Monday, October 11, 2021
2015 Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues: "1000th ISSUE SPECTACULAR!" featuring Martian Manhunter and Drax the Destroyer
In the long life of The Brave and the Bold / Marvel Two-in-One: The Lost Issues, Ross has surely reached a lot of numerical milestones by posting every weekday. #1000 has to be among the most memorable though, since in 2015 no American super-hero comics had made it to that many issues, far eclipsing the combined runs of the various team-up titles that inspired the project. Also, people still paid attention to blogs in 2015. For the occasion, Ross did a real tour de force post, including scan of childhood hand-drawn team-up comics, how-to tutorial, best of gallery, and more! This is clearly a lifelong passion project, as evidence by his still going another half-dozen years since.
Ross also produced a special 1000th edition speculative comic in the tradition of DC Comics' 100 Page Giants, offering seven different pairings involving Batman, Deadpool, The Thing, Firestorm, The Hulk, Black Lightning, Superman, Gladiator, Ant-Man, The Atom... The primary story involved the Avengers and JSA, but for the purposes of this blog, a (crudely) foregrounded a back-up with J'Onn J'Onzz and Drax titled "Riot on the Red Planet!"
I just noticed that I screwed-up last week's link for Tars Tarkas, but another entry in my short-lived Martian Knock-Offs series of posts was Drax the Destroyer. Even by 2011, the characters had diverged sharply, to the point where the similarities ended with broad physical characteristics. Certainly, no one who has seen Dave Bautista (and of course James Gunn's) portrayal of an obtuse, brutally violent, fairly misogynistic MCU anti-hero would confuse the character with the more empathetic and pensive live action Alien Atlas. That said, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made Drax a full blooded alien mourning a deceased wife and child with deep wells of sadness detected by his psychic cohort Mantis, so in some ways they're even more alike today.
The images here were taken, I believe, from a Phil Jimenez two-page massive group spread from JLA Secret Files & Origins and a Ron Lim cover for Silver Sufer when Drax was still in his imbecilic Hulk phase. I was a huge Adam Warlock fan growing up, but unless Jim Starlin were to do the project, preferably in 1977, I doubt this would be my bad today.
Monday, October 4, 2021
As I got away from writing posts, I likewise more or less stopped reading blogs. When Ross Pearsall of Super-Team Family... The Lost Issues! recently made a guest appearance on The Fire and Water Podcast, it reminded me that I hadn't exploited his fanfic team-up efforts for easy content in years!
We regifted a Batman and The Martian Manhunter Mock-Up Cover in 2011, Beta Ray Bill in 2012, Marvel Two-in-One: The Thing in 2013*, Captain America Vs. The Justice League of America in 2015.
One that I passed on covering for nearly a decade was John Carter, despite once harrassing his buddy Tars Tarkas. I remember having ancient Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies playing in the background to my less than rapt inattention when I was a wee lad, but I never had much use for Edgar Rice Burroughs. Blame Spielberg and Lucas, but I was raised to appreciate the bravura loving tributes, not the clunky source material.
* and just for good measure, Mahunter Paul Kirk and Iron Fist
Monday, September 20, 2021
"Martian Manhunter bust illustration in pencil, ink and acrylic ink. Portrait, 11 x 17". By Nick Bradshaw."Sorry that I skipped out for most of September. I've been juggling a lot this month. Ironically, by hitting a wall on my more elaborate projects, like podcasting, I'm taking a breather this week that allowed for posting here. Depending on how things go, I may try to make up some of that missed time, or not. Anyway, here's a big name artist with a very pleasing Art Adams streak providing a rare take on DC's Alien Atlas!
Thursday, September 2, 2021
A few months back, I started receiving some friendly emails from one of our reader/listeners, and thought I'd share a sampling of his words to go with the art above...
I first encountered the Martian Manhunter back in my elementary school days in the early 70s in a reprint of an earlier JLA comic where Fox and Sekowsky had them fighting robots or statues that looked like them. I’d catch him at different times over the years in reprinted stories in 100-page giants, etc. I was very excited when he returned to earth and the JLA during the Detroit-era, perhaps the only good thing to come out of that time period. Then I pretty much followed him ever since until the early 2000s. IMHO, ever since Identity Crisis, the flavor of DC Comics changed for me to the point where I just didn’t buy new DC Comics. And as such some of the newer appearances of J’Onzz I missed except for the last outing. I bought the first couple of issues but I haven’t looked through them, let alone read them.
So that’s my relationship with the character. Obviously, mine isn’t as deep and passionate as yours. I hope that some day soon that DC will J’Onn J’Onzz book that hit all your buttons. You deserve it for trying to keep the blue flame of Mars alive...
Fan-casting for a 1950s style J’Onn J’Onzz story, I think Richard Bulgi would make for a great John Jones.
If you could warp time and space, I’d suggest the late, great John Huston would have made a great Monte Moran. Not just his look but his voice too. I can hear it in my head mocking J’Onn as he gets away...
Here’s my idea. I’m not re-inventing the wheel by any stretch but I think this looks pretty cool in my humble opinion. It is nothing more than basically taking the blackest night costume and adding the original MM color scheme to it. I tried to make his shirt more like a tunic for a subtle nod to Ancient Rome (the whole Mars-Roman god thing). Also I didn’t want to give him outer shorts like Superman, but it need some kind of break between the legs and torso would do that and look a little better shorts or loin cloth. The open neck and short sleeves shows off more of his green skin and gives him a causal air about him, like he isn’t afraid to face any menace.
Monday, August 23, 2021
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Juggling too many projects this week while also suffering from the energy depletion of dieting, so nothing substantial this week. One of those efforts is Siskoid's "Who's Editing" fan fiction thought experiment, for which I offered...
THE SATELLITE LEAGUE #1
written by G. WILLOW WILSON
art & cover by PAUL SMITH
Spinning out of the pages of DOOMSDAY CLOCK & ATOMIC! The Shadow Lords’ trap has been sprung, bringing about a new world order. Their Stormwatch Intercontinental now patrols the globe, capable of putting down any threats to their planetary rule. With the Justice League no more, numerous other challengers neutralized, and even the alien refugees being deported from Earth, their control appears complete.
Despite faltering at Shadowspire, there is yet a collective of heroes to fight back against these nihilistic fascists. Aided by Staq Mavlen before his demise, Ray Palmer located the 30th Century telepath Imra Ardeen within a dank prison, the captive of Adrian Veidt. Her own mission to save Superman, Johnny Thunder, and the new Rorschach Reggie Long has failed, but Veidt himself offered a path to redemption. The son of Erika Manson and Marcos Maez held special meaning to Doctor Manhattan, who left the boy to be raised by the former Silk Spectre and Nite-Owl in 1992. That boy, now adult, is somewhere on Earth with the full inheritance of power from his “foster father,” capable of correcting the time stream to save… everyone?
Dr. Osterman had prophesied before his disappearance, “In the year 2020, Superman’s timeline is bombarded by the reckless energies of the Old Gods, once again warping the Metaverse.” Instead, the New Gods brought about his end in that year, or have they? So many threads to pull on this harrowing new reality, and who better than the survivors of the classic Justice League, joined by their proud legacy from 1,000 years in the future? The Atom and Saturn Girl escape with Elongated Man, Hawkman and Hawkwoman, herself drawn to reunite her cohorts in serving The Life Entity during Brightest Day. But first, they need allies and a base to plan their next moves, and after a quick stop for Sue Dibny, they are directed to Monument Point, Virginia. Former mayor Jay Garrick is also under fire from the government after aiding XS & Kid Flash against A.C.E., and is ready to get back into the race as The Flash. Hot in pursuit is the Shadow Cabinet, led by the aged Veidt’s heir apparent, Cleopatra Pak… the villainess Nostalgia.
ON SALE 5.26.21
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | DC
Like all right-thinking people, I love Paul Smith, so it's fun to see his take on J'Onn J'Onzz. He's bit too inhuman to me, especially with the Spock ears and vampire collar on an otherwise very Silver Age-y interpretation. The Alien Atlas isn't on my fake team because I killed him off with the rest of the Magnificent Seven JLA at the start of the project. More on that next week...
Monday, August 2, 2021
The Daily Planet buzzed over Earth's heroes beating back the Appellaxian invaders. Two generations of Green Lanterns & friends saved Metropolis. Black Canary & the Blackhawks had an Iwo Jima moment in DC. Aquaman, the Sea Devils and others were in... um... ocean? Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Shining Knight, and Black Condor fought avians in... air, and Martian Manhunter had to listen to them wonder how the aliens knew all their secret identities. Awkward. Kalar took out his frustrations on Stonehenge, where a teleporting Vandal Savage used the mindwipe device to take out a group of Appellaxians, and also took offense at the insult to his design. On to St. Louis. In a brilliant moment, the Atom shattered a crystal proxy by enlarging slightly in one of its flaws, but the explosion knocked Ray Palmer out, leaving his tiny form to be caught in the palms of Doll Man. In Paris, Molly Mayne reported on the Global Guardians. In Central City, Canary and Flash reunited, as did Barry Allen and Iris West, so Dinah made clear that she wasn't going to be her mother's daughter in a way that would make for two-timing. Also, Green Arrow showed up to flirt.
Monday, July 26, 2021
Despite being familiar with Martian Manhunter going back to around 1984, I didn't become a proper fan until 1996's Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare #2. It was a moment of epiphany, as if all the near misses of finding favor with the Sleuth from Outer Space all swerved the other way at the same time. In a single splash page by Jeff Johnson, depicting a story beat co-writer Mark Waid informed me was Fabian Nicieza's contribution, it hit me that I loved this character. Being of limited means, I did what most new fans do; started picking up what I could of the character as it came out or when back issues presented themselves to me. While I was certainly a veteran comics reader, it became clear rather quickly that J'Onn J'Onzz's solo stories were a blind spot not only for me, but for the majority of the then-modern audience. Likewise, JLA was an immediate smash hit, reintroducing a new readership to the "Magnificent Seven" Justice League not seen since the early 1980s. DC wisely recognized that these recent converts would be receptive to a new testament, and so a twelve issue maxi-series was commissioned to expand upon a one-off revised League origin story the way Man of Steel and Legends of the Dark Knight had elaborated upon a modern take on heroes' formative adventures. These revisionist histories formed the ground floors of my Alien Atlas adoration, though I'd later face the cognitive dissonance of a deeper understanding of how the Manhunter did (or admittedly most often did not) work on his own terms. In this era, the gospel of J'Onn as "the Heart and Soul of the Justice League" reigned, strongly informing the late '90s WebTV fan site that predated this blog (to my knowledge, only the second significant one of its kind at the time.) Textless solicitation images of period books like JLA: Year One were the backbone of the site, especially before I had access to a scanner (and even then, always someone else's.) Seeing an image like the one above always sends me back to that period.
Martian Manhunter (1998)
- #0 (Oct.'98): "Pilgrimage" by Ostrander & Mandrake
- Book one. (September, 1992)
- Book two. (October, 1992)
- Book three. (November, 1992)
- American Secrets House Ad (Review)
- #11 (Summer, 1993): "Heat Wave" by McGreal/Rawson/Cockrum
- #35 (1988) "Martian Manhunter" by Mark Verheiden & Ken Steacy
- #32 (November, 1988) "All Together Now" by Keith Giffen, Peter David, and Eric Shanower
- #29 (August, 1988): "The Secret Origin of the Atom" by Roger Stern, Dwayne Turner & K.S. Wilson
- #1: "Justice League of America: Year One"
- #2: "Group Dynamic"
- #4 "While You Were Out..."
- #5: "A League Divided"
- #6: "Sum of Their Parts"
- #7: "The American Way"
- #8: "Loose Ends"
- #9: "Change the World"
- #10: "Heaven and Earth"
- #11: "Stalag Earth"
- #12: "Justice for All"
- Silver Age #1
- Silver Age: Justice League of America #1
- Silver Age: Dial H for Hero #1
- Silver Age Secret Files & Origins #1
- Silver Age 80-Page Giant #1
- "Girl's Day Out" by D. Curtis Johnson & J.H. Williams III
- "1976: Super Freaks and Backstabbers" by James Robinson & Craig Hamilton
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Monday, July 12, 2021
Monday, June 28, 2021
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Friday, June 18, 2021
Monday, June 7, 2021
Monday, May 31, 2021
Thursday, May 27, 2021
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Monday, May 10, 2021
Locus made contact with Vandal Savage to seek his help in ending this new age of super-heroes before it could begin, just as a few well-placed senators had done to the Justice Society of America. Savage had already gathered a group of four super-villains to target the new group, consisting of the Thorn, Clayface, Eclipso, and Solomon Grundy. Meanwhile, Manhunter met with Aquaman on the dock to offer him a lift into downtown Gotham City. The Sea King was struggling with learning to read and speak English, to which J'Onn offered, "Learn German first. It's more logical. That's what I did." The meeting was not prearranged, and Aquaman took note of the Manhunter's possessing telepathy that far outstripped his own empathic abilities.
To the relief of Aquaman, he was soon set back on dry land to attend a press conference at the JSA's old headquarters. Not so fast, as Aquaman's soft mumble and ignorance of the surface world ("I'm sure that Sea Devil is a fine man...") plainly irritated the reporters. J'Onn J'Onzz avoided the microphone entirely, with only Black Canary and Green Lantern demonstrating any aptitude in public speaking. While the team was official out and named, lots of questions remained about their jurisdiction, politics, nationalism, and so forth. These deeper questions were set aside upon the thunderous crashing of the affair by Savage's quartet of villainy.
The heroes of the League had never been targeted before, and were thrown by the unprovoked assault, as well as the need to protect the host of imperiled collateral bystanders. Martian Manhunter did one-up Clayface after being threatened that the crook could transform into his worst nightmare. "My. How frightening. Try this one. It's from Mars." Clayface creamed at the sight of a giant alien beast with claws and teeth a third the size of the bad guy. Another unexpected power for the Alien Atlas.
Eventually, the three-quarters of the quartet turned on a rampaging Grundy, allowing the League to regroup and strategize. Manhunter recovered from a temporary blinding from a black diamond eyebeam to emit his own Laser Vision to harden a water-saturated Clayface. However Grundy collapsed the hotel ballroom, and the quartet were teleported away from the scene. Home audiences cheered another victory for the new Justice League of America being reported upon by the likes of Vicki Vale, Lois Lane, and Jack Ryder. Even "bystanders" Ted Grant and Alan Scott signaled their approval, though The Batman had every intention of running them out of his town.
In the aftermath, Vandal Savage tried to quit his association with Locus, though they seemed to perhaps persuade him otherwise. On the scene, when Ryder launched into a heated criticism of the League, the newly arriving Green Arrow sent a shaft through his mic. Seemingly in tow was Simon Carr, representing a wealthy anonymous benefactor offering to bankroll the team. An inventor named Ted Kord had already been retained to facilitate anticipated advanced equipment, vehicles, and facilities...
"Group Dynamic" was by storytellers Mark Waid / Brian Augustyn / Barry Kitson. Since this was arguably the least issue of the maxi-series, I think it's the best place for heavy nitpicking on my part. I realize that this was a new story from the early days of the JLA, unbound by prior continuity, except it isn't. The 1988 Secret Origins story had been edited by Waid, and the maxi-series studiously avoids retelling the actual 1960s League tales while simultaneously referencing them. What's the point of having a walking DC Comics Encyclopedia co-write a project like this without having it steeped in established continuity? The scene with Aquaman learning to read is nice... except Arthur Curry taught him to read (cursive diary entries no less) in The Legend of Aquaman (also edited by Waid.) The villains for the issue include the Matt Hagen Clayface (introduced in December of 1961) and Eclipso (August '63), with cameos by Metamorpho (January '65), The Atom (October '61), The Creeper (April '68), Blue Beetle (November '66), and the New Blackhawks (June '64) in a story that would be contemporaneous to The Brave and the Bold #28 (March 1960). The League are supposedly putting the Sea Devils out to pasture, even though they won't debut for five months? The only non-Golden Age heroic cameo that legitimately predated the League was the Challengers of the Unknown (February '57). Story wise, I get having the most stripped down "action heroes" reacting to the new super-hero team, but nerd-wise, it breaks my brain. Further, there's a new version of the "Justice League of America" naming sequence, already trod in Secret Origins. The Thorn was an exceedingly weird pull, given that she had barely appeared in the Golden Age and Infinity Inc. made a story point of her having disappeared completely following the births of Jade and Obsidian. Likewise, Eclipso had mostly kept to his own strip in House of Secrets until being revived for a Green Lantern subplot in the '80s, so why have him battle Hal Jordan twenty years too early? Grundy and Eclipso are especially dangerous villains, so it was a shame they offered so little a threat. Plus, Green Arrow may have been the first expansion member, but do we really need him around this early? This issue was... fine... but it clearly raised my geek hackles.
Monday, May 3, 2021
In a darkened room, a series of unidentified individuals watched television monitors with reports of freshly emerging super-heroes the Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Manhunter from Mars, and Black Canary. Notes were taken, specifically locations of sightings. The last images were of J'Onn J'Onzz and the combined heroes, for which no notes were written, of the Appellaxian invasion. "...rumors for years of a Manhunter from Mars in Middleton, Colorado... but those rumors are now fact." In a cringey splash page for Martian fans that doubled as a house ad and store poster, all the Leaguers get their trademark epithets ("The Emerald Gladiator",) even ones unfamiliar and perhaps dubious, ("The Blond Bombshell"?) except "The Manhunter from Mars." To paraphrase Henry Jones, "We named the strip Manhunter from Mars." Stuff like that drove me to create this blog, with preferable canon epithets including "The Alien Atlas" and "The Sleuth from Outer Space." Anyway, it's a personal speed bump on the way to the inspirational "They were young... They were new... and still, they forever set the standard for all who would follow. Ten years ago, five powerful heroes came together... for a world that needed one unbeatable team. Just Imagine."
The League wasn't "official" at the end of their first case, leaving the prospective members to mull the decision in their private identities. Central City Police Department forensic scientist Barry Allen was uncharacteristically impatient and testy, as he's introduced to incoming detective Paris Jackson (less than six months before the more famous bearer of that name was born.) In Star City, Dinah Lance unpacked shipments to her floral shop while discussing the team with her mom. The elder Dinah (née Drake) was maybe putting the mother in "smother," especially when she got a new beat cop named Sherman to promise to keep an eye on her nineteen-year-old "little girl." A mild Canary Cry and numerous busted pots later, the junior Dinah was out the door for her meeting. Aquaman tried to make friends in a rough dock bar, but between his soft-speaking, heavy accent, and costume, he nearly ended up in a brawl instead. Things were calmed down by a kindly Coast Guard named Perez. At Ferris Aircraft, Hal Jordan ignored his buddy Tom Kalmaku's pleas to eject from the experimental $30M X-90 jet (or at least wear his power ring during test flights) in order to impress his boss Carol into a dinner date. Successfully landing, his next step seemed to be sweet-talking FAA investigator Lora Denton, but he fumbled.
In Middleton on a rainy night, Detective John Jones sat in a parked car with his partner Diane Meade on stakeout. He asked if she thought of him as a trustworthy team player. "God, John. Warn me when you're gonna speak. I'll alert the media. At least clear your throat or something... You're the most curious detective... You have a spotless record, you always get your man... and no other investigator has yet to find your sense of humor. What more do I need to know right now?" Twitch's tip about drug manufacturing at the back of Angelo's Restaurant panned out when armed dealers showed up to punish his skimming off their operation. Jones expressed his lack of understanding about addiction and violence, which the sassier Meade mocked. Pinned by erupting gunfire, Meade called for back-up while an invisible Jones used laser vision to heat the guns out of their hands. As the only armed man present, the suddenly visible Jones could easily arrest the lot. The press arrived before the reinforcements, with Channel Twelve News' Cal Redmond looking for the scoop on this hero cop. The taciturn Jones bowed out to meet with, perhaps, others like himself?
The quintet of super-heroes had agreed to turn over the two surviving Appellaxian battle drones to the Air Force, specifically General Eiling, but a small army of masked and armed individuals were already at the seaside caves where the team had hidden the alien proxies. A battle ensued, with the reawakened fire giant putting J'Onn J'Onzz out of direct action. Black Canary critiqued the heroes by comparison to her "family" in the Justice Society, but included a Golden Age Flash Fact that helped her and the Scarlet Speedster to bring down the also awakened bird giant. When not undermining the only woman on the team, Green Lantern bailed on yellow bird duty to help Aquaman leave the fire giant all wet in a grotto. Jordan was surprised to learn of the Manhunter's weakness to fire, and tried to walk back a faux pas statement of bring sick of these aliens. "You mean no insult. Go. I will shield the soldiers."
More than that, the Manhunter executed a maneuver that would be adapted to animation in the Justice League TV pilot "Secret Origins." When armed assailants pointed their rifles at him, the Martian disappeared into the ground immaterially, only to arise behind the men and bash their heads together. So much for "The Martian is weak! Quickly! Before the others come to his rescue. --We will reduce him to Martian ash--" Green Lantern noticed, and wondered if his power ring could do that, too? The attackers tried to destroy what they couldn't steal, but were disarmed by the Flash. As a fail-safe, their leader leaped onto the bird giant and had his fellows "triangulate a portmatrix" to teleport them both back to base. General Eiling had ordered his men to stand down for their own protection, and openly admired the super-heroes who'd saved the day (if not the bird giant.)
After the USAF airlifted the fire giant for study, the quintet hesitantly agreed to remain a team to investigate the robbers, by order of Flash, Canary, Lantern, and Aquaman. Only Manhunter offered an unreserved "You... each of you... has treated me as you would one of your own race. You have included me where others might turn away. I am... grateful. I would be honored to join you." Meanwhile, the uniformed members of Locus watched video of this meeting remotely at their base, taking notes on the League's confessions to one another, while their field agents were already in play on the ground to gather intelligence...
"Justice League of America: Year One" was by Mark Waid / Brian Augustyn / Barry Kitson. I grew up on Super Friends, and the first JLofA comic that I remember seeing was 1983's #217 with the George Pérez cover, but it wasn't until the late '80s JLI era that I ever bothered to read any of the things. While I have a fondness for many periods of the property, it wasn't until the 1996 JLA relaunch that the premise finally sung for me, and it was during this period that I truly and eternally became a fan. That half-decade under Morrison and Waid will always be "my" League, and this maxi-series played a big role in that. Since I'd yet to read any but the earliest Detective Comics stories, I had no idea Diane Meade was a preexisting character, and I was still 100% sold on the Post-Crisis Middleton, CO shtick that I'd reject years later.