Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Podcast: 60 Years of Martian Manhunter - 1957

Episode #22

Look for us on iTunes, ShoutEngine or directly download an art-tagged MP3 from the Internet Archive

After nearly a year, you'd be forgiven for thinking we were covering our retrospective of John Jones' publication history in real time. Blame our coverage of the current but increasingly finite ongoing Martian Manhunter maxi-series? 1957 offers a lot of repeats with slight variations on John Jones stories, but also the debuts of pretty probationary policewoman Diane Meade and TOR, Robot Criminal from Mars! Also, we look at the Sleuth from Outer Space's international publication history, which started quite early in Mexico and Australia, the latter proving the Martian Detective his first ever cover appearance (a phenomena well known to Aquaman, who turned up on lots of foreign editions in original illustrations before fronting a book in his native country.) Also, ads for our friend podcasts, Pulp 2 Pixel's Secret Sagas of the Multiverse and Count Drunkula's The Power of Fishnets. Please stick around to rank the Detective Comics stories from 1955-1957...

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MetropolisKid41 said...

Great episode Frank, thank you for reading and recapping these stories so that we don’t have to, sounds like a lot of repetition, and some pretty lackluster stuff.
The Silver Age Martian Manhunter stuff I’ve read is few and far between, but I had always got the vibe that this was how the majority of it was. It’s really kind of mind blowing on what a gem they could have had on their hands, but let slip through their fingers. John Jones would make the ultimate undercover, spy in disguise. Obviously he can shape shift into any mobster or thug, and easily infiltrate a criminal organization. All he has to do is pop a guy on the head, read his mind and quickly learn all of his mannerisms and inside knowledge, then shape shift and take the guys place. I would think a serialized take on the dynamic, where Martian Manhunter infiltrates and dismantles criminal organizations from within, gaining critical intel to when crimes will be performed and then swoop in as Detective Jones and clean-up, pretty much writes itself.
One could say that may wear thin, and get old fast as being too repetitive, but it sounds like that’s already happening, on a much flimsier premise, of random fire outbreaks everywhere. To avoid the repetition, throw in some pieces of the (code-approved) supernatural and/or alien invasion elements. They could have setup a sort of master arc through subplots of these serialized adventures, that all of this organized crime is really being orchestrated by some unknown alien threat, and each time Martian Manhunter takes down a cell of mobsters, he gets closer to uncovering that evil alien overlord. It seems like this stuff would write itself, and sadly wouldn’t have the same resonance today, with the changing world landscape. This type of story set in the 1950’s, during prime gumshoe detective days and the peak of organized crime in America, should have been an easy and popular sell.
If Captain Marvel could have a 22 chapter serialized story arc in the form of the Monster Society of Evil in the 1940’s, I don’t see why they couldn’t have done that with the Manhunter from Mars 15 years later.

Great episode, and keep em coming, while the Silver Age Martian Manhunter stuff may not be great to read, it’s very entertaining to hear your recaps.

-Kyle Benning

Darrin said...

Another great episode Diabolu Frank. You're recaps are always entertaining whether you cover a single issue or an entire year of issues. I really appreciate your respect of the character and your willingness to cover the entire range of stories with a sense of humor. I laugh more during your episodes than during most sitcoms. Best, Darrin.

Armando E. Torre Puerto said...

Hey, Frank.
I'm Rafa Rivas (Armando Torre is my secret identity) (dammit, I just gave away my secret identity). Anyway, I wanted your help to share this as a post in your blog, and any other social media you might consider.