Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 "Finish The Picture" by Lissbirds

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Lissbirds says You Asked For It... so here it is! I don't think things have gone so wrong for J'Onn lately, with the Conehead gone and a co-starring role in the event series of the year. I wouldn't even have minded if Liss had "retconned" the new pants/chestpiece onto her Martian Manhunter. Maybe the Alien Atlas is really look for help in saving Wonder Woman from a truly dire fate?

Further, Lissbirds took a strong interest in expanding our comments discussion of Martian Manhunter: Blank Canvas for Symbols, Too? What started as a simple art post got pretty in depth at her blog, so check it out!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2010 Brightest Day #6 cover by Dave Finch

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There weren't any Martian Manhunter fan sites when I first got onto a friend's internet in the late '90s, and about two were around when I started a third of my own. I believe the oldest was the Angelfire J'ONN J'ONZZ The Martian Manhunter FAN PAGE, which hasn't changed in over a decade. I'm amazed by how much the character has penetrated the public consciousness in that short time, going from a total of one multi-second animated appearance in a 1984 Kenner Super Powers Collection Martian Manhunter Commercial to turning up on something like four different cartoon series/specials (one as a regular,) a reoccurring live action role in a popular TV series, and even as a playable character in some video games.

It looks like another barrier is about to be broken: a solo Martian Manhunter variant cover! According to the DC Source blog, we'll get an eyeful of this baby next month, and I think its pretty solid (although I can't tell for sure if that's Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz in the background without his headband.)

The Atom managed to beat J'Onn to the punch last year, and even scored an earlier Brightest Day variant. However, I only really came to realize in about that same time frame that the Atom is no longer anywhere near as well known or respected as the Martian Manhunter. Growing up, Ray Palmer was a familiar face from the Satellite era Justice League and a cartoon fixture in the '60s and '70s, but aside from reruns in the '80s, it seems like the Atom has descended into the bowels of obscurity J'Onn J'Onzz spent those years ascending out of. I bet Ray regrets snubbing Justice League International repeatedly, especially once he landed on the worst Teen Titans grouping ever. Poor little dude.

My point is, not only is it awesome J'Onn is finally a variant cover caliber super-hero, but it might be worth giving consideration to how many former greats he's climbed over on his way to somewhere several levels from the top, but still rather high up!

UPDATE: Oh yeah-- I forgot that it was Ivan Reis doing the variant covers, and this was the standard. D'oh!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Justice League of America Wedding Special #1 (November, 2007)

The Martian Manhunter, still in his One Year Later "conehead" form, attended Oliver Queen's bachelor party at the Hall of Justice. He was seen rapping with a Beast Boy who was so excited he covered his mouth with both hands. I'd be interested to know more about that, though I suspect from later seeing the former Changeling wiping his mouth with the back of his hand that it might have just been booze. Aquaman, by whom I mean the young Joseph Arthur Curry that began appearing as the Sword of Atlantis in this period, walked a few feet past the pair. Oberon, sadly,  was far across the room.

J'Onn J'Onzz had no apparent contact with the Green Lantern Corpsmen in attendance. Guy Gardner pestered Red Tornado and Aquaman in turn, while Hal Jordan found John Stewart receptive to picking up his slack in service to the League.

During the shindig, Lex Luthor, Cheetah and the Joker continued amassing a super-villainous army at their Hall of Doom. Martian Manhunter foes in attendance included Gorilla Grodd, Effigy, and Doctor Light. Despero, Black Adam, and Mongul all showed up on a wraparound cover for Justice League of America #13, which was also turned into a poster, but that trio were absent from the actual story. Maybe those were the guys all the heroes who vanished at the end of the Special were fighting?

"Unlimited, Chapter 1: Injustice League" was by Dwayne McDuffie, Mike McKone and Andy Lanning.

You can read this story from different perspectives at the following blogs:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

2007 Paradise Press Inc. Justice League Unlimited Martian Manhunter Origin

In 2007, a six page origin sequence was put together for a Paradise Press JLU Coloring And Activity Book for Martian Manhunter. It was the first of two, the other starring Batman.

J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, is the last survivor of an ancient Martian race. The Martian Manhunter can read minds and use his shape-shifting power to turn himself into anyone-- or thing!-- he chooses.

To illustrate the point, Manhunter was shown turning into a three-headed tiger and a little old lady.

By controlling the density of the atoms in his body, he can even walk through solid walls!

Manhunter passed immaterially through a vault ceiling while Lex Luthor and the Joker pointed comically oversized firearms at him.

J'onn came to Earth to warn us of an invasion by the evil race that wiped out his own people on Mars.

Having emerged and made distance from a crashed and burning rocket ship, the natural form Martian pointed to the skies and barked as terrified onlookers in '50s garb.

J'onn helped to form a group of heroes who could fight off the invaders. This group was the Justice League!

All of the cartoon's founder but Batman were pictured, most following a Kirbyesque Manhunter's lead, but with Wonder Woman obtrusively in the foreground.

After the invaders were defeated, J'onn, his own home gone, remained on Earth.

A sorrowful J'onzz, his lip seemingly quivering, thought of his wife and daughter. A terrestrial bridge merged with memories of comet streaked night skies on Mars.

Written by Brian Augustyn, Jason Hernandez Rosenblatt and Bob Rozakis. Illustrated by Jason Armstrong, Dan Davis, Mike DeCarlo, John Delaney, Craig Rousseau and Joe Staton.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2007 Paradise Press Inc. Justice League Unlimited Martian Manhunter Activity Pages

As previously mentioned, there were two sets of Paradise Press JLU Coloring And Activity Books produced in 2007, with overlap between them. One included a Martian Manhunter origin story, a team adventure featuring J'onn J'onzz, and Alien Atlas-themed activities aplenty. I'll cover the latter here, and anything I miss will turn up in other posts.

The origin sequence was the first of the book, just seven pages in, and was followed by four pages of Manhunter activities. These included a spread helping youngsters to "USE THE GRID TO DRAW J'ONN J'ONZZ," a word scramble involving Martian Manhunter's name and powers, as well as a simple test of "How many words can you make with the letters in: MARTIAN MANHUNTER?" Batman then received his own six page origin, which featured Manhunter in another group shot.

Some time later, a Martian Manhunter image was repeated six times, one with a slight variation, demanding the reader to determine "Which One Is Different?" J'Onzz appeared in the last quarter of the book to perform the same trick with another pose. There were coloring pages with stock Superman and Manhunter figures, as well as two such pairing J'onn with Batman, one with Wonder Woman, and a triple threat involving Kal-El and Green Lantern John Stewart. J'onn had his own shadow matching game, along with a really pathetic connect-the-dots (on half his cape only.) Batman was the odd figure out in the Martian Manhunter dominated "Which Shadow Does Not Belong?" Finally, picking between three squiggly lines that could run to Wonder Woman or Superman, "Which Line Leads To Martian Manhunter?"

My favorite activity was the one above, using original art and demanding imagination. "Martian Manhunter is holding back an army of creatures... FINISH THE PICTURE." If you do, be sure to send them in to me...

Friday, June 25, 2010

2007-2008 Paradise Press Inc. Justice League Unlimited Coloring And Activity Book Covers

2007 Cover A

99¢ Only Stores used to litter their aisles with these thinnish coloring books for (what else) a buck. They measure roughly 7 ¾" x 11 ¾" at a centimeter and a half thick, running about 80 pages each. I found four different covers myself, but there were only two variations in contents and back covers. There's a fifth cover online, but it didn't feature J'Onn J'Onzz, so let it burn.

2007 Cover B

In fact, J'Onn didn't appear on the frontpiece of either 2007 edition, which emphasized Superman alongside Batman, Wonder Woman and the Flash. The back cover is a group shot that's turned up on various other bits of merchandising.

2007 Back Cover

The 2008 editions wised up and emphasized Batman, with the full team stuck like Colorforms in the background.A smooshed version of the same images wound up on the new back covers.

2008 Cover A

I assume two sets of material were laid out for the pair of 2007 editions, which actually featured 2006 copyrights on most pages, then new front and back covers were slapped on those same books with a uniform 2008 copyright.

2008 Cover B

Most of the space inside is devoted to pin-ups and activities employing stock art, but each has unique stories and origin sequences as well.

2008 Back Cover

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Justice League Manhunter from Mars Symbol

I got a request the other day to offer a brief history of Martian Manhunter icons/symbols, specifically looking at one used in merchandising for the Justice League animated series. Unfortunately, I don't have a color version I can scan, since my only copy is on a lenticular trading card. Instead, here's a black and white version from a dollar store activity book I have four or five copies of (they repackaged the same couple of books with different covers.) The cartoon to my recollection never referred to a Martian Manhunter, simply J'Onn J'Onzz, but the merch told a different tale. Happily, the old school "pie slices" are in the middle, but now with fake Martian letters and background elements in play. Say, do those look like bits of White Lantern and Star Sapphire icons to you?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

2010 DC Heroclix: Brightest Day Action Pack Martian Manhunter

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I don't know how I missed this, but Luke at Being Carter Hall pointed out that Newsarama has a preview of Wizkids' new Brightest Day Heroclix set. I never saw a Black Lantern J'Onn J'Onzz from the Blackest Night set, so maybe that's why Martian Manhunter's is the only figurine that's bisected into his pre-and-post-dead forms. That, or maybe they couldn't validate creating a new figure with "wears pants" power action?

After the Blackest Night Starter comes the Brightest Day! Heroes thought long dead are resurrected by the power of the White Lantern to fight evil anew. Why these heroes? What is their connection? Find out with the DC HeroClix Brightest Day Action Pack! This action pack includes seven highly-detailed 3D miniatures-- Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, Captain Boomerang, Osiris, Firestorm, Deadman-- each with a character card. Plus, two all-new Brightest Day-themed game maps!
MSRP: $24.99

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

1988 Justice League International Postcards: Martian Manhunter

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Art by Kevin Maguire and Joe Rubinstein

Accidentally transported to Earth from his native planet Mars by Professor Erdel, J'onn J'onzz uses his strange Martian powers to aid the inhabitants of his adopted planet. As a member of the Justice League International, he fights injustice as the Martian Manhunter!

Least informative flavor text possible? Could be, but this is still one of my very favorite Martian Manhunter images anywhere. I had it up on my old Rock of the JLA site back in the '90s, but for some reason I kept hoarding it away after starting this blog 2 3/4 years ago. While working up some filler for DC Bloodlines, I realized it was about blamed time I corrected that long standing error. I'll be throwing out a slew of these bad boys, so keep your eyes peeled across my blogs for more.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Geoff Johns on Martian Manhunter's Brightest Day

Last Friday, IGN ran a five page interview with Geoff Johns about Brightest Day titled The Rebirth of the DC Universe. Being such a long interview, and relevant to so many characters, The Aquaman Shrine and Being Carter Hall have both issued pull quote posts of material related to their respective blog's characters. I figured I ought to follow suit for Martian Manhunter fans.

Most of the interview is about building from the positive foundations of the characters, fortifying the DC Universe, learning from both 52 and Countdown, yadda, yadda. Johns made it clear he felt writers should own their spin-off characters from out of the Blackest Night resurrections, rather than everyone writing disjointed pieces of a character puzzle. He also stated who his book's specific stars were...

"Again, the main Brightest Day book itself focuses in on Aquaman, Firestorm, Martian Manhunter, Deadman, Hawkman and Hawkgirl. It's the story of why they're back in addition to adventures following these particular characters. You can read just the Brightest Day book and get the big picture story and the stories about these various characters."

Since the creators on Justice League: Generation Lost, Birds of Prey and so on are responsible for their characters, with brief pre-planned ties to Brightest Day, the writers of the main book are free to develop their book organically...

"There will always be things and turns in the road that you don't see coming, and there will always be characters you don't necessarily plan for originally. Another example is Miss Martian shows up in Brightest Day, even though originally she wasn't planned to. But Pete came to a point where she just seemed natural to bring her into the story."

Specific artists on the book will stick to their established characters...

"As you can tell, each artist is taking lead on a character. Ivan Reis is doing all the Aquaman and Deadman stuff; Ardian is doing Hawkman and Hawkgirl; Patrick [Gleason] is doing Martian Manhunter; and Scott is doing Firestorm. Everyone has their own character, and every character has a different feel."

and now, the meat...

IGN Comics: The Martian Manhunter. He might be one of the most iconic characters involved in Brightest Day due to his long history with the Justice League, but at the same time he's also a bit of a blank slate in a lot of fans' minds. Even if fans don't know the character well, a lot of them definitely at least know of him. What's your take on Martian Manhunter, and how do you plan on justifying his place as an equal to the rest of the DCU's Big Seven?

Johns: "We want to really dive inside his head and his heart. He has a lot of issues on his shoulders because of the death of his home planet Mars. It's not like Superman, who never knew Krypton. Jonn had a whole family and an entire life on Mars. It was his home world, and it was taken from him. That's the key. And now he wants it back."

IGN Comics: Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but in Jonn's desire to bring back his home world, there almost seems to be something sinister or dark at work there. How would you explain his journey in Brightest Day: is there something darker underneath Jonn's motivations?

Johns: There's something darker beneath every single one of these characters. That's all I'll say.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

2010 HeroesCon Head Shot by Kevin Maguire

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I adore Kevin Maguire! He does the best Martian Manhunter eyes, and this convention job is polished enough to serve in a "Faces of the DC Universe" cover sequel. Well, if J'Onn didn't look so dang haughty-- or is it pouty? I can't quite decide, but there's no chach collar, so I'll let it slide...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2010 Martian Manhunter 2 Sketch Card by Brendon & Brian Fraim

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I'm beat this weekend after out-of-town relatives and Father's Day wore me out. Here's some low hanging fruit!

Here is the next batch of 24 sketch cards which will be auctioned on eBay starting on 5/17/10 and ending on 5/24/10. Drawn on 2.5x3.5 bristol board with fade resistant markers.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Howard Porter Martian Manhunter Convention Sketch

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Howard Porter had a great deal to do with the popularity J'Onn J'Onzz has enjoyed since 1996. Porter was often criticized for going well off model from the good looks of DC's style guides when it came to more iconic heroes. Martian Manhunter was both a relief and an opportunity to the artist, since Porter could do whatever he liked within reason, and become identified with the character. I'm not a big fan of DC's recycling of across chest straps on so many of their heroes, but Porter uses them well here as a standout symbol amidst an Alien Atlas largely in silhouette. J'Onzz is unusually graceful, but still "off" enough to maintain his extraterrestrial air. I like the Kirby bigness of everything, completely unrealistic but amusingly bombastic. The Adam Hughes puffy boots are a nice touch.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

2010 DC Heroes Roll Call Wall Scroll

Some of the world's greatest comic book heroes feature on these impressive 30' x 40' wall scrolls that star the characters of DC Comics. Collectors can choose from the DC Roll Call, which features a dozen different heroes, the Batman City Scape, Batgirl, the Batman Black & White Collage, or the Superman Black & White Collage. These wall scrolls are perfect for decorating your game room, bedroom, or dorm room.
Release Date:   July 28, 2010
MSRP: $14.99

The DC Trinity, a handsome trio, rendered in the beloved merchandising-friendly style of José Luis García-López so many of us grew up on. Flash, Hawkman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Robin and Supergirl are similarly graced. For some reason, Green Lantern and Aquaman look more like Mike Zeck inked by Jerry Ordway, the former something of a García-López at '80s Marvel Comics, the latter famed for his DC work, neither a slouch. Finally, there's Ed Hannigan's not-ready-for-prime-time Martian Manhunter style guide to stink up the print. What a Wet Blanket from Mars, but at least he made the roll call (sorry Atom!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Diabolu Idol-Head: Eighth Most Important Martian Manhunter Adversary

Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Stone's Scale of Evil Rank
0) Inapplicable.

Why Diabolu has been selected for 8th Place:
  • Diabolu forever altered the original formulation of the Manhunter from Mars
The John Jones strip originally centered around an alien stranded on our world who posed as a police detective to help ease the suffering crime caused his adopted Earth. Based out of Middletown, U.S.A., J’onn J’onzz initially fought a different human crook in each story, but once the public became aware of a Manhunter from Mars amongst them, J’onzz confronted more unusual threats. Jones’ primary support came from Captain Harding, the superior officer who doled out cases, and later policewoman Diane Meade, who was a sometimes partner and foil. Near the end of the almost decade long run of the strip in the back of Detective Comics, a cute alien sidekick named Zook was added.

Meanwhile, by the end of the first appearance of the Idol-Head of Diabolu, John Jones was “dead,” the entire Middletown setting and cast were abandoned, the strip had been ousted from Detective Comics, and the Martian Manhunter had his first ongoing villain. The relatively fresh arrival Zook was all that remained of J’onn J’onzz’s life prior to the touch of Diabolu. For years afterword, the strip was defined more by the monsters unleashed by the Idol-Head on a regular basis than by the actual lead characters.
  • Diabolu “killed” John Jones.
It’s become de rigeur in comics for a hero to be forced to abandon one of their identities for a time, purely in service to dramatic effect. For years, Detective John Jones was the Clark Kent to the Manhunter’s Superman, and it seemed safe to assume this would always be so. Instead, a menace which had erupted from the Idol-Head attacked John Jones in front of witnesses, and destroyed the plausibility of J’onn J’onzz continuing in the role. As his former supporting cast wept for a fallen comrade, John Jones was left as dead for over twenty years.
  • Diabolu was the Manhunter’s first ongoing menace.
Before the arrival of the Idol-Head, J’onn J’onzz had only fought one villain, Monty Moran, on more than a single occasion. It had been years since Moran’s second and final appearance when the Diabolu Idol-Head began troubling Manhunter nearly every issue for almost two years.
  • Diabolu is the only long term menace to remain exclusive to the Martian Manhunter.
Professor Arnold Hugo was created to fight Batman and Robin, while most recently he turned up in a kiddie comic battling Aquaman and Superman. Malefic, Commander Blanx, and Mr. V all had run-ins with the Justice League early on. Even Bette Noir turned up in a Harley Quinn story arc. As a consequence of there being so few villains to reappear in the Manhunter from Mars’ Silver Age solo series, and most of J’onzz’s enemies coming from team books later on, the Idol-Head of Diabolu is the only adversary to be exclusively engaged by Martian Manhunter and Zook.
  • Diabolu was the de facto star of House of Mystery.
With Middletown left behind, the Manhunter from Mars strip became about a pair of alien heroes trying to track down an arcane totem of evil. For better or worse, the Idol-Head defined the run to the point where, when sales were underwhelming and the device had to go, it took Martian Manhunter’s status as the cover feature with it.
  • J’onn J’onzz destroyed the Idol-Head of Diabolu.
The death of Jean Grey helped launch the X-Men to the top of all super-hero franchises. The resurrection of Jean Grey a few years later left best-selling comics in its wake. Ever since, the impermanence of death and destruction has become the norm in comics. Further, Martian Manhunter has few enemies to call his own, and aside from his three year blip of a solo series, is mostly a glorified supporting player in team books. J’Onn J’Onzz is rarely in a role to definitively defeat anyone, but when the writing was on the wall regarding sales on House of Mystery, another massive shift in the status quo was called for. Martian Manhunter finally located the Diabolu Idol-Head, learned its origins, then crushed it to bits with his bare hands. Once again, Diabolu signaled the end of an era for the Alien Atlas, and has remained untouched for nearly half a century. The destruction of the Idol-Head remains the Manhunter from Mars’ greatest and most lasting victory.

The Counter Argument:
  • The Idol-Head isn’t a villain—it’s an knickknack. It’s your granny’s keepsake box turned sour. Lacking sentience and basic articulation, how bad must the Martian Manhunter suck to call this thing one of his greatest enemies? The Idol-Head is like Evan Dorkin’s four panel gag strip “Myron the Living Voodoo Doll,” except unfunny and less developed.
  • The Diabolu stories were sub-literate garbage for slow children which barely functioned on dream logic. The Idol-Head stories killed the strip.
  • Martian Manhunter never fought the Idol-Head, but instead the various monsters released from its captivity.
  • Diabolu was the wizard that created the Idol-Head, not the object itself. That hunchbacked, loose toothed old fart only appeared in one story.

What Diabolu Represents:
The Idol-Head of Diabolu was basically a tool for completing the transition of the Manhunter from Mars into a purely cynical generic comic strip. House of Mystery was already a watered down and highly repetitive EC rip-off, but the Idol-Head was the engine to take it to its lowest level. At least in the anthology stories, bland characters were introduced to confront menaces with their own varied origins. Concurrently, Manhunter from Mars was basically Superman in a cop uniform, but at least that was a hook. Brought together every month, the Idol-Head would spit out some weird threat, and the sole purpose for the existence of Martian Manhunter and Zook was to stop the dangers and try to find their implausibly mobile source. It was the boiling down of a concept to its most purely formulaic core. No need for personalities, locations, casts of characters, any sign of development, etc. Instant, soulless product—just add water and repeat as desired. The Diabolu Idol-Head is so vapid, its greatest accomplishment is to stand as the strongest evidence against the perceived value of the Martian Manhunter on record.

  • The Idol-Head of Diabolu is to the Martian Manhunter as the Puzzle Box is to Hellraiser/Bottle City of Kandor is to Superman/Cosmic Cube is to Captain America/Random evil objects is to Friday the 13th: The Series
A MacGuffin. An object that is used to motivate certain types of stories.

In Closing:
The Idol-Head of Diabolu was a cheap tool to lure the Martian Manhunter into action, but it also effected some of the first and most devastating changes ever visited upon an established DC comic strip.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Action Comics Annual #3 (1991)

Clark Kent and Lois Lane aided Pete Ross in his campaign for President of the United States. While rescuing Ross from an assassin's bullets, Kent was publicly revealed to be Superman. The Man of Steel turned the event into an opportunity, eventually announcing his own candidacy for office. Superman of course won, and naturally became the greatest president of all time.

Sigh. And so, it eventually came to pass that in the new Messianic age, the Superman would call upon his metahuman subjects to aid in the gradual disarmament of the world's militaries. This chafed Guy Gardner severely (played per usual as a one-note kneejerk,) who objected to Superman's plan to "emasculate the American fighting man!" Martian Manhunter was present among the assemblage of U.S. heroes, and repeatedly tried to restrain the Green Lantern verbally. Gardner eventually struck Superman with an energy blast, prompting Flash to seize Guy while stating, "Let me handle him, J'Onn! I've wanted to put [him] in his place for a lo-o-ong time!" Flash's attack failed, as did a few others, until Superman rose up to handle the matter himself. The Martian Manhunter warned, "You heard him...let The President handle this!" The matter was resolved when Superman proved his superior willpower by resisting, then claiming, Gardner's ring. Green Lanterns John Stewart and Hal Jordan arrived, one to cart Gardner to an Oan prison, while the other offered Superman a Corps membership. Superman refused, happy with just his benevolent sovereignty over the Earth.

During the Armageddon 2001 event that played out across DC's 1991 summer annuals, a character from the future, Waverider, paid individual visits to Earth's heroes. One of our champions was to become a tyrant in Waverider's time, killing all the other heroes. Through his powers, Waverider could look into a potential future for each hero, to see if one led to the coming of Monarch. Alternately, it offered writers a chance to really get tacky with the glorified fan fiction. I mean, what's stopping Superman from bringing about this Utopic existence right now? When you think about it, stories that make this all look so easy also make the in-continuity Superman look considerably less than ideal.

Anyhow, I wrote this book up years ago, during the hiatus between the old Rock of the JLA site and the Idol-Head blog. I also discarded the stupid book in the interim, and without interior scans to match the blog's usual format, left it by the wayside for even more years. I figure I might as well dust some of these off, even if it means looking at just a stinkin' Superman cover every now and then. The guts of this trifle were by Roger Stern, Tom Grummett, and a bunch of inkers.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Martian Sightings for September, 2010

Written by J.T. KRUL
1:10 variant cover by PHILIP TAN
From the pages of BRIGHTEST DAY comes Martian Manhunter! His White Lantern vision has led him to the Emerald Archer’s mystical forest. Is he there to save it – or destroy it? Can Oliver stop his former ally?
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale SEPTEMBER 29 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
As little as I care to read anything by J.T. Krul, I'll be buying this. These characters have a weird relationship where Ollie (of all people) admires Martian Manhunter, while J'Onn (of all people) is somewhat dismissive of Green Arrow. I'm curious to see exactly how that will be screwed up here. Plus, that cover is boss, and book is still three bucks.
1:10 Variant covers by IVAN REIS
The resurrected have discovered their purpose for being back, but where will the knowledge lead them? Who is the new Aqualad? And what strange event is taking place around the White Power Battery in New Mexico?
Retailers please note: These issues will ship with two covers each. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
Issue #9 on sale SEPTEMBER 1
Issue #10 on sale SEPTEMBER 15
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Written by LEN WEIN
1:25 Variant cover by WALTER SIMONSON
Red Skies hang over the entire DC Universe as each and every hero on Earth gathers for what will be the first in a series of universe-spanning Crises!
Meanwhile, Walter Simonson helps us shift the focus from Earth to the heroes of outer space – and beyond!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale SEPTEMBER 15 • 5 of 10 • 40 pg, FC $3.99 US
Boy, Martian Manunter is sure prominent on that cover for a crossover in which his role was fairly minor.

In this latest deluxe edition HC collecting JLA #34 and 36-41, plus JLA CLASSIFIED #1-3, the team is up against a new, deadly Injustice Gang led by Lex Luthor. With Prometheus, the man who almost single-handedly defeated the JLA, as well as the General and Queen Bee, it looks as if the Justice League may lose even if they win.
This amazing new title also includes JLA: EARTH II, featuring the art of Frank Quitely, in which Ultraman, Owlman, Power Ring and Johnny Quick rule an alternate earth without mercy or opposition.
On sale November 10 • 368 pg, FC, 7.0625” x 10.875”, $34.99 US
The Martian Manhunter doesn't show up until halfway through, but it's one of the all-time great J'Onn J'Onzz moments when he does, as the Alien Atlas turns the tide of World War Three

Icons: The DC Comics & Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee [Hardcover]
One of the most successful and popular artists to work in comics, Jim Lee is revered by fans worldwide thanks to his hyper-dynamic artwork and innovative character and costume design.

Now, his work on Batman and Superman — not to mention his legion of WildStorm heroes including WildC.A.T.s, Divine Right and Deathblow — is celebrated in this beautiful hardback, which includes an exclusive interview with Jim Lee, a tour of his studio and hundreds of full-colour illustrations and pencils spanning his entire career!

Plus an all-new cover by Lee and an exclusive, all-new eight-page comic strip, written by Paul Levitz (Legion of Super-Heroes) with art by Lee!
# Hardcover: 296 pages
# Publisher: Titan Books (August 17, 2010)
I'm not a big fan of Lee's Martian Manhunter.

DC Super Heroes Ultimate Pop Up Book Deluxe Limited Edition
W/A) Matthew Reinhart Critically acclaimed pop-up engineer Matthew Reinhart celebrates the history, heroes, and villains of the DC Universe in this ultimate 3-D masterpiece! Bursting with over 25 impressive pop-ups, this deluxe format features a variety of unique novelty elements-including a light-up Bat-Signal, a cosmic Justice League of America battle scene, a twirling Lasso of Truth, and a transparent Invisible Jet! Starring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and many more favorite DC characters, this momentous pop-up exploration releases just in time for DC Comics' 75th Anniversary! Signed and numbered by Matthew, this stunning special edition also features a cloth slipcase and an exclusive extra pop-up, making it an absolute must-have for die-hard DC Super Hero fans of all ages! Limited to 250 copies worldwide!
MSRP: $250.00
Estimated to ship in Oct-2010
Um... no. Are you kidding? It's a pop-up book, not a hip, arty coffee table thing.

DC Comics: The 75th Anniversary Poster Book [Paperback]
Here are 100 of the most important, most incredible, and most bizarre comic-book covers from DC's incredible archives—all perforated and ready to display in your apartment, dorm room, or cubicle. From Action Comics #1 and Batman #1 to lesser-known heroes like Mister District Attorney, this oversized compilation features every major milestone in DC's extraordinary history: Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Watchmen, Fables, 100 Bullets, and much more.

On the reverse of each poster are images of related covers and entertaining commentary, often with remarks from the cover artists themselves. Complete with a foreword from longtime DC Comics veteran Paul Levitz, this amazing anthology is a must-have item for any comic-book fan.

208 pages/ Quirk Books (September 15, 2010)
$40.00 US

DC Adventures RPG Hero's Handbook: Super-Hero Roleplaying in the DC Universe [Hardcover]
Join the never-ending battle for truth and justice in the world's greatest super-hero universe, using the world's greatest super-hero roleplaying game! The DC Adventures Hero's Handbook is a complete super-hero RPG, based on the award-winning Mutants & Masterminds system. Take on the roles of legendary DC heroes like Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman, or create your own! Get started right away with a wide selection of hero archetypes, or build from scratch using a comprehensive creation system. The Hero's Handbook provides everything you need for hours of adventure in the DC Universe, including all the rules of the game, an overview of the original comic-book setting, and details on major heroes and villains, complete with game information. It's all presented in gorgeous full-color, with art by some of DC's most famous illustrators. Experience super-hero adventure in the world that defined the genre: Become a hero of legend with the DC Adventures Hero's Handbook!
On sale August 31, 2010 • 256 pages, $39.95 US

Miss Martian
Co-feature written by REX OGLE
Co-feature art by TED NAIFEH
The conclusion to “The Hunt for Raven” has arrived! The quest has ended, but what damage has it dealt to the Teen Titans? Who is left standing, and who is ready to walk away?
In the co-feature, the time has come for the Coven of Three to make their final choice: take the wishes they’ve earned and run – or save the world and lose everything forever!
On sale SEPTEMBER 29 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
This damned book just keeps on trucking, eh?

Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
Enter the new kid at Sidekick City Elementary – Kalibak! Will he fit in? Will he join the Titans in the treehouse or hang out with the Fearsome Five on the playground? And what would Kalibak’s father, Lunch Lady Darkseid, say about all of this?
On sale SEPTEMBER 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

The Vile Menagerie
Written by DAN JURGENS
The Time Masters have been coming up short in their search for Batman throughout the time stream, so Rip Hunter reluctantly turns to some experts on the subject…the Linear Men are back!
Don’t miss this companion series to the “Return of Bruce Wayne” storyline running in BATMAN!
On sale SEPTEMBER 29 • 3 of 6 • 32 pg, FC $3.99 US

Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by KEITH GIFFEN and others
The godlike Darkseid emerges in the 30th century with an ingenious plot to finally conquer the universe in this Deluxe Edition hardcover of Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen’s timeless Legion of Super-Heroes epic! Not only is THE GREAT DARKNESS SAGA collected here for the first time in hardcover, this edition also includes several LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES issues written by Levitz that have never before been collected in any format!
Using his faithful minions to acquire all of the mystic artifacts of the time, Darkseid gains mental control over a race of three billion all-powerful beings. Now, as their universe teeters on the edge of Armageddon, the Legion of Super-Heroes amass their own army of every champion who ever held the status of Legionnaire to stand against the Dark Lord and his invincible soldiers. But as the Legion suffers defeat after defeat, they realize that salvation and victory rest in the hands of a mysterious baby that has aged into adulthood before their very eyes!
This is the perfect edition of the classic Levitz storyline that was decades ahead of its time and still stands as one of DC’s most enthralling superhero tales! Collects LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #284-296 and ANNUAL #1.
On sale NOVEMBER 17 • 7.0625” x 10.875” • 416 pg, FC, $39.99 US

Gorilla Grodd
Co-feature written by NICK SPENCER
Co-feature art by R.B. SILVA
Lex Luthor is a pro at breaking man’s laws, but when he leads a raid on one of Gorilla Grodd’s bases and breaks The Law of the Jungle – “Don’t Mess with Grodd” – can he make it out alive? Or will he become Grodd’s latest meal?
Plus, this issue kicks off an exciting new co-feature starring Jimmy Olsen by up-and-comers Nick Spencer (Existence 3.0, Morning Glories) and R.B. Silva (SECRET SIX)! Get ready for an entirely different look at Metropolis – courtesy of Superman’s pal!
On sale SEPTEMBER 29 • 40 pg, FC $3.99 US

R.E.B.E.L.S #20
Written by TONY BEDARD
Lobo returns to his old teammates for the conclusion of “The Sons of Brainiac” arc! But can even the baddest bastich in the universe beat the brains and brawn of Brainiac? Will Lobo perform the first Brainiectomy – or will the Last Czarnian become just another of the villain’s lab subjects?
On sale SEPTEMBER 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saturninan Salutations: Klaus Janson

I was pretty rough on Klaus Janson's ink work over José Luis García-López's pencils for a JLA: Classified story arc a few months back, but I have a great deal of respect for his embellishments over artists like Gil Kane and Frank Miller during the Bronze Age of Comics. I thought it might be a treat to feature a short biography of the man in his own words, from November 1984's Jemm, Son of Saturn #3...

"I was born in Germany in 1952. Five years later, my parents and I emigrated to America and settled in Connecticut. During the first few weeks of my neighborhood explorations, I discovered a small store that sold comic books. It was through comics that I learned the English language (although it took a while before I realized that sound effects were not part of conversational English). I fell in love with comics then. I would spend hours reading them. Almost immediately, I started cutting panels and figures apart, repeating them into my own stories. (And very quickly after that, I started drawing comics, which, I think, was a good idea as far as my comic collection was concerned.)

"When I was sixteen, I wanted to see where and how comics were really made. I took the train to New York, and went to DC, assuming I could just wander in. Although tours had been discontinued, Jack Miller, one of the DC editors, took me around. I met many of my childhood heroes, including Dick Giordano. We discovered we lived in bordering towns and developed a small friendship. Eventually, I apprenticed with Dick, filling in blacks, erasing pages, inking backgrounds, and doing all those things apprentices do.

"After two summers of dragging my portfolio around, I finally landed a job at Marvel Comics, where I learned a great deal working with people like Gil Kane, Walt Simonson, Gene Colan, and Frank Miller.

"Earlier this year, when DC offered me the opportunity to ink Gene Colan's pencils for the JEMM, SON OF SATURN series, I was most eager to accept the job. It will be a pleasure to work with Gene again."

Colan was still doing great work at this time on his own with books shot directly from his colored pencils like Nathanial Dusk. On more mainstream work, Colan benefited mightily from a strong inker, and Janson worked magnificently in that respect. Janson was a master of zip-tones and dramatic lighting, tightening up areas where Colan might otherwise be a tad soft or vague. Janson lent the art on Jemm a gritty clarity that grounded the more sentimental and fantastic elements in grim reality, as suited the material. I couldn't imagine a better partnership on this series that Colan and Janson.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

1984 Jemm, Son of Saturn Full Page Ad

In 1982, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial was one of the biggest things on the Silver Screen and pop culture. It was the story of a white suburban boy and his loving siblings trying to hide a gentle telekinetic alien visitor from mom and ominous federal investigators. Things got a bit bleak and emotionally manipulative toward the end, but it was still fun for the whole family.

In 1984, Jemm, Son of Saturn was a DC Comics maxi-series which they probably really wished had been a mini-series. Capitol City Distribution was selling less than 7,000 copies of the later issues, which all told would mean it probably sold as bad or worse than a dismal modern comic. It was the story of a black kid from the slums (whose blind grandfather and smack selling brother had small roles) who is constantly imperiled by his fast friendship with a gentle telekinetic alien prince hunted by his own people and ominous Earthly agents. Things started bleak and went downhill from there, so that by the time the sickly male sex slaves were having their flesh flayed by the whips of their fetishistic sadist captors, you knew this DC Comic wasn't for kids. The tag line is almost a warning that there's a dollop of "A Boy and his Dog" mixed in with the maudlin drama. According to The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide, "In its favour, it's downbeat in unexpected areas, but it seems to go on forever... The plot... and storytelling... are very confused. You'd need a heart as big as a house to care a jot about any of the participants, and the last two pages should carry a health warning."

In the end, I liked Jemm. It reminds me in some ways of Martian Manhunter: American Secrets, but it accomplishes far less in twice the space. The story itself is very forgettable, especially through repetition. There are countless incidents of bondage and (often sexualized) torture, endless flashbacks, similar scenes played out with mild variations/character changes, and an awful lot of bums running around. Still, there's an unusual sweetness to Jemm, a reticence about his constant deadly conflicts, that is endearing. Individual moments and characters do leave an impression, and the relationship with Luther is unique-- at least to testosterone fueled comics.

I suppose I could use the series difficulty to explain why I announced a Summer of Saturn last year, got two issues and a lot of filler in, then dropped the whole shebang. I've tried for two Saturdays in a row to get cute with continuing the series synopsis on "Saturndays" to no avail, and honestly, I'm done apologizing for fallow weekends. So, expect a lot more Jemm material for a while, whenever and whatever I can get done, and hopefully we'll all be rewarded by the endeavor (if only to get it "off the books.") Jemm's a pretty swell character who has been badly mishandled lately, so now more than ever, I figure our world could use a little education in his. Besides, the sooner I get this mini-series covered, the sooner I can launch into the Ostrander/Mandrake series. Come to think of it, there's another reason for my progress to have been so slow...

Friday, June 11, 2010

"J’onn J’onzz’s greatest enemy?"

One of the key elements in BRIGHTEST DAY beyond returning characters like Aquaman and Martian Manhunter, is the introduction of entire new heroes, villains and worlds as well. Just as we’ve built a bigger universe of characters around Green Lantern with Atrocitus, Larfleeze and Indigo, we’re all busy at work turning our attention on adding heroes, villains and worlds within the rest of the DC Universe.

In the coming weeks in BRIGHTEST DAY, you’ll meet a new alien killer who will become J’onn J’onzz’s greatest enemy, a world where Hawkman and Hawkgirl will discover a great secret about their past, the mysterious and deadly Siren and a young hero who’s about to get world wide exposure this fall beyond comics – the all-new Aqualad.

When our YOUNG JUSTICE animated series for Cartoon Network was announced a few weeks ago (who ever thought we’d see an animated Miss Martian?! AW YEAH!) a lot of people asked who the new Aqualad was. And a lot of people thought they’d have to wait for the show to start. But you won’t...


Geoff Johns goes on about the new Aqualad, the Young Justice cartoon and more at The Source blog post I partially quoted above. I think it's great the I have a new bad guy coming up to add to the Vile Menagerie, but claims he'll be the "greatest" crack me up. Speaking as a former die hard Wonder Woman fan, I can recall how each creative team would announce their intention to create Diana's great new arch-enemy, only to see that character forgotten as soon as the next team came in. Any fans of Red Panzer, Dr. Cyber, the White Magician, Dark Angel, Devastation, Veronica Cale or Genocide out there? Meanwhile, I'm supposed to expect anyone to top Commander Blanx eradicating all life on Mars, Malefic killing every living Martian but J'Onn, or even Libra killing J'Onzz for a year or so there... Wait. Oh no. Is a third guy going to kill Mars? I'm not just talking about the reclamation effort J'Onn's been up to lately, but yet another retcon? I'm also unsure how to read "alien killer." Is this the pale creature who may or may not be a White Martian who killed "her" family in Brightest Day, or will there be some new (Earthling?) character who kills aliens? That second one would be metatextually topical, come to think of it. Well, it's all speculation at this point, but worth sharing, no?

Also worth sharing: my enjoyment of DC Bloodlines. I can't tell you how good it feels when a team blogger like Anj from Supergirl Comic Box Commentary gets excited by the opportunity to write about something else altogether, like My Love Affair With The Doom Patrol and How Keith Giffen Makes Me Smile. Instead of killing myself to write something on a weary Friday, I can just kick back and enjoy his work, or one of Tom Hartley's Justice League International Archive Editions, and so on. It's also nice to have a place to rant about Arsenal: The Rise of Villainy, or write a synopsis for lesser known guys I love like Steel or Captain Comet. Admittedly, arguably extraneous blogs like Bloodlines and Power of the Atom have hurt the quality of my work here in recent months. I'm sure there was a groan or two in the previous paragraph when I promised more slow coming Vile Menagerie material. It's tough and time consuming to build new blogs, and more so an audience for them, up from scratch. Still, I've been working behind the scenes to line all the blogs up to work symbiotically, and having great contributors helping out has been a blessing. What I'm saying is, if I'm having a slow week here at the Idol-Head, I'm doing my best, but you might follow up on any suspicions of hooky by checking out the effort going into these other blogs. Bloodlines in particular regularly links to a host of DC-related posts and news articles which are already helping the Idol-Head stay abreast of daily goings on ahead of the pack, and exposed to material I'd never find otherwise. Ultimately, I'm working toward better blogging across the board, and I remain open to contributions from readers like yourself, so give us a spin, won't you?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

2007 Justice League of America Babies at the hangout by Nick Bradshaw

Click to Enlarge

The Coneheadhunter made an appearance, of all places, at Amazon Princess today. In a post titled JLA Jr, the blog reposted an image alternately titled "JLA Babies" from another blog, which got it off a Tumblr feed, and from there the trail goes cold. I've been trying to hunt down the art credit on this thing for over an hour, and now I'm hopeful one of you fine folks out there can help out, as AP's Michael May would also like to know. It drives me nuts when an artist creates such a fine piece or work, only to have their efforts passed around the internet without attribution. There's a signature and date near the bottom right corner, but it's too small for me to make out (CB?) The year could just as easily be '09, but I'm guessing everyone had given up on the OYL design by the time of J'Onn J'Onzz's brief death. Actually, I'd like to know why J'Onn is the only Justice League of America member not in his classic form. Even Green Lantern Hal Jordan is in his one piece, and most folks seem to like him in the black leggings from Rebirth...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

2010 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 7 Fan Mock-Up Cover by Tom Hartley

Written by J. M. DeMatteis, Gerard Jones, Mark Verheiden and Keith Giffen; art by Mark Badger, Eduardo Barreto, Ken Steacy, Tim Gula and others; cover by Jerry Ordway and Ty Templeton
As the seventh hardcover edition in the impressive Martian Manhunter Archives collection, this masterpiece features the work of some of the finest contributors to the Sleuth from Outer Space's world. When the Martian deity of fire H'ronmeer appears on Earth, secrets spanning the Manhunter's history could stand revealed, if the "god" isn't just a manifestation of J'Onn J'Onzz's fracturing psyche. The answer to that question haunts the Martian Manhunter, as he debates whether he will continue as a hero. Then, flash back to John Jones' early detective career in the late 1950s, as the Manhunter confronts a global conspiracy. Reprints MARTIAN MANHUNTER (1988 mini-series) #1-4, MARTIAN MANHUNTER: AMERICAN SECRETS #1-3, SECRET ORIGINS #35 and material from JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL #3
  • Archive Editions
  • 288pg.
  • Color
  • Hardcover
  • $49.95 US
  • ISBN 156389740

Okay, Tom worked his usual magic, and I slapped together solicitation copy based on JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA ARCHIVES VOL. 7 and most especially WILL EISNER'S THE SPIRIT ARCHIVES VOL. 7. The air is getting pretty then at this volume, as Martian Manhunter has outstripped all of his contemporaries, and is now among the rarefied circles of Superman, Jack Cole Plastic Man, Eisner and DC's greatest teams (the JLA, JSA and the Legion.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Top 10 King Faraday Covers

I can't say I've had terribly much experience with King Faraday. I read the '90s Danger Trail mini-series and watched the pre-Bond super spy pop up from time to time in DC's espionage and (of all places) Titans books. Like a lot of people, it wasn't until Darwyn Cooke made Faraday a pivotal character in his much-heralded DC: The New Frontier prestige format mini-series, and created an important and heretofore nonexistent association with J'onn J'onzz, that Faraday blew up on my radar. Cooke's cold warrior was one of that book's finest characterizations, and the manner in which he related to an alien visitor during the xenophobic McCarthy era was delight. Unfortunately, little has been done to capitalize on Faraday's elevated visibility aside from a supporting role in the defunct Checkmate relaunch.

I wonder if Cooke knew that King Faraday had secured the name The House of Mystery via an ashcan edition dated December 1950/January 1951? The black and white throwaway produced for trademark/copyright purposes was thrown together from the cover to the previous month's Danger Trail and the interiors of Star Spangled Comics #109. The latter starred J'onn J'onzz co-creator Joe Samachson's Tomahawk; Captain Compass, a strip unseated from Detective Comics by John Jones; and a Manhunters Around The World feature. Given Robin the Boy Wonder shares a super-hero universe with the Martian Manhunter, Cooke tied the final character from that ashcan's source material to one of the House of Mystery's most famous residents...

10) Danger Trail #2 (May 1993)

King's face is all kinds of strained, and the skirt is just too much.

9) Danger Trail #3 (November-December 1950)

Detailed, but a bit stiff and blah.

8) Showcase #51 (July-August, 1964)

Falling through a skylight is dramatic, so I guess this is my Infantino prejudice shining through.

7) Danger Trail #4 (July, 1993)

In Like Flint? The goggles and super-villain elements go a bit overboard, and the random action elements feel like a retread of the first issue's cover.

6) Danger Trail #4 (January-February 1951)
I love the colors and the added threat of the grenade.

5) Showcase #50 (May-June, 1964)
Kinda askew, kinda neat.

4) Danger Trail #3 (July, 1993)
Those faces are pretty exaggerated, but the perspective and rappelling no-goodniks sell it.

3) Danger Trail #1 (July-August 1950)
Wonderful Hitchcockian suspense vibe here, and dig those shadows.

2) Danger Trail #2 (September-October 1950)

You really get a sense of drifting through the night sky toward intrigue and peril. The stupid chica peeking out of the corner really bugs me, though.

1) Danger Trail #1 (April, 1993)
Paul Gulacy's covers were the bait that hooked me as the interiors switched to rather poor Infantino art, but I still love them.

Check out more spotlight countdowns of great art from the past 75 years of DC Comics Covers at DC75: Top Character Covers of the Dodranscentennial

Monday, June 7, 2010

IGN's Top 7 Martian Manhunter Villains of All Time

Last year, the comics department of put together a list of their Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time. A number of J'Onn J'Onzz adversaries showed up, so I thought some direct links might be in order, as well as their individual rankings. I agree with IGN's rational for the post part, at least as it applies to where these here folk fall. Prometheus making it out of the bottom rungs is one of a number of unforgivable black eyes against the list as a whole...

96. Despero

84. Doctor Light

46. Doomsday

41. Mongul

36. Vandal Savage

35. Gorilla Grodd

6. Darkseid

Sunday, June 6, 2010

2010 DC "A Universe of Opportunities" Consumer Products Ad

Click To Enlarge

It kills me when I see old DC Comics '60s-80s memorabilia without the Martian Manhunter present, which is pretty near all of it. J'Onn J'Onzz got a little play thanks to the Super Powers Collection in the 1980s, and some random action in the '60s, but he really didn't get represented until the late '90s. I don't know about you, but nostalgia for Slobodan Milošević, Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace just hasn't quite kicked in yet. I do appreciate that art created for 70s/80s style guides has slowly started popping up on "weathered" pseudo-vintage t-shirts, but that's as fabricated as The Blair Witch Project.

Flash forward to the present, and SuperHeroHype has scans from the June 2010 Global License! Magazine featuring an ad soliciting licensors for DC Comics properties. Obviously, between current sales and a 2011 projected summer blockbuster movie, Green Lantern took the fore. More curiously, Superman and Batman played second fiddle. Downright queer is the prominence of Zatanna in the third roll, flanked by... the Manhunter from Mars?!?! What hath JLA, Justice League Unlimited and Smallville wrought? Growing up, Martian Manhunter was on the bottom tier of market recognized super-heroes, below Super Chief, Samurai and Black Vulcan, while just a smidgen above Golden Pharaoh and Cyclotron. Today, he's largely obscuring Wonder Woman!

Name brands Flash and the impressively current Aquaman are also quite visible, but things take a turn for the strange when Blue Devil and random villains start popping up. Still, it's a very attractive image, vaguely recalling numerous artists. J'Onn looks like Mike McKone's most recent style guide turnaround, but for all I know this was all one artist, referencing as needed.

My, the times they have a changed. That said, can we please get Nickelback off the radio already?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

2007 Martian Manhunter Sketch by Tom Hodges

Click To Enlarge

So the plan on Saturday was to offer the "Previously in Jemm..." temporary post, followed by a new story synopsis. Well, Saturday never happened, but I was productive on Sunday. However, an ongoing glitch at Blogger prevented me from posting or commenting on anything that day, on through to Monday morning. I got really frustrated when I saw other folks posting, but I guess those were previously scheduled, or maybe the problem was regional. I was comforted to find Snell was similarly afflicted.

Instead of writing story-related posts, I worked up cover countdowns (when Comicvine wasn't also glitching out) and linklists. Plus, tonight my imaging computer is on the fritz. I can't catch a break, I tell ya. Once again, we'll run some filler catch-up, and then start bringing the goods. I've been pretty lax here lately, so I promise to bring up my game.

Anywho, here's a pin-up by Tom Hodge, which kind of recalls Craig Rousseau, which is a good thing.

Friday, June 4, 2010

2010 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 3 PX Edition Table of Contents by Tom Hartley

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With my posting delay and the post-holiday Thursday arrival of comics, I didn't have time to point out that the Diamond Comics Distributors Previews Exclusive Edition of The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume Three had finally arrived. No one was more surprised than me that DC sold out of their first printing of this book, even with the ordering snafu that saw the book under-printed. Obviously, it was the awesomely infinitesimal sway of this blog that led to this revised edition, now with a reprint of the lead story from Detective Comics #306, the first appearance of Professor Arnold Hugo. Most likely, going back to press, DC wanted to hedge their bets by offering an additional reprint, perhaps in hopes of picking up some double dip dollars while delivering product to those who missed theirs in the first round. I'm a bit disappointed that there is no indication on the outer cover that this is a variation from the first printing other than the advisory sticker on the shrink wrap. However, I'm bowled over to finally get "The Wizard of a Thousand Menaces" on high grade paper stock with vibrant colors. It sure beats my yellow-brown original copy.

The reason for giving this printing its own post is actually under the cover. First, once you remove the recycled dust jacket, instead of the usual green foil Martian Manhunter "pie" symbol on the actual cover, it's done in gold (as is the text on the spine.) It seems to me like that would be more trouble than offering a new cover, but I guess it cuts down on confusion for those seeking this edition (well, not the collectors hot for a first printing.) The other change is a revised Table of Contents, not only listing the Hugo story, but replacing J'onn J'onzz with the Professor in the front page image. I think that's pretty darn swell, especially since it looks like Hugo is directing you to read the stories.