Monday, January 31, 2011

2010 J'onn Custom Stuffed Hero by Kayelyn of K-n-B-creations

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For a little dude with glowing red eyes, the Martian Manhunter sure looks chipper. Like me, I'm sure he's very pleased by the attention to detail on this custom doll. From the chin dimple to the pie belt symbol, J'Onn is ready to throw down with any Muppet or Beanie Baby that tries to pull his card/Ty Tag. You darned skippy that includes the Custom Firestorm Plush and Plush Aquaman, who seem to have a fair bit of yellow between them, anyway.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

1999 Justice League battle scene by Sheldon "Shelly" Moldoff

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"Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Batman, Hawkman, Atom and Martian Manhunter vrs Queen Bee, the Key, Kanjar Ro, Doctor Light and Amazo."

Arnie Grieves writes:

I commissioned this drawing in the fall of 1999 and provided the basic layout for Shelly by scanning the characters from my comic collection and putting them together using photoshop. This piece features seven Justice Leaguers battling five of their most dangerous foes. It was first published on page 72 of Alter Ego issue 40 (Sept 2004) but the credits mistakenly listed someone else as the owner. Michael Eury subsequently published it on page 76 of his Justice League Companion (July 2005), crediting the same incorrect owner.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Idle-Head of Diabolu, Vol. I

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For the longest time, I've been meaning to come up with a menu to collect all the ephemeral posts accumulated over the last three years that I don't have the good sense to treat as such. I've also wanted a forum to get credit for updates or menus in progress, because they cost a lot of time without much reward. In that vein, here's the Idle-Head of Diabolu, because Idle-Emissions sounds dirty and anti-ecological.

First off, above is the 1998 DC Direct Martian Manhunter Poster by Christopher Moeller that ran earlier this week, where I lamented the poor quality of the decade-plus old scan not doing the art justice. Shortly afterward, I received an email for the awesome Mr. Moeller containing a much larger and more detailed scan that Photobucket won't allow me to fully reproduce. I thanked him profusely, and noted that "it would be nice to see more comic work from you, period. I think JLA: A League of One was one of the finest Wonder Woman stories ever written, and one of the few I can hand to the uninitiated with confidence." I was lucky enough to see League in progress when Moeller showed off art from the project at the San Diego Comic Con years back. I'd also like to recommend Ruins, the twisted anti-Marvels mini-series with writer Warren Ellis. Moeller mentioned that he is currently working on a continuation of his Iron Empires epic, but in the meantime, I'd also recommend an earlier chapter from 1994, Shadow Empires: Faith Conquers. Curiously enough, I was already planning to cover another Moeller/Manhunter project here, and the artist made a remarkable contribution to that effort that will show up next week.

Now then, the main reason for this exercise, the start of a link list that should eventually build into a menu. All of these posts are from September-November of 2007:

Five Years Later...

This blog's first post, including a smidge of my personal biography, the history of my previous Martian Manhunter fan site, and the inspiration for creating and naming this blog.

The Rock of the JLA

Discussing the rationale for, afterlife of, and opening page introduction from my late '90s Martian Manhunter fan site.

Idol-Head in the House (of Mystery!)

An brief overview of the transition of the Manhunter from Mars strip from Detective Comics to House of Mystery, excerpted from my old fan site.

Five Reasons To Love the Manhunter from Mars

CBR/Comics Should Be Good's reader poll of the Top 50 (or so) characters at DC and Marvel Comics placed J'Onn J'Onzz at #11, but no fan "flavor text" had been added to his listing. I submitted such to compilation master Brian Cronin, and this was what he used...

1986 DC Comics Subscription Ad

Talkin' 'bout buyin' comics at the 7-11 in the 1980s.

Justice League Detroit

Another excerpt from the old site, where I offer a brief overview of the "new" League of 1984.

Inside? Outside? Upside-down?

Is you is or is you ain't with Batman? The Outsiders mercurial line-up of 2007.

MARTIAN MANHUNTER: The Motion Picture Part 1 (2000)

This one belongs in "Fantatical Fictions," but I don't have a menu for that yet, and with the launch of the "Middletown TV show," I though this might be a nice counterbalance in production values.

MARTIAN MANHUNTER: The Motion Picture, Part 2 (2000)

Villains and special appearances.

Frank, J'Onn, and Ray

A rare partial appearance by me in photograph.

Black Friday

A stylized photo of the Martian Manhunter maquette by my friend Dave, which also belongs in a fan art section.

The Quotable Martian...

A section from the old site that I never really revived here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wizard: The Comics Magazine #136: Ultimate DC JLA (January, 2003)

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When Marvel Comics' darker, more general audiences friendly Ultimate line hit it big, everyone was wondering how DC Comics would address the possibilities it opened up. Never mind that DC essentially "Ultimatized" their line twenty years earlier after Crisis On Infinite Earths, but Wizard Magazine felt the universe need a lot more unnecessary Bryan Hitch-style padding/piping on their heroes' costumes...

THE ORIGIN: Clark Kent—Superman—awakes with a start. Standing before him is the ghostly image of a shriveled, alien-looking creature. "He is coming," the apparition states before dissipating in the breeze. "He is coming."

The same strange visitation replays itself to John Stewart as he foils a bank robbery. To Bruce Wayne as he rides an elevator in WayneTech, to Barry Allen, and Wonder Woman, all of them telepathically warned by J'onn J'onzz, the last survivor of the planet Mars (shown bottom right). The same great evil that destroyed Mars is coming to Earth, and this Martian hunts men for a super-league capable of defeating it.

THE CHARACTERS: The Dark Knight, the Man of Steel, the Amazon, the Emerald Gladiator and the Fastest Man Alive come together as the JLA when J'onzz pleads to them for help against an evil no one hero can defeat "Mars burned for 200 years after he came," J'onzz says. "Everyone died. Everyone but me."

The supporting cast section mostly applied to the Atom, but it was also acknowledged that J'onzz would act "as the team's intelligence gatherer, telepathic link and resident technology guru." Heaven forbid that he remain a proactive member when he could be E.T. meets Professor X.

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THE FIRST ARC: "After he destroyed Mars, he came to Earth," laments J'ozz to the newly formed League. "But there was nothing to conquer. He killed the dominant species—your dinosaurs—and marked your Earth as a viable future world to subjugate. His.. .no, its name is Despero, the immortal leader of his warlike race. He comes alone, conquers by his own hand and proves his status of God to his people. I have felt his mind. He is coming."

As the team races to learn everything they can about Despero and the Martian/human technology of the JLA's Manhattan HQ, Despero crashes to Earth in a fiery ball of death. Towering over seven feet tall, the alien wreaks havoc through the U.N., brutally killing every delegate inside and donning the UN's flag as a symbol of his power. His next step is to murder the U.S. president, as Despero cuts a path of destruction through all U.S. resistance. Eventually catching up to him, the hastily assembled Justice League face the would-be conqueror as their first mission...and their first failure. Even though they eventually defeat Despero, they may soon have to contend with an entire race of Desperos; having retreated behind Saturn, the rudderless army gives pause to ponder what to do with the one planet that's managed to defeat their god.

THE BIG PICTURE: A few storyarcs in, Superman decides the League members need to know more about each other to work better as a team. As the members reveal their secret IDs and powers, the spotlight falls on a reluctant Batman, setting the stage as the untrusting Dark Knight turns his back on the League...and then systematically defeats them all, just in time for a new villain called The Key to unlock the gates of Hell!

I don't mind the changes to Despero, although it does sort of weaken him as a unique character, unless all the other "Desperos" are more like the Silver Age model. By the way, when exactly did Despero go from a mutant on a race of green-haired humans to an average Kalanorian with an extra telepathic eye? That's been bugging me for years.

Ultimate DC Day continues here...
Ultimate Atom @ Power of the Atom
Ultimate Batman and Aquaman
Ultimate Wonder Woman @ Diana Prince
Ultimate Green Lantern, Flash, and Superman @ DC Bloodlines

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Middletown Season 1, Episode 1: "Pilot"

In Metropolis, at their secret headquarters, a meeting of the newly christened Justice League appears to commence. However, Clark Kent (Tom Welling,) Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley,) Dinah Lance (Alaina Huffman,) Arthur Curry (Alan Ritchson,) and John Jones (Phil Morris) are in a trance state. They speak a continuous oath, first in turns, then in unison, swearing their allegiance to the unseen Despero (Andrew Robinson.) The camera finally pans in for a close-up on a grim, blank-eyed Manhunter from Mars.

Fifteen year old CeCe (Raquel Castro) wakes from the nightmare after spending the night on a park bench. In her shock and disorientation, CeCe shrieks as violent reds, greens and purples swirl over her skin. The brief commotion draws the attention of a police officer patrolling the park, so CeCe makes herself scarce.

Cut to the waiting room outside the human resources department of an office building. CeCe notices one of the drones eying her warily. She approaches a receptionist, and asks how long it usually takes to schedule a job interview. CeCe is gruffly dismissed, and excuses herself to the bathroom. She washes her face with soap from a dispenser, looking rather pitiful, then dries with a paper towel. As she exits, she spots the woman meant to interview her with a police officer at the receptionist’s desk, and realizes someone must have called her in as a runaway. CeCe sneaks out of the building down the emergency stairs.

Raquel Castro as CeCe

CeCe waits at a booth in a Big Belly Burger until the manager returns to sit across from her with a sack lunch and her job application. He offers the meal to the girl, then explains that she’s clearly too young to be on her own, and his attempts to confirm her references went nowhere. The manager asks CeCe about her family, whether she was a runaway, and explains that he intends to call Metropolis Health & Human Services to help her out. CeCe starts making her way toward the door, as the manager pleads with her to at least let someone drive her to a shelter, but she bolts.

CeCe ends up sitting on a stoop, crying her eyes out. A group of well-dressed plastic girls walks by, snickering at her raggedy clothes and laughing that they’d be crying too if they looked like that. The girls continue to prattle on as they walk along the sidewalk, unaware that an unseen force is extracting the wallets from their purses as they wait for a crosswalk signal. As they continued on, CeCe is seen ducking into an alley, examining her spoils.

Exterior shot of a Middletown Police Department station. Interior of the office of Captain Harding (Larry Drake,) as a knock comes on his door. Enter homicide Detective Diane Meade (Victoria Pratt,) complaining about her new partner, John Jones. In the three months they had been working together, Meade had learned virtually nothing about Jones, noted his constant unexplained absences, and felt excluded from their investigations. Harding champions Jones’ record with the Metropolis Police Force, offers his already impressive performance with Middletown P.D., and asks that Meade give the situation a little more time. Meade snarls that Jones still wasn’t back from his weekend trip to Metropolis, and that at least with him gone, she might get to be a cop again.

Victoria Pratt as Detective Diane Meade

CeCe hits the department stores, buying all sort of lavish apparel. She then goes out to dine at a fancy restaurant, but a mean-spirited waiter makes rude comments about how clothes and perfume were no substitute for bathing and grooming. CeCe orders the most expensive dishes on the menu, then disappears before the check comes.

In Middletown, Meade knocks on John Jones’ apartment door. When no one answers, she uses lock-picking tools to let herself in. Meade is unnerved when she finds the apartment covered in newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and specialty journal pieces related to the wealth of phenomena to be found in the bent berg of Middletown. Almost as disconcerting is the fact that Jones has almost no personal effects in the apartment, and his pantry is filled with nothing but Chocos sandwich cookies.

Bart Allen (Kyle Gallner) wakes from the same dream that CeCe experienced. As Impulse, the young hero races with super-speed to the Justice League meeting room. Impulse tries to rouse the members of the team, but most (specifically Aquaman, Black Canary and Green Arrow) turn on the kid. As Bart struggles against their grip, Despero’s voice is heard from off-screen, and a partial view of the villain is allowed. As Despero continues, Impulse’s resistance fades, and he begins to speak in unison with the alien.

CeCe checks into a hotel with the credit cards stolen from the plastic witch she most closely resembled. She takes a shower, and relishes sleeping in a nice bed. In her dreams, CeCe sees visions of green-skinned aliens on another planet, assessing the situation following a coup d'état. The bald one with a pronounced brow is identified as the Manhunter from Mars, last survivor of that world turned intergalactic bounty hunter. The Manhunter meets with Sarana (Alice Greczyn), the daughter of the orchestrator of the rebellion, who escorts him to her father, Jasonar (Ethan Phillips). Both are natives of  Kalanor, and much more human in appearance. The Manhunter has been enlisted to track down the former dictator, the purple-skinned mutant Despero, who had managed to escape the planet for parts unknown. Jones plead out, having already helped to overthrow Despero. Jones was now compelled to finish some business on Earth, where he had promised to look after a friend's son, and deal with some old enemies from his days working with Jor-El of Krypton.

Alice Greczyn as Saranna

There’s a loud knock at CeCe’s hotel room door. The police would like the girl to open up, and when she doesn’t, they let themselves in. The cops find a closet full of clothes and an unmade bed, but no one actually inside. The hotel’s manager speaks with the officers, advising them to visit the building’s security office to review camera footage in order to determine their wanted person’s whereabouts. The manager stays in the room after the police depart, and asks the “little gypsy” to come out.

CeCe recognizes the manager from her dream as Saranna, although she now appeared fully human. Regardless, CeCe remains out of sight. Saranna explains that she knows about the gypsy’s chameleon powers, but that they would not protect her from the elements should she try to escape in her night gown. Saranna asks that the gypsy hear her out, and then she would allow her to leave with her clothes. Saranna explains that the alien despot that CeCe had been dreaming about had come to Earth for conquest and revenge. Despero had already captured the minds of our world’s most powerful heroes, and any who directly opposed him would likely fall victim to his mental control. John Jones was able to partially resist, thanks to his telepathic abilities, and had attempted to psychically contact individuals who could help with their plight. One such soul had rushed in where stealth was needed— the kind of care gypsies are better suited for. Saranna was interrupted by a police officer, who excitedly explained that cameras had picked up bizarre footage of suitcases in the lobby opening up spontaneously, and clothes disappearing.

CeCe was barefoot on the street in a hideous green and white dress she’d grabbed on her way out of the hotel. All of the money she had was back in "her" rooml, so she would have to scrounge up some more. She found herself a decent looking stoop to sleep on for the night.

The next morning, CeCe was back in the department stores, but her gaudy outfit was attracting the wrong kind of attention. Mall cops were no problem, but when real ones started shooting at her inside the store, CeCe didn’t know what to think but “run.” She made it out of the building empty-handed, but while skulking around invisibly, began to notice that there was a much stronger police presence throughout the city.

In Middletown, Detective Meade and company watched news reports of the mayor of Metropolis announcing martial law in the wake of his police department discovering terrorist cells throughout the city. Evidence suggested that there were more such cells in every major city in the country, with the mayor offering assistance to other authorities in the matter. Captain Harding points out to Meade that Detective Jones had a pretty good excuse for running late all of the sudden.

Larry Drake as Captain Harding

CeCe is grabbed from behind and pulled into an alley. As she turned invisible and struggled for release, Victor Stone (Lee Thompson Young) covered her mouth and explained that he was here to help her. CeCe tried to escape when Stone first released her, but his cybernetic eye was able to trace her heat signature and recapture her. CeCe refused to give up her name, referring to herself simply as "Gypsy," but she agreed to go with Victor to an abandoned nightclub. There, Gypsy was reintroduced to Saranna and her father. Jasonar explains that Despero’s influence was already spreading, and that there would soon be no place for Gypsy to run away to. The two Kalanorians were immune to Despero’s mental powers, while Victor’s cyborg brain offered him partial protection, and Despero could not affect the minds of anyone he couldn’t see. Gypsy replied that she could take care of herself, but wasn’t prepared to take on an alien dictator. Jasonar couldn’t risk another super-powered individual falling under Despero’s control, so he told her to hide out at the club for the rest of the day. If his group wasn’t back by nightfall, Gypsy would truly be on her own.

Cyborg takes point, connecting to city computers to control traffic lights, bridges and such to restrict traffic around the Justice League’s headquarters. Stone then leads the rush into the building, while the armed Jasonar and Saranna spilt up to search the building. Saranna trades fire with Green Arrow, the distraction allowing Black Canary to take out the intruder. Jasonar is initially faced with Aquaman, but John Jones comes to his rescue. It seems the strain of controlling so many minds had taken its toll of Despero’s psychic grip, freeing the Manhunter to join the offensive. Cyborg manages to knock out Green Arrow, but the combined power of a sonic Canary Cry and Impulse’s super-speed blows brings Victor low. The Manhunter is seized by Clark Kent, while Impulse rushes Jasonar into a seat before Despero.

Ethan Phillips as Jasonar

The despot is pleased to finally confront the men responsible for deposing him on Kalanor, and begins plotting the tortures in store for them. However, Despero is struck by a ray gun blast from out of nowhere-- literally. The pain proves too great a distraction for Despero to maintain his mental control, and he suddenly finds himself surrounded by a rather perturbed Justice League in full command of their faculties...

Jasonar and Saranna board their spaceship bound for Kalinor, the greatest criminal in that world’s history secured in lock-up. Jasonar expresses his gratitude to the League for finally seeing justice done, and then the aliens depart. The Leaguers thank John Jones and Victor Stone for liberating the rest of the team, while Bart Allen expresses regret over rushing into the situation foolishly. Clark takes John aside and asks him about his move to Middletown. Jones explains that like Smallville and Metropolis, Middletown has proven to be a magnet for unexplained phenomena that has not been properly studied, or as needed confronted, in the absence of its own Superman. Clark wishes John the best, and once everyone else appears to leave, John calls out to Victor to confirm where in the room Gypsy is hiding.

The girl reveals herself, and is applauded as the unsung hero of the day. Cindy isn’t feeling it, as her first inclination was to flee, until curiosity simply got the better of her, so she tailed Jasonar’s team. John explains that what was important was that she had stepped up to the challenge, then asks about her past and future plans. CeCe continues to offer “Gypsy” as her only name, refusing to discuss her history, and figuring jail was her fate if she stayed in Metropolis. John offers Gypsy a safe place to stay in Middletown until she can come up with a better course, and she agrees. John asks Victor to keep Gypsy’s participation in the affair a secret for the time being, and the trio exit the headquarters to face a new day.

I didn’t much care for this premature "pilot." The show’s called “Middletown,” but the whole damned episode seems to take place in Metropolis. John Jones has had more face time in Smallville guest spots than here, and what was with Diane Meade’s disappearing act? It seems like the episode spent so much time making Gypsy sympathetic and excusing her later actions, there wasn’t enough of her trademark sarcasm. Most of all, I was really looking forward to Despero and some Justice League action, but they took up comparatively little of this cheap ass show. Probably best, as the make-up job on Andrew Robinson was pretty lousy. Of course they had to radically redesign Despero's fins, but all they accomplished was obstructing Robinson's swell performance. I really hope things pick up next episode, or I may not keep watching.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Justice #9 (February, 2007)

J'Onn J'Onzz stood with his fellow heroes as they worked out their counter-offensive against the Legion of Doom.

The questioning of the captured Captain Cold led Wonder Woman, Red Tornado, Captain Marvel, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Zatanna and Green Arrow to the secret location from which Gorilla Grodd worked his machinations. "And so they come... Do you think we are not prepared? The Super-Gorilla was hovering upon a hard light construct. and generated a yellow force field. Green Lantern recognized a Weaponers' Ring on Grodd's toe as the type wielded by Sinestro. "Whoever said there was only one? Sinestro? And you believed him?" Grodd launched a stout attack against the collected heroes, but he was betrayed from within, as a gaseous Metamorpho had violated his airway. However, Sinestro burst through the ceiling with a claw construct and absconded with the Super-Gorilla. "I told you, I don't face them. There was to be no physical contact, apart from the Martian." Metamorpho had managed to hold onto Grodd's power ring, though.

As with the rest of the Justice League, the Manhunter from Mars donned a suit of armor meant to protect himself from the mind-controlling parasites which Brainiac had unleashed upon the Earth. The heroic militia then flew to meet their adversaries.

"Chapter Nine" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.

Continue the story through these character-specific posts:

Monday, January 24, 2011

1998 DC Direct Martian Manhunter Poster by Christopher Moeller

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I've been reading comics for so long, I sometimes forget that my frame of reference is not always in line with folks who might be following this blog. For instance, after JLA blew up in 1997, there was an avalanche of tie-ins, merchandise, and internet sites to cover it all. When I started Martian Manhunter: The Rock of the JLA at the end of that decade, I was practically a Johnny-Come-Lately to the game, like the third or so web page devoted to the character. Like those Don Hillsman III images from JLA Secret Files and Origins #1, Christopher Moeller's art for what was possibly the first ever Martian Manhunter consumer poster was all over the place. I lent my copy of the poster to my friend Dave so he could scan it for me to post, but after it was all said and done, I never got around to putting it up before closing the site in 2002.

Over a decade later, and I can't find the thing anywhere on the internet. I hit eBay, Google and Yahoo image searches, all my usual reference pages, Mykey3000's JLA Collectibles list... nothing. I used to be able to dig up ancient solicitation copy at Rob Allstetter's Comics Continuum, but couldn't find anything that far back. Makes me wish I hadn't tossed out all my '90s Advance Comics and Previews, years gone. Even a guy who apparently owns the original painting wasn't aware the poster had ever been released. Jeez, it was only... um... thirteen years ago? Sheesh, I'm getting old. I'm guessing it retailed for something like $4.95-$6.95.

I dug through my old CD-R files and found Dave's scan, and it's great for its age, but does not do the painting justice. You can't shrink a 22" x 34" poster into a pasted together 67.5 kilobit JPEG and not lose a lot. When I get the thing in a proper frame, I'll try to get a good picture of it for ya'll. I jazzed up the old scan as best as possible, but this will have to do for now. I also did a brand new scan (still in an el cheapo oversized plastic frame) of as much of the poster as I could fit.

UPDATE: Shortly after this post was published, I received an email for the awesome Mr. Moeller containing a much larger and more detailed scan that Photobucket won't allow me to fully reproduce. I thanked him profusely, and noted that "it would be nice to see more comic work from you, period. I think JLA: A League of One was one of the finest Wonder Woman stories ever written, and one of the few I can hand to the uninitiated with confidence." I was lucky enough to see League in progress when Moeller showed off art from the project at the San Diego Comic Con years back. I'd also like to recommend Ruins, the twisted anti-Marvels mini-series with writer Warren Ellis. Moeller mentioned that he is currently working on a continuation of his Iron Empires epic, but in the meantime, I'd also recommend an earlier chapter from 1994, Shadow Empires: Faith Conquers.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2010 "Manhunter from Mars" by ~joseph

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I love this piece. The darkness, the desolation and the sense of sorrow here feel unique to J'Onn J'Onzz, and I like how the colorful costume of a super-hero clashes with his being and surroundings. You can't plug anyone else in and have this work, and working beautifully is what this does.

~joseph also offers an insightful look at Power Girl, so check it out.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Martian Sightings for April, 2011

Cover #23 by GARY FRANK
Cover #24 by DAVID FINCH
1:10 Variant Covers by IVAN REIS
It’s the beginning of the end as we head toward the epic conclusion to BRIGHTEST DAY! The mystery of the heroes’ return and the secrets of the white forest are revealed! Plus, Captain Boomerang draws closer to completing his mission! And at last, it’s Firestorm vs. Deadman!
And in the extra-sized issue #24, a new age for the DC Universe begins! A long shadow is cast across the world in a a finale that will have everyone talking! Twelve heroes and villains were resurrected, but that doesn’t mean it will remain that way as the new champion of Earth is chosen!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
#23 on sale APRIL 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED T
#24 on sale APRIL 20 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US, RATED T
Spin-off series before or after Flashpoint?

Collecting JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #31-35 and JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE #7-11! The two teams team up to face the threat of - vampires in the Balkans?
On sale MAY 25 • 240 pg, FC, $24.99 US
Some of the most mediocre issues of the runs! Whoo-bleh. Oh, do shut up about Kooey-Kooey-Kooey. It wasn't that good.

Art and cover by RICK BURCHETT & DAN DAVIS
It’s a battle of wits when the Martian Manhunter challenges Batman to penetrate his baffling array of shape-shifting disguises. But when the game goes awry, can even the two heroes defeat the most unexpected menace of all?
On sale APRIL 13 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED E
Even with lame ass Clayface, I'll probably buy this.

Covers by ED BENES
In issue #5 of this twice-monthly epic, Brainiac’s attack on the JLA Watchtower is met with fierce resistance — but the tide turns when he reveals his true goal! And in the bleak, blasted future, Lex Luthor reveals his own plan for killing Brainiac . . . but at what cost to his “allies”?
And in issue #6, Luthor and his ragged team of future survivors take the fight to Brainiac in a final, desperate attempt to stop his invasion of Earth — but will it be enough? Back in the present day, a catastrophe takes place that will forever change the face of the DCU!
Issue #5 on sale APRIL 6
Issue #6 on sale APRIL 20
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED T
I hope Martian Manhunter shows up to get drawn by Mike S. Miller again. I always liked that guy's work.

Miss Martian
Art and cover by MIKE NORTON
Robin’s a bit jealous of Superboy’s abilities. But when they have to rescue the inhabitants of a burning building, The Boy Wonder might learn that one doesn’t need super powers to be a true Super Hero.
On sale APRIL 20 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED E
Is this chick ever going to make the cover?
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
What happens when you mix red clothes and white clothes in the wash? You end up with pink undies, right? The same thing happens when someone washes the Tiny Titans costumes with Superman’s red cape! Superman, Alfred, a gaggle of Tiny Titans and Lois Lane are going to have something new and oh-so-pretty in common this month!
On sale APRIL 20 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED E
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
In this new collection from T.T. #26-32, Supergirl toddler-sits the tinier Tiny Titans. Then, the gang heads to the Fortress of Solitude for a super birthday party — which is crashed by a crew of Braniacs.
On sale MAY 4 • 160 pg, FC, $12.99 US, RATED E

Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 Superman's Dark Secret: An Unaired Episode of Super Friends

Idol-Head mathematicscore shot me a link to this wrongly funny cartoon from Team Tiger Awesome, hosted at I strongly recommend you visit the site, as the widescreen video is much too dinky in this embed to be enjoyed. The Martian Manhunter has a one line cameo, but he's current, and all the dirty words are bleeped out. Still, the subject matter is a bit touchy, so this may be somewhat work unsafe.

For the faint of heart, the 2:44 video reveals that Superman is in fact a deeply racist birther who refuses to save President Obama from the Legion of Doom. Black Lightning, Wonder Woman, and Batman argue with the Teapartier of Steel...

Wonder Woman (whispering): "You're an alien."
Superman: "Krypton didn't have black people."
Batman: "What about the Martian Manhunter?"
J'Onn, flexing his chest muscles while smoking in a corner: "S'up?"
Batman: "Do you not like him because he's green?"
Superman: "Green Martian are like the white people of Mars."
Wonder Woman: "What about the White Martians?"
Superman: "They're like the Asians."
Wonder Woman: "Wow."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2010 "Manhunter" by Ajay Naran

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While hunting for references for the fake "Middletown" TV show online, I stumbled upon the blog of a gifted CGI illustrator/animator named Ajay Naran. The artist has a modest sized gallery of finished art, so I was especially surprised to find one of those pieces was this incredibly detailed rendering of a real life Martian Manhunter. I haven't been impressed with the "untooned" fad of transplanting cartoon characters into sickeningly "lifelike" form, but this is an exceptional piece that elevates that particular game. It doesn't hurt that he a) folds the collar how I like and b) comes up with an ornate new MM symbol that shames the rather pathetic attempts made by DC over the past decade. It even manages to evoke the classic (if generic) belt buckle pie, MMs, and chest straps, the JLU star. Very impressive, no?

The Martian Manhunter a big green dude from the DCU and like most aliens in the DCU he has a tragic past in that he's the last of the Martian race. Brought to Earth displaced from space and time Jonn jones as he's otherwise know as, he used his extraordinary abilities as the Martian Manhunter, and was a faithful member of every incarnation of the Justice League. This was a great project to work on, done mostly using Zbrush from a simple base mesh and I did the textures with a mix of photoshop and Zbrush too.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CW to continue 'Smallville' in spinoff 'Middletown' series

Another DC Comics superhero is on his way to primetime, and he's a familiar face. With the impending end of "Smallville" following the upcoming 10th season, speculation has mounted that the CW would mine the vaults of DC's vast character library for a potential replacement. And apparently, that's exactly what the network is doing.

The CW will continue to build on the framework of the long lived "Smallville" with a new spinoff series, "Middletown." The writing/producing team that started it all, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, are on board for the new enterprise.

Phil Morris will continue his role from "Smallville" as John Jones, a Martian with super powers who secretly works for the police department as a homicide detective. The character will transfer from Metropolis to the edgier city Middletown, the beat of the character from the comic books. Jones will act as the mentor to a teenage girl runaway with special abilities called Gypsy. Morris is best known for his role as Jackie Chiles on Seinfeld, but has previously appeared on "Melrose Place," "Love Boat: The Next Wave," and the 1980s revival of "Mission: Impossible."

The project has been in the works since 2009, and there were plans to shoot additional footage for "Middletown" during the filming of the "Absolute Justice" telefilm which were eventually scuttled. Actresses in talks for the role of Gypsy have included Cassie Steele and Francia Raisa, but the network has since decided to cast a teenage unknown who can grow with the role. As previously reported, veteran character actor Andrew Robinson has been cast as Despero, an extraterrestrial tyrant.

In DC Comics mythology, John Jones -- created by Joseph Samachson and Joe Certa -- is called the Martian Manhunter. The intergalactic bounty hunter has most of the same powers as Superman, as well as telepathy, shapeshifting and invisibility. However, instead of kryptonite, flames can take away his abilities. Also like Superman, John Jones is the last living Martian, while the rest died under mysterious circumstances. Gypsy -- created by Gerry Conway and Chuck Patton -- can also turn invisible, as well as cast illusions.

“Martian Manhunter, to me - it's weird to say this - but he's one of the most humane of all the DC Universe characters," confided Morris. "Odd that he's from Mars, but he has such a great sense of compassion, such a great sense of humanity. So yeah, I'm a big fan of Martian Manhunter.”

Morris continued, “I think the [Smallville] writers in their infinite wisdom cast him as African-American because he really is a man on an island, as is Kal-El/Clark Kent. That’s their one relating point is that they are both the last of their race stuck on another planet with these crazy humans. They have more humanity in either one of them than all of these humans put together; it’s really ironic. That they have created John Jones to be an African-American is brilliant to me, because as an African-American I use that as my motivation... I can play that for the next ten years, frankly, and that’s what makes this show so heartfelt.”

Warner Brothers has had poor luck in attempting to capitalize on the success of "Smallville," with "Birds of Prey" lasting only one season, and "Global Frequency" never moving past the pilot stage. After failed attempts at Robin ("The Graysons") and Aquaman ("Mercy Reef") series, the CW has hedged its bets with two DC Comics TV adaptations for fall. "Middletown" will be joined by "Raven", about a goth superheroine who is the daughter of a demon. "Raven" will stand on its own, while "Middletown" is a direct continuation of "Smallville." A "Blue Beetle" series is also in development, while Fox's "Human Target" is another show based on a DC title.

All of the above is of course a total fiction, culled largely from the following articles:

Still, I can dream, and you can too, actually. I'll be offering up (hopefully) brief episode synopsizes for the alternate universe Martian Manhunter TV series "Middletown," in part for kicks, and in part because I want to make damned sure people learn and remember what Middletown means to Detective John Jones. I've already got the pilot episode and key casting in mind, but what I'd really love to do is act as a "showrunner" for any readers who would like to pitch me fan fiction episodes. Drop me a line at if you're interested in contributing, or feel free to offer suggestions in the comments.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2007 Alfajor Maxi Max Cookies DC Super Heroes Cartas De Poder: Martian Manhunter "Energía"

"Energía" should be pretty self explanatory, but just in case, it's "energy" in this card's native Portuguese, as well as Spanish. Sans the accent, it's the same in Russian, and they named a rocket used to lift their space shuttles just that.

"Energía" is also the title of the third gaming card from this series I've found, although I stole this image off eBay, rather than buying it as I did "Poder" and "Lucha". It's a shame too, because I have negative associations with the Tom Mandrake art on mine, but I love this Christopher Moeller painting, and own the poster it was originally created to sell. I really ought to just dig out the two Moeller projects featuring Martian Manhunter I own and cover them here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bill Smith

In 1963, while helping out with the investigation of arson at a "colored" church in Wilmington, Alabama, Detective John Jones was stymied by bigoted police officers and fearful black residents. To make headway, J'Onn J'Onzz took on the African-American identity of Bill Smith, and met with the family of Mary Lou Wilson, a six-year-old girl who had died from burns in the fire. "Smith" explained that he had also lost a daughter, and learned that the Reverend Delroy was organizing a non-violent demonstration to call attention to the injustice they faced. Later, J'Onzz resumed his John Jones persona, only to find much resistance from even those he considered friends to right the inequities and halt the threat of violence that hovered over the black citizens of Wilmington. Unable to force a decisive change from without, J'Onzz once more became Bill Smith, and allowed himself to feel the pain of protesters he walked amongst as they were battered by local authorities.

First Appearance: Justice League Quarterly #11 (Summer, 1993)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2010 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Despero Temporary Tattoos

Here's another exhibit of why Martian Manhunter and Despero belong together as superman and archfiend: animated Despero can't have a Silver Age, either. He may not be rocking a finhawk like it's 1985, but from the barbaric baring of flesh to the steroidal bod to the bad attitude, that's a fairly modern Despero for such a retro show. I'm not really complaining though, in part because my non-TV watching self will be speaking from ignorance until I get the DVD hook-up, and partly because I approve of what I've seen of this edition. Aside from working the classic fan fin, B:TBATB-D seems reminiscent of my favorite incarnation, the immediately post-rebirth version from the mid-80s. Also, I love that freakin' badge they came up with for this set. I'd have flipped it for the fan-fin-effect, because I'm cheeky like that, but it's still great!

Our pal the Irredeemable Shag of Once Upon a Geek offered these scans and more, so check out his comprehensive first post, and if you're so inclined, partake of character spotlights on some of my other blogs. Also, I've got additional stickers in there, and we all love stickers, right?

Firestorm & Company Temporary Tattoos @Firestorm Fan
The Atom (Ryan Choi) @Power of the Atom
2009 Sandylion Batman: The Brave and the Bold Sticker Bits @Justice League Detroit

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Transconsciousness Articulator

The Transconsciousness Articulator is a Martian device which can read the mind of a subject and generate a virtual reality so convincing that it can fool the heightened senses of Superman. It has been described as forcing the subject's conscious mind into the realm of their subconscious.

A subject is placed in an isolating chamber while wearing a black wetsuit with various attachments. The chamber fills with a clear liquid, and the subject is induced into a state somewhat like REM sleep, but of indefinite length and elevated impact on the subject. In fact, the device is meant to be used only with the guiding oversight of an experienced telepath, and can endanger the subject if used without such supervision.

First Appearance: JLA #83 (September, 2003)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Doomsday Chase Card ge2

A legend throughout the universe-- the enemy of all that lives-- Doomsday exists only to smash, to destroy, and to kill.

...Hopefully as many Outsiders as possible, and not John Henry Iron, over the currently running "Reign of Doomsday" crossover mini-event. I haven't had to talk about Doomsday all week like Darkseid, but I also have even less to say about him, so I'll let the flavor text from his standard Card #88 continue...

One quarter of a million years ago, this creature was created. Its legend grew as it roamed the universe, obliterating life wherever it went. On Earth, it was called Doomsday and it fought Superman to the point of death. Finally, the Man of Steel dispatched him to the end of time. Do I dare retrieve this Doomsday?

Most of the good Martian Manhunter-related cards from this set ran at this time last year, so this has been one limp "New Years Evil." Sorry for that folks, but I wanted to "play through" with my other blogs and exhaust the material from that set I was interested in discussing. Here's the two cards from the earlier coverage that weren't linked to in other posts. Both are pretty Tony Harris paintings and I think my discussion of why Max Lord isn't in the Vile Menagerie may be worth revisiting.

Finally, here's the last assortment of cards posted to my other blogs. You may want to take special note of (unknown) as it ties the set together...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ta'-Dun (The Golden Pyramid)

The Golden Pyramid is a vision seen by Martians on their way to the afterlife. Not unlike "walking into the light," Martians step up from the red sands of Mars onto the first of many steps up the Golden Pyramid. As they ascend, the given Martian will sing the song of their life. At the top of the pyramid, the traveler may be greeted by their loved ones. If the Martian's song is complete, they may then rejoin their family in the hereafter. However, if the lifesong is discordant, or there are notes missing, the Martian's loved ones will hear. It may then be determined that the Martian should return to the material world to complete their work.

First Appearance: JLA/Cyberforce (2005)

Monday, January 10, 2011

2010 Minimal Martian Manhunter art by Jonah Block

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Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks. Custom trimmed with 2" border.
Art Print / SMALL - 23" X 13" ($23.92)
Art Print / MEDIUM - 28" X 16" ($29.12)
Art Print / LARGE - 40" X 22" ($44.72)

Stretched Canvases
Fine art print on bright white, fine poly-cotton blend, matte canvas using latest generation Epson archival inks. Individually trimmed and hand stretched museum wrap over 1-1/2" deep wood stretcher bars. Includes wall hanging hardware.
Stretched Canvas / SMALL - 19" X 9" ($85.00)
Stretched Canvas / MEDIUM - 24" X 12" ($95.00)

I like this, but all that red kind of throws me a bit. I'd still hang it on my wall, though. Maybe when I have money after I get done with school...

There's a Minimal Aquaman as well, so check it out.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Darkseid Chase Card ge4

When the old gods died, there arose new ones. And most fearsome of them all was the mighty Darkseid, lord of fiery Apokolips.

After all these Darkseid posts, I guess I should have given last week over him, but I think what little I have to offer would quickly get repetitive. One of the conceits of this card set was that an unnamed evil observer was offering the commentary on each card back. I guess even he had said his piece on Card #87...

Ruler supreme of the planet Apokolips, Darkseid is one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Astoundingly strong and virtually invulnerable, I suspect that Darkseid has yet to display the full extent of his power. He would be the very definition of evil... were it not for his damnable sense of humor.

What the what? "Sense of humor?" Anyway, the two card backs were different. The "Gathering of Evil" Spectra-etch foil chase set were written in mixed caps om a bland brown "dirt" background with a few bugs on some cards and a skull in the middle where Parallax's card rested. The standard backs started out a stone gray, but "decayed" to a dark greenish color, with an increasing amount of rot and bugs. Also, the all-caps red text was highlighted by alternating shaded strips. Most importantly, the first letter of each flavor text segment was encircled and appeared twice on each standard card. Might be something to that...

Relishing New Year's Evil this week? Find more malicious pin-up fun at the following blogs:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2010 The Justice League Of Pint Glasses by Heather Young

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When my wife—then girlfriend—moved in with me two years ago, we had a grand plan to stock our kitchen cupboard with pint glasses etched with the logos of the members of the Justice League of America. (We got the idea after she made a glass for Tom with the Black Hawk logo.) Life intervened, time slipped by, and our grand idea never came to pass. Then, this Christmas morning, I unwrapped an awesome surprise...

Jealous, nerds? My wife rules. Also, I love that Martian Manhunter’s symbol is apparently a halved grapefruit. He gets his powers from free radicals and polyphenols.

The full set includes the ankh of Death of the Endless (who may be a Martian goddess,) a Blackhawk Squadron symbol, a Green Arrow bullseye, a Z for Zatanna, and icons for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Hawkman and the Martian Manhunter. Visit here to see them all, and be sure to check the comments section.

Friday, January 7, 2011

2010 DCSH 3: Triumph Cubee by Joshua Wolf

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I'm not going to pretend like I understand the phenomenon of turning super-heroes into super-deformed/Lego/cubist versions of themselves. I'm just going to promote the first of several Martian Manhunter related "Cubee" fold paper figures by Joshua Wolf (under the pseudonym "The Flying Dachshund." I do this because it exists, and because that fact amuses me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Mongul Chase Card ge7

"Gathering of Evil" was a nine card chase subset which came one per every seven packs. The cards were "Spectra" foil etched, like the cover of the 1993 Mayfair Games DC Heroes Role-Playing Game Third Edition Handbook This gave them a weird sort of texture (like feeling a pointilist painting) and made them very difficult to scan.

Collectively, the cards form a group image by painter Steve Stanley. Mongul rests at the bottom right corner, beside Brainiac and below Darkseid. The card back was boringly simple two-toned brown, with the following text:

While our planet stumbled toward its first global conflict, the warlord Mongul swept across dozens of worlds in as many days. Their survivors called him master.

Was Mongul established as being active in the early 20th century and I missed it? Also, the basic card set held the conceit of being narrated by a villain whose reach was established as extending beyond our Earth, so whoops.

I'm not the only blogger relishing New Year's Evil this week. Find more malicious pin-up fun at the following:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 Triumph Convention Sketch by Guy Dorian

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When I'm just not feeling it, I post art. When I'm not feeling it during a themed session, that gets tricky. A few times a year, I start doing random searches at various art sites for the Martian Manhunter's rogues gallery. I assure you, I never seek out Darkseid art, but run the better stuff than falls into my lap or is somehow compulsory. I prefer to hold out hope that someone somewhere will decide to spend an afternoon doodling Commander Blanx, or maybe work up a Professor Arnold Hugo custom figure, but no such luck. I suppose then that I get a little more excited than is warranted from finding a Triumph pin-up.

Before anyone mentions it, I know that I really need to cover the Justice League Task Force already...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1996 Rogues Gallery #1: Darkseid by John K. Snyder

I've grown ever so very bored with Darkseid over the years, but I really appreciate how John K. Snyder III reminds you here that the Lord of Apokolips is so much more than DC's Dr. Doom. That is not actually Darkseid, who was "dead" at the time, but instead a towering monument to the reigning deity of a planet of demigods that easily dwarfs the scale of the Statue of Liberty. If only Darkseid were consistently written this "big," I'm sure interest would reignite like the firepits of Armagetto.

I'm not the only blogger relishing New Year's Evil this week. Find more malicious pin-up fun at the following:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2009 Darkseid by Evan “Doc” Shaner

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I guess when you're the Lord of Apokolips, you can tug on Superman's cape, and perhaps he was even involved in the cancellation of Dynamite Entertainment's The Lone Ranger. Them look like cheeks a'fixin to spit into the wind, so look out Jim(my Olsen)!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1996 Rogues Gallery #1: Mongul by John Hanley

Ahh. The 50th anniversary December of Despero is finally over, and I do believe it was the best one yet. Since Mongul made a guest appearance right there at the end, I thought revisiting the jaundiced giant would be a nice way to ring in the new year. Don't worry about another month long "New Year's Evil," "Vile Menagerie," or "March of Mongul" this year, though. Barring a wild hair, I won't be bothering with that kind of coverage in 2011 until December. I think we spent enough of 2010 fixating on villains, so this is more like the start of a week or so of coasting after the holidays.

Actually, I feel like the blog jumped a track after the death of J'Onn J'Onzz in the middle of 2008, when I began pushing one initiative after another in anticipation of the Martian Manhunter's resurrection. Now he's back, and creators are making the exact same mistakes with the character they always have. I expect his history will continue to be ignored, he'll lack much of a supporting cast, his rogues gallery will remain anemic and filled with "brand new" knock-offs of other villains or borrowed from other heroes... the usual. I'm not writing the guy, and I run a daily blog trying to help inform the work of those who do, so I feel I've done my part at this point. DC Comics would rather canonize a blogger's 2½ year old internet meme than acknowledge their own 47 year history, so why should I kill myself over this crap?

Which brings us back to Mongul, a villain I used to really like, and hope to enjoy again. Peter Tomasi has a history with both the Martian Manhunter and Mongul dating back to the mid-90s. If I have to suffer through more of his Didio porn scripts in an ongoing series, the least the guy could do is finally have Mongul become a proper Manhunter villain after a thirty year tease. It's not like Tomasi doesn't worship at a homemade alter to Alan Moore every night, and Superman Annual #11 (1985) continued the tease in one panel (reproduced if you scroll down the link.) Damn it, I want some green on yellow violence, and nobody's bringing back B'rett for that!

As a tie-in to the Underworld Unleashed crossover event, Skybox produced the trading card set DC Villains: The Dark Judgment. I suspect they had some leftover art, because DC Comics offered a pin-up book of painted art with an identical aesthetic to the set called Rogues Gallery. Mongul was already covered in card form by Joe Devito, so John Hanley got relegated to the comic. It's a shame, because both are pretty epic, and far more snazzy than a lot of the more art school frou-frou stuff on display.

In case you're wondering about the in-picture text, the Post-Crisis Mongul was killed by Neron in the first issue of Underworld Unleashed. Mongul Jr. showed up a few years later, just as big a jobber as his daddy. If you've ever enjoyed Mongul, do yourself a favor and read his Pre-Crisis stories, when he was bad ass enough to take on planet-pushing Superman, the Justice League and even the Legion of Super-Heroes all by himself.

I'm not the only blogger relishing New Year's Evil this week. Find more malicious pin-up fun at the following: