner seen in the classic JLA stories, whether than means Fox/Sekowsky or Morrison/Porter to you? That's exciting to hear, even if Zuko Lobo is involved. Man, either Hawkman is much, much more powerful in the New 52, or more likely, Lobo is as fierce as he currently looks. Tell me again why DC thinks decking out characters in illuminated garb like children's sneakers isn't desperately clueless, 'cuz I don't see it any other way.

On sale JUNE 25 • 48 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST

“Justice Lords Beyond” continues as the shocking truth behind Wonder Woman’s return is finally revealed! Plus: Lord Superman vs. Batman—oh yeah, it’s on now!!!

On sale JULY 9 • 224 pg, FC, $16.99 US

Green Lantern! Green Arrow! Catwoman! Katana! Vibe! Hawkman! Stargirl! They aren’t the world’s greatest Super Heroes—they’re the most dangerous! But why does a team like the JLA need to exist? What is their ultimate mission? And who is pulling the strings? Find out in this collection of the first five issues of the new series as the team takes on the Secret Society of Super-Villains!
Remember Flags of Our Fathers, the 2006 Clint Eastwood movie about the battle where U.S. soldiers created the pose these a-hole super-heroes are aping? Someone should have aped the movie poster for Letters from Iwo Jima for this cover. Here's that book that co-launched with two tie-in titles, Vibe and Katana, all three of which have been since canceled. Hey look, it's Green Lantern Simon Baz! Is he even appearing in any comic book nowadays? Let me assure you, there's is nothing essential about this volume. Please feel free to let DC know by not buying it.

Art by PETE WOODS and others
On sale JULY 23 • 232 pg, FC, $16.99 US

The most unlikely member of the Justice League of America ever stars in his own title collecting issues #1-10 of his series! Vibe discovers he’s one of the most powerful individuals on Earth – but how did he get his abilities? And why does the JLA want him on the team?
Speaking of which, I only got through the first five issues, with the rest sitting in the to-read pile, but I liked them and hear the rest are up to snuff. Not much J'Onn J'Onzz, but this was the home of New 52 Gypsy and Dale Gunn. Hope that's not the cover they're going with, though. In a ten issue run, I can think of five better choices. By the way, dig how the price per issue breaks down to $1.70. That's a late '80s cover price, ya'll.

Written by KEVIN SMITH
On sale AUGUST 13 • 360 pg, FC, 7.0625” x 10.875”, $29.99 US

Kevin Smith’s acclaimed run on GREEN ARROW is collected in a Deluxe Edition hardcover. In these tales from issues #1-15, Green Arrow is back from the dead, leading the Dark Knight to investigate his mysterious return, while a silent killer targets costumed vigilantes...

Oliver Queen should have stayed dead. Seriously. Okay? Okay.

On sale AUGUST 20 • 696 pg, FC, 7.25” x 10.875”, $75.00 US

In this follow-up to BLACKEST NIGHT, twelve heroes and villains were resurrected by a white light expelled deep within the center of the earth. Now, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Deadman, Jade, Osiris, Hawk, Captain Boomerang and Zoom must discover the mysterious reason behind their return and uncover the secret that binds them all in this massive hardcover collecting issues #0-24 of the hit series!
Hey kids! Read the story where Martian Manhunter and the classic versions of Aquaman, Firestorm and Hawkgirl were brought back to live while Swamp Thing and John Constantine were reinserted into the mainstream continuity... right before the entire DC Universe rebooted and none of that would have been necessary. Bonus: multiple never to be resolved cliffhanger endings!

Miss Martian
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
On sale JUNE 4 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED E

The Eisner Award-winning series is back for an all-new six-issue miniseries! Superboy and Supergirl return to the treehouse to discover…IT’S MISSING! Or is it just…really small? Who could have done such a thing?! Find out as all your favorite Tiny Titans search for answers!
How many months was this solicitation column salvaged by Miss Martian appearing in Teen Titans, Young Justice or Tiny Titans while J'Onn was dead or otherwise unneeded by DC publications? We salute you M'gann M'orzz, on your (brief?) return to comics!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Coming in September- Martian Manhunter: Rings of Saturn TP

While I've sworn off most social media, I do see the value in Twitter for chitchat, novelties, promotion, and the dissemination of information. For instance, Michael Wagner favorited/was driven slowly insane by the 4½ hour long DC Sampler/audio adaptation of The King in Yellow I referenced as the Fire, Water, Burn Manhunter Burn Podcast, la édition troisième. Keeping me in mind, Wagner tweeted an article at The Beat covering DC Comics trade paperback offerings for late 2014/early 2015. This includes a follow-up to Martian Manhunter: Son of Mars, which came out so recently the sales numbers haven't been released yet...
"Martian Manhunter: Rings of Saturn
John Ostrander, Tom Mandrake
On Sale Date: September 9, 2014
$19.99 USD / $23.99 CAD
192 pages Paperback / softback / Trade paperback (US)
Comics & Graphic Novels / Superheroes
9781401251413, 1401251412

Summary: The Martian Manhunter, one of the key heroes in The New 52, stars in this new title collecting his popular 1998 series. Featuring moody art by writer John Ostrander’s frequent collaborator, Tom Mandrake. After suffering colossal injuries at the hands of the evil Malefic, the Martian Manhunter has returned to Mars in an attempt to heal himself. But while he’s away, Saturnian ships arrive to reclaim Jemm, Son of Saturn, who is still recovering from being used as a pawn in “DAY OF JUDGMENT.”

Collects the 1998 MARTIAN MANHUNTER #10-17."
I'm much more hesitant to recommend this trade than "Son of Mars." The first issue collected had nice fill-in art by Phil Winslade, but was also vile, racist, and the point where I officially turned on the book's creative team. I mean, it has Brazilians speaking Charo "cuchi-cuchi" Spanish and a voodoo witch doctor. Even fifteen years ago, that wasn't cool. The following issue was better, a DC One Million coda drawn by Bryan Hitch, except the actual Martian Manhunter #1,000,000 story still isn't collected. Next comes a Day of Judgment tie-in, which is problematic outside that context, not to mention being somewhat reliant on a reader's history with Justice Leagues Detroit and International (and even Task Force.) The meat is the four part "Rings of Saturn," a solid space opera, populated by characters introduced in the Jemm, Son of Saturn twelve issue maxi-series. The collection is bookended by the sudden, unexpected return of the D.E.O. for a big change in J'onn J'onzz's status quo as featured in a Secret Files & Origins story and Son of Mars. There is not one single story in this TPB that doesn't demand the audience to have read stories not in the volume. How many articles have you read that calls that sort of thing the downfall of the industry? Given that the Ostrander/Mandrake Spectre series is also in the process of being collected across multiple volumes, I no longer see this as signaling an Alien Atlas solo series, just another sign of DC CCO Geoff Johns' ongoing mancrush on Ostrander. Always the bridesmartian...

2013 Martian Manhunter fan art by ZlayerOne

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"J'onn J'onzz, last survivor of the antic Martian race uses "his extraordinary abilities to protect and serve the people of Earth". I always liked this character though his curious outfit."
This isn't so much a daily blog as a two pieces every other day blog of late. I'd apologize and explain, but at this point, I think it would come across like Jake Blues prostrate in a sewer. Anyway, here's a drawing of J'onn J'onzz wearing elbow length opera gloves over his naked flesh. I'm never not creeped out when artists do that. Even when Michael Netzer tries, the effect is less Tyler Durden and more Carl Stargher. Shudder.

Friday, March 14, 2014

2011 Martian Manhunter piece by Chris Samnee

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"I think Martian Manhunter is the only character from Justice League I hadn't drawn recently."
Been meaning to run this image for a while. It transitions nicely from the minimalism of yesterday to high contrast of today. Plus, I leave in seven minutes for a 16+ hour shift, so boom!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

2013 Black Lantern Martian Manhunter “We Can Be Heroes: Rise” silhouette by Steve Garcia

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I don't think I've ever mentioned this publicly, but I appreciated J'Onn J'Onzz being made the pale rotting face of the Black Lantern Corpse in the big Blackest Night crossover. He was the first zombie corpsman out of the gate, got to manhandle Green Lantern and the Flash, and the whole thing transitioned the Manhunter from Mars away from his dumb "One Year Later" Conehead design back toward the classic (resurrected) Alien Atlas. Speaking of which, Steve Garcia did a variation on the Manhunter "Empathy" piece that traded out the Justice League Unlimited animated Martian soldier for the "natural form" seen in The New Frontier. Peep that here, and/or demonstrate your own empathy through a donation to We Can Be Heroes. Just imagine that the silhouette that they used for the New 52 Martian Manhunter action figure packaging is transposed over Cyborg, if that helps.

“We Can Be Heroes”

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Evil Mystic Brushes

Along a shoreline in the general vicinity of Middletown, the Idol-Head of Diabolu released strange paintbrushes, which were found by a boy named Andre. He gave the brushes to his father Pierre, who passed one to his brother Henri, both of whom were painters. Impressed by the weird carvings upon the handles and bizarre hairs of a texture they'd never felt before, the brothers decided to separate and try them out on different landscapes. Pierre's whirling water top image disappeared from his canvas and manifested in reality. J'onn J'onzz, in the area as part of his search for the Diabolu Head, warned Pierre off using his newfound brush while the Manhunter from Mars dealt with his creation.

Once the first threat was resolved, the Manhunter was directed to Henri, who had already completed and unintentionally unleashed two supernatural masterpieces of monstrosity, "All-Seeing Seaweed" and "Nightmare on the Wing." J'onzz was able to destroy the first tentacled creature with relative ease for an Alien Atlas, but the second avian adversary was quite invulnerable to his abilities. The four-winged bird-thing evaporated anything caught under its wake, so to minimize casualties, J'onzz had Henri paint an effective adversary for the "Nightmare." This harpooned whale devoured the bird-creature "in a dying surge of strength," and the Manhunter collected the evil brushes.

First Appearance: House of Mystery #150 (April, 1965)

Created by Jack Miller & Joe Certa

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2014 Justice League of America #13 Robot Chicken Variant Cover

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Available as a one in twenty-five incentive edition. Good luck selling twenty-five copies of the penultimate issue of a misbegotten series launched just over a year ago and currently starring Stargirl.

Monday, March 10, 2014

2014 “Martian Madamee” fan art by Jodi

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"I drew Earth 11 Martian Manhunter because I loved the very idea of Earth 11. Which is a canon genderbend universe within the preboot DC comics."

2014 “Jon Jonnz” fan art by 5econds James

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"Watched the first couple seasons of the Justice League cartoon. Big fan of the Martian Manhunter character."
I don't think the world demands a daily updated Martian Manhunter blog, but if I stopped trying to reach 365 posts a year, I would slip swiftly down to weekly, to monthly, to oblivion...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

2014 Comicpalooza Commission Wish List WIP

As I'm not in the mood to whip up a Martian Manhunter post, but I am game to look at pretty artwork, let's return to our annual tradition of me thinking aloud about commissions I want to get at Houston's Comicpalooza convention (in just 75 days!) I usually like to be cagey about my plans and ask for reader input, but the response is typically minimal, so I'm probably going to aim for transparency this time out.

I have two major "projects" I wanted to play out in 2014. Unrelated to this blog, I've been on a T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents kick for a few months now, and bought the blank sketch cover IDW put out for the current series' fourth issue. I've never tried to do a "jam" piece, and that would have been a nifty medium for such a thing as a wraparound cover. Unfortunately, IDW just had to put an ad for the re-release of The Maxx on the back cover, so it looks like that might be too claustrophobic. I could just get a single Agent or two, but that's wimpy, so we'll wait and see. The other idea I want to pursue is a celebration of the weird menaces from the Diabolu Idol-Head as part of its fiftieth anniversary. I still have a bunch of unshared commissions from 2013, some of which tie into that theme already, so why not expand it? Artist Alley would be the place for this experimentation, but for months now the only confirmed table has belonged to Lane Montoya, so I can only certify Lane Montoya as contributing.

Mike Mignola, Greg Capullo, Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki, and Arthur Suydam don't do commissions/convention art, so we can rule them out immediately. The legendary Neal Adams would be a great "get," but there are some seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The truth is, Adams has drawn J'onn J'onzz a few times already, and if we're swinging in that wheelhouse, I feel it should be Michael Netzer called up to bat. I'd prefer to have Adams draw Dynamo for that T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents cover, but his starting price for a waist-up seems to be $700, so I'll respectfully pass those bills to, like, seven or more other artists to do the whole team instead.

I don't think I'll even try to approach Don Rosa. I never gravitated toward Disney or the Duck tales, plus I understand that he has a curious barter system when it comes to commissions. I'm also not sure who besides Zook I would request.

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Nicholas Pitarra has done some great pieces for the blog in the past, so I'll be looking to hit him up again. I haven't given a ton of thought this time to who any of the artists should draw, but off the top of my head, Professor Arnold Hugo seems obvious, right? Futureman might be a sick curveball though, what with all the phallic imagery and opportunity to really get some shading into his scrotum-clinging outfit.

I've read and liked some of David Petersen's Mouseguard work, but as sketches go, the question is, do I play into his critter inclinations or go against type? Am I truly desperate for another Human Squirrel? Is a realistically rendered Jupiter altogether necessary? Coloring outside the lines would be preferable, though he can do saurian stuff, so maybe The Lizard Men?

Aaron Lopresti is a versatile artist that should be good at whatever you give him, though he seems to specialize in respectable lovely ladies. Diane Meade would be one way to go, but it's sorta boring, as well. Just as soon have him do Kitten Kane for the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. jam. What about getting back to his roots on monster books like Sludge? A Silver Age creature, or someone like D'Kay?

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I was very into the imagery of The Crow comics before I read the Tundra reprints in the early '90s. The story wasn't as potent as the visuals, and then came the movie and the wannabe goths. I still like James O’Barr art, and I really want to be the guy who doesn't ask him to draw the Crow at a con. Not that B'rett would be entirely alien from "violent barechested dude with a pistol," but it's a laser pistol, and no Cure hair in sight.

I certainly have respect and affection for the work of Michael Golden, but I'm still apprehensive about his reputation and rates. It occurs to me that if I got him in on the jam piece, he'd be an awesome linchpin for a central Dynamo figure, or I could really chicken out and get rows of tiny T.H.U.N.D.E.R. head shots in Brady Bunch squares to test the waters. At some point, I'd want him to do a full figure Martian Manhunter, but I'm not sure whether I'd prefer classic flavor or New 52, and I'm especially uncertain as to then when of it.

Joe Jusko was supposedly in town last year, but I never found his table anywhere. He'd still do a swell classic, Burroughs via Buscema Alien Atlas. Might also be a fun alternative take for Dynamo, but in this case I feel more strongly in favor of the Martian.

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So the first thing I ask Kevin Maguire is whether the sketch I bought cheap off eBay in the late '90s was really by him. The second thing I do is see if he wants to ink it, so even if he didn't do the first sketch, it would become a Maguire thereafter. I do follow him on Twitter, so I could probably resolve all that before he even comes to town. Having done that, shouldn't I see about an entirely new piece? Of whom, I do not know, but I'm going to get something from Maguire, and it's going to be magnificent.

Not to diminish my appreciation for all the other artists mentioned, but I worship Paul Gulacy. He's a lifelong favorite-- one of those guys whose style I love so much that I still buy books I'd otherwise avoid solely to ogle it. A Martian Manhunter (probably New 52) is a must, but based on what Anj told me about his rates, I'm dreaming of a whole "women of the Manhunter from Mars" multi-figure piece that would include femme fatales like Bel Juz, Bette Noir, and Scorch. Oh, and if I do nothing else with that T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents sketch cover, a Gulacy NoMan...

Friday, March 7, 2014

2013 Martian Manhunter art by Marcelo Mueller

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You might not know this about me, because it's not the sort of thing that comes up in casual conversation, but I really enjoy the artistic stylings of Claudio Castellini. I'm not familiar with Marcelo Mueller, but his most recent work reminds me of Castellini, and other influences seem to include Thomas Derenick, Mike Deodato Jr., Simon Bisley, and early Jae Lee, none of which are bad. I'm glad to be so receptive to Mueller, because the dude is scary ripped. He could have modeled himself for the sweet, Buscema-flavored New 52 Alien Atlas above is what I'm saying.

More Mueller

2011 “The Manhunter” fan art by erockrules

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Okay, I'm going to try really hard to stop sucking at blogging within the next week, but the week starts on Sunday, and this ain't even Sunday by days yet.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

2014 Martian Manhunter: Son of Mars Trade Paperback

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Almost a year after plans for it were revealed, the Son of Mars tpb is now available as solicited. You can see above that the final cover used was a repurposing of the 1998 series' #0. There are a few variations beyond obvious stuff like the updated DC Comics logo and the removal of the bar code/cover price/etcetera. The huckstering "From the pages of JLA" is removed, the creators' full names are now used, and the '80s "Martian Manhunter" logo is no longer partially obscured by J'Onn's bald head. I'm glad they didn't try to swap in the underwhelming "One Year Logo" that's still turning up on most Alien Atlas product.

To offer the bad news first, there aren't any significant extras in this package. Some art contained in these issues is reworked in Photoshop to create interstitial material, plus there's part of an image seen in period house ads, but otherwise bupkis. No profile pages, pin-ups, or other ancillary material. However, this volume does collect probably the best new reader friendly origin story and character overview. Ma'alefa'ak, the most enduring solo Manhunter villain and the only one to cross over into animation, gets his story done. Lesser foes Headmaster, Antares, and Bette Noir all get spotlight debut tales. The Morrison JLA figures prominently into the arc, including several nasty battles involving Martians. Jemm, Son of Saturn is reworked through an extensive retcon to have firm ties to the Sleuth from Outer Space. Stuff happened here that stuck, as opposed to that other U.S. Manhunter trade, The Others Among Us.

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For me, the biggest draw was the glossy quality weight paper stock. Martian Manhunter launched on similar but thinner stock, only to suffer an ugly downgrade to cheaper dull pulp from #2 on that muddied the coloring to a deeply undesirable degree. I wish I had this trade when I needed to scan some art from these issues, because it was murder trying to make them halfway presentable for digital reproduction. I often failed miserably, as with the unintended fake "3D cover" to Malefic #1.

Was I a huge fan of this series? Not even remotely. However, there's a good many Martian Manhunter fans who hold this run in much higher regard than myself. The first year of the series presented most of the best stories, and they're less likely to rub casual readers the wrong way like they did a so-called "historian" such as I. Of all the trades available in the English language, Son of Mars is the safest bet for indoctrination purposes, or at least for folks who want to sample the Sleuth from Outer Space in his most popular, Post-Crisis interpretation.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

2011 “the work of a fanatical addict” art by Jamey Trotman

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"shading lesson 5. this is the work of an addicted fan here folks lol. my alltime favorite comic superhero, martian manhunter in his original DC comics design, this is a headshot. shaded to bring to life the shear wisdom and power in his physical features ^_^"

2012 “Sentry, Thor, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter” fan art by Bryan Da Silva

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"pin up of some supers- a team perhaps umm?"
Personally, I'd rather see this lot fight than team up. Pencil version here.

2008 “Close Encounters” fan art by Culumon

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February was an exhausting month, both in real life and for the blog. Once I crossed the finish line on the Diabolu Idol-Head half-century post, and threw in an unexpected double shift to cap a crushing month at work, and I was out for a few days. We'll play some catch-up and hopefully get back to the menagerie pieces soon.

A fan piece featuring this Gir thing was featured in an earlier fan piece. Is this a thing?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

2009 “H'onzzol and G'rt'al” by Moho F.

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"The voting thread isn't up yet, but here's my Justice Leaguer adapted to fairy tale deliciousness for Challenge Nine of CBRunway. I was assigned the Martian Manhunter and have come to realize he is my favorite DC character. Kind of... it's sad that his story has always been a little tragic. Now matter how long he's been on Earth, he remains a Martian, both to himself and everyone around him. There was a real sense of abandonment and being lost, something that the story of Hansel and Gretel touches upon."
Read the story here.

2009 “My DCAU Martian Manhunter” by Francesco Castelli

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So tired. So not into blogging. Here. This.