Manhunter, by Archie Goodwin & Walter Simonson

1)There’s been, I think, something like four characters called “Manhunter” over the years (Dan Richards, Paul Kirk, the Tangent Manhunter and Kate Spencer), and I may be missing some.  I’ve never been all that interested in any of them, but I was given the opportunity to read this storyline owing to the good offices of a certain stout-hearted man among men, so here are my thoughts.

 

2)The art is Simonson, so it’s not too bad, although it feels a little unpolished.  I gather this was from relatively early in his career, so that may explain it.

 

3)I’m not that wild about the Manhunter’s costume. It’s not that bad, but it doesn’t feel like the sort of thing a “shadow warrior” type would wear in.

 

4)It feels a bit like a travelogue, going from place to place around the world.

 

5)Manhunter’s pals, Christine St. Clair, Asano Nitobe and Kolu Mbeya, are all interesting enough, but didn’t really get much in the way of character development.

 

6)There’s a segment set in Istanbul where an American tourist kid is constantly waving a toy six-shooter around.  You wouldn’t get something like that on a plane nowadays. In fact, I’m not that sure you would have back then, either – not to mention how the Turkish cops might have felt about it.

 

7)Batman described Dan Kingdom as a “best friend”.  Had Kingdom been seen before this, or was this one of those “old friends” that we’d never heard of who were called in from Central Casting so they could be killed off?

 

8)Paul Kirk is killed off at the end of the story, but since we know that there were umpty-godzillion clones of him, I wouldn’t be astonished to discover that he popped up again at some point.

 

Overall: A pretty good story, albeit a little short.  I feel as though the story might have been better served to have been allowed a little more length to allow the characters and situations to develop.

 

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There was the Mark Shaw Manhunter from 1st Issue Special #5 and Justice League of America #140-141 who later became the Privateer then disappeared until after the Crisis when he once more became Manhunter and got his own series.

There was the Manhunter clone from Secret Society of Super-Villains #1-5 who blew himself up to destroy Darkseid. It didn't work.

There was a black-garbed Manhunter clone in the under-rated Power Company.

There was another Manhunter after Zero Hour but I know nothing about him!

Somewhere in my house on one of my bookshelves I have the Gold Edition which includes the dialogue free final Goidwin/Simonson Manhunter story, set in Gotham City as Batman and the GCPD attempt to track down a rogue clone(I think Goodwin passed before writing the dialogue).

I remember reading the Manhunter stories as they came out in Detective Comics. I was about 7 then and loved DCs 100 Page Super Spectacular format as it was a pretty good bang for your buck. The things I remember being impressed by were that a) Manhunter, unlike other superheroes had no compunction about killing his enemies and b) the impressive array of weapons he had stashed inside his costume. Teaming him with Batman really wasn't the best, however.

In regards to Manhunter in DCs history, don't forget the ones created by the Guardians, which just happened to closely resemble Paul Kirk's Golden Age costume. 

"I remember reading the Manhunter stories as they came out in Detective Comics. I was about 7 then and loved DCs 100 Page Super Spectacular format as it was a pretty good bang for your buck."

Wow, Randy... I'm impressed! 

I was about 10 at the time and I read them, but at least recognized they were a bit beyond my appreciation level at the time. (Of course. I saw only odd chapters, not the whole thing.) By then I was already familiar with Will Eisner's Spirit (from Jules Feifer's The Great Comic Book Super Heroes (a birthday gift that same year), and saw the similarity, but that one story was a bit "beyond" me at the time, too (at least I didn't appreciate it as much as I did the Sub-Mariner laying waste to New York City). 

By the time the story was reprinted in its entirety in the early '80s, I was aware of both Archie Goodwin and Walt simonson and thought, "Oh, that was them?" 

I didn't get to read the whole thing as it came out, but I did see a lot of the chapters as they were published., including the most important one, the finale. I specifically remember a sequence where someone tried to kill Paul Kirk by running him over with a car and Manhunter ducking under the vehicle, slicing open the gas tank as it drove by and then killing his assailant by lighting the gasoline trail with a match. 

That was one I did read. I missed the finale, though.

I have the Gold Edition too, Randy. Mine is stuck in a box somewhere. You are correct that it was completed after Goodwin had passed. I remember liking it when I read it way back when.

Randy Jackson said:

Somewhere in my house on one of my bookshelves I have the Gold Edition which includes the dialogue free final Goidwin/Simonson Manhunter story, set in Gotham City as Batman and the GCPD attempt to track down a rogue clone(I think Goodwin passed before writing the dialogue).

I remember reading the Manhunter stories as they came out in Detective Comics. I was about 7 then and loved DCs 100 Page Super Spectacular format as it was a pretty good bang for your buck. The things I remember being impressed by were that a) Manhunter, unlike other superheroes had no compunction about killing his enemies and b) the impressive array of weapons he had stashed inside his costume. Teaming him with Batman really wasn't the best, however.

In regards to Manhunter in DCs history, don't forget the ones created by the Guardians, which just happened to closely resemble Paul Kirk's Golden Age costume. 

I have both the Manhunter Special Edition (1999) and the later Gold Edition.

The first time I saw any Manhunter was a beat-up copy of what I later learned was Detective Comics #440 (My'74) that had the Batman story torn away!

But the Manhunter episode was intact and it fascinated me!

It also had a Golden Age Manhunter story along with GA Green Lantern and Doll Man plus a great Silver Age Hawkman tale and the conclusion of the Outsider Saga!

Great reads and great history lessons those 100 Pagers were!

I absolutely loved Detective #440. The reprints were what really made those 100 pagers. So many great old characters that I loved like Johnny Quick, the Vigilante and others I discovered through those comics. 

Philip Portelli said:

Great reads and great history lessons those 100 Pagers were!

Because of those 100-pagers, I was able to read such serials as "Zatanna's Quest" and "The Death of Alfred (The Outsider)" in... well, not real time but delayed. A couple of years ago I was reading Dynamic Duo Archives in conjunction with Tales of the Batman: Carmine Infantino, which doesn't have the conclusion to the "Outsider" story (because it wasn't drawn by Infantino and the archive series didn't last that liong). I no longer own the original, but I was really in the mood to read it. I was able to obtain a copy of the original issue for less money than the 100-page reprint!

The 100 Pagers are highly sought after, especially those in better condition, because those who had them (myself included) read them to pieces!

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