From the Archives: Deck Log Entry # 37 Mars or Bust!

I haven’t bought a comic book, at least not a current one, in over two decades.  But that doesn’t mean my head is in the sand when it comes to what the popular things are.  Fora like the Captain Comics message board keep me posted on that; I may not know the bit-and-piece details, but I am privy to the general ideas.  And one of the things which has vaguely amused me over the last twenty years has been the popularity of the character of the Martian Manhunter. 

 

The attention J’onn J’onzz has gotten from both DC and the fans is one of those things that make an old-time comics fan like me scratch his head and smile.  You see, I remember the days when the Manhunter from Mars, at best, was a reliable, but unremarkable back-of-the-book character.  His one shot at Silver-Age stardom, as the brief headliner of House of Mystery, failed to ignite.  In due time, following a return to also-ran status, he faded from sight.  His prominence among DC’s characters to-day, from my perspective, is like having the hit television series of 2013 turn out to be a show starring the character of Jeff, the assistant dispatcher, from Taxi.

 

One of the benefits for a popular comic-book hero is a lot of fan-buzz.  And whenever fans get together to chatter about their favourite character, questions get brought up, sometimes about things which had not given too much thought when the character was created.  Or that the original writers had simply hoped no-one would look at too closely.

 

Case in point:  the origin story of the Martian Manhunter is more well known than it used to be and it has survived through all of DC’s revisionist history reasonably intact.  As presented in “The Strange Experiment of Dr. Erdel”, from Detective Comics # 225 (Nov., 1955), Professor Mark Erdel had invented a sophisticated “robot brain”, capable of exploring space and time.  However, the first time it was activated, the device accidentally transported a Martian, J’onn J’onzz, to Earth.  Unfortunately, the shock of meeting an alien from space caused Erdel’s weak heart to fail.  He died and J’onn J’onzz, unable to operate the robot brain, was stranded on our world.

 

Until he could figure out a way to get back to Mars, J’onn J’onzz decided to spend his time on Earth fighting crime and he assumed the human identity of John Jones, police detective.

 

Even if the fans don’t know the subsequent details (and it’s not their fault; some of them have changed quite a bit in post-Crisis, post-Zero Hour, post-whatever retellings), they know the basic events that followed.  At first, the Manhunter kept his presence on Earth a secret, but eventually, he was “outed”, and that led to him becoming a charter member of the Justice League of America.  Stop right there.  It is this stage of the Manhunter’s career which has raised one of those fan questions that later writers had to bend over backwards to answer.

 

If the premise was that he was stranded on Earth, once J’onn J’onzz joined the Justice League, why didn’t he have one of his space-capable fellow members, such as Superman or Green Lantern or Wonder Woman, simply give him a lift back to Mars?

 

Now, the real-life answer to that, of course, was to do so would remove the Martian Manhunter as a viable DC character.  There would come a time when JLA editor Julius Schwartz and JLA writer Gardner Fox probably wished for that very thing, but as long as DC saw enough potential in the character to maintain his own series, the Manhunter wasn’t going anywhere.

 

As with many details presented, then forgotten or contradicted, in the Manhunter from Mars series, editor/writer Jack Miller didn’t seem to be paying too much attention to this one, either.  Originally, the series had focused on John Jones, police detective, who secretly employed his Martian abilities to solve crimes.  Within a couple of years, though---and through no coïncidence, following the Flash’s debut in Showcase # 4 and the revival of interest in super-heroes---the thrust had shifted to putting his alien identity in more typical super-hero-type situations.  At first, J’onn J’onzz had to perform his feats invisibly, but eventually, Miller got tired of working around that limitation and revealed the Manhunter’s presence on Earth.  This moved the Alien Ace completely into the standard super-hero rôle, and by the time he became part of the Justice League, the concept of his being stranded on Earth had so faded that DC had either forgotten about it or hoped the readers had.

 

Die-hard fans are tenacious creatures, though.  (Granted, by the end of the Silver Age in 1968, the Martian Manhunter had few of those left.)  And those stragglers wanted to know why J’onn J’onzz just simply didn’t ask his JLA buddy Green Lantern to drop him off on Mars the next time the Emerald Crusader made a trip to Oa.  Post-Silver-Age, later writers did, indeed, attempt to explain that.  Denny O’Neil, in his “. . . and So My World Ends!”, from JLA # 71 (May, 1969), took a stab at it.  But, as O’Neil was wont to do, he practically rewrote the Manhunter’s entire history to make his explanation work and the result was largely unsatisfying.

 

But, if we ignore post-Silver-Age developments, can a satisfactory reason be provided as to why, once he was integrated into the regular DC super-hero universe, MM didn’t hitch a ride back to Mars?   I put off dealing with that question for a long time.  Then, a couple of weeks before I originally wrote this article, I picked up Showcase Presents:  Martian Manhunter.  That filled in the gaps in my collexion of Manhunter stories, most of them being in the 1956-7 time frame.

 

Once I filled myself in on what I had missed and had a complete run of the series to access, it wasn’t too hard to draw out a Silver-Age reason why J’onn J’onzz remained on Earth.

 

 

 

As it developed, the Manhunter had several opportunities to return to Mars long before he sat down at the JLA council table.  Most of them went the way of the castaways’ chances to get off of Gilligan’s Island, but even so, they offered a valuable insight to the Alien Ace’s attitudes and feelings toward his temporary home.

 

The first such occasion arose as soon as the Manhunter’s fourth adventure, in “Escape to the Stars”, from Detective Comics # 228 (Feb., 1956).  John Jones is on the trail of Alex Dunster, a thief with a scientific background.  With fantastic weapons of his own invention, Dunster has been able to thwart conventional police attempts to capture him.  Jones’s Martian abilities enable him to locate Dunster’s hide-out, where he discovers that the criminal scientist has gotten his hands on Professor Erdel’s robot brain.  Amazingly, Dunster has been able to re-program the machine, enabling it to transfer objects and people through space.

 

As the detective eavesdrops, Dunster sets the robot brain to teleport him to another planet.  Jones realises that all he has to do is wait for Dunster to depart, then use the device on himself to return to Mars.  He can’t risk subduing Dunster, whose weaponry would enable him to put up such a tussle that the robot brain might be damaged.

 

It’s tempting, but immediately, Jones reconsiders.  If Dunster is able to use the robot brain to leave Earth, the detective figures, then he also has arranged a means to return.  Only then, John Jones wouldn’t be there to stop him.

 

“I’d be letting Earth down . . . ,” he concludes.  “I can’t do that to the planet that has befriended me!”

 

Jones shows himself and places Dunster under arrest.  As expected, the crook makes a fight of it, and in the struggle, the robot brain is damaged severely, ruining the Martian’s chance to get home.

 

This is a telling scene.  At first blush, it seems a bit of a reach that after only a brief time on Earth, J’onn J’onzz would feel so much loyalty to our world that he would sacrifice his first real chance to go home.

 

But consider---in his debut tale, J’onn J’onzz reflects on the fact that Mars saw its last war a thousand years previous.  (He also indicates that crime was obsolete on his world, but since that is contradicted by later Silver-Age stories, we’ll let that one pass.)  This suggests that Mars is a civilisation of exceptional moral sophistication, and it would be logical to assume that Martians possessed an extreme sense of duty, to themselves individually and as a society.  The fact that J’onn J’onzz’s first instinct after familiarising himself with our world was to help us by warring on crime is indicative of that.

 

Yes, it’s extrapolation, but it makes sense and it fits.  Thus, it wouldn’t take long for J’onn J’onzz to adopt a strong sense of duty to Earth in a relatively short time.  This is a key element in explicating the Manhunter’s subsequent failures to return home when he could have.

 

The idea is reïnforced a mere three issues later, in Detective Comics # 231 (May, 1956), when another ticket to Mars drops into MM’s lap.   In “The Thief Who Had Super-Powers”, Detective Jones runs up against a thief who exhibits unusual powers.  At first, Jones chalks up the fantastic stunts to standard magician’s tricks, but ultimately, he learns that the thief is actually a convicted Martian outlaw. 

 

Jones confronts the crook and reveals his own alien identity.  Interestingly (at least as far as comic-book conventions go), once the Martian fugitive discovers that he’s up against one of his own people, he stops resisting.

 

Martian authorities imprison their criminals in space, by means of a “guard belt” which keeps the inmates in orbit and protects them from the void.  His guard belt was defective, the thief explains, and it teleported him to Earth.  Jones realises that, with the belt, he could return to Mars.

 

The thief makes it even easier; he offers the belt to Jones.  It’s no good to him.  He’s a wanted man on Mars.

 

The Sleuth from Space, for a moment, considers the offer.  “But,” he realises, “if I go, this criminal will remain here and be allowed to rob and plunder Earth with his super-powers!”  Once again, his choice is difficult, but clear.

 

Jones uses super-vision to activate the belt while the Martian thief is still holding it.  The felon is immediately whisked back to Mars.

 

 

 

It would be a few more years before the Alien Ace got another opportunity to go home.  In “John Jones’ Farewell to Earth, from Detective Comics # 267 (May, 1959), the Manhunter learns that police officers from the planet Jupiter have arrived on Earth to recapture an escaped criminal from their world who has taken refuge here.  The Jovian cops agree to deliver J’onn J’onzz to Mars on their trip back in exchange for his help in apprehending the fugitive.  The clock is ticking, though.  If their ship doesn’t take off by sundown, Jupiter will have orbited out of range and they’ll be stuck on Earth for a year.

 

MM tracks down his prey handily enough, but the alien crook makes a fight of it.  Our Hero triumphs, but precious time is lost.  He returns with his prisoner just under the wire, as the sun begins to set.  However, the Jovian police discover that the fugitive planted a solar bomb in an amusement park.  When it explodes, many innocent lives will be lost.

 

The Jovians urge the Manhunter to quickly board their ship.  Yet another agonising decision, but he doesn’t hesitate.

 

“I can’t let my Earth friends die!  You---you will have to leave without me!”

 

Once again, J’onn J’onzz chooses duty over personal benefit and it’s far from the last time.

 

 

 

“The Unmasking of J’onn J’onzz”, from Detective Comics # 273 (Nov., 1959), is notable for being the adventure which revealed the Manhunter’s existence on Earth.  This comes at the hands of an escaped Martian criminal, B’rett, who exposes the Alien Ace to Formula Z6, which robs him of his ability to use his other super-powers while invisible.  Unable to match B’rett’s might while invisible, J’onn J’onzz makes the decision to appear openly, before the super-powered villain can massacre an approaching squad of policemen.

 

After the Manhunter defeats B’rett, he places the criminal back the experimental Martian missile that brought him to our world and, with the help of military authorities, launches the ship back to Mars.  Nothing is said about why J’onn J’onzz passed on this chance to go home.

 

Though the story looked the other way on this point of his returning to Mars, his ethic of self-sacrifice was yet again illustrated when he chose to publicly reveal himself in order to protect Earth from B’rett.

 

With his presence on Earth out in the open, it cleared the way for the Manhunter to become a charter member of the Justice League of America, as shown in its first adventure, told in The Brave and the Bold # 28 (Feb.-Mar., 1960).  Clearly, the Martian now had the means to go home whenever he wished.  So why didn’t he?

 

This takes more extrapolation, but again, it fits if we take the Manhunter’s demonstrated sense of responsibility and tie it to a known fact about the early Justice League tales.

 

For the first dozen JLA stories, Superman and Batman were largely absent from the group’s adventures.  The real-life reason for this was editorial fiat, but their frequent non-participation was also recognised within the fiction of the series.  (“The Last Case of the Justice League”, from JLA # 12 [Jun., 1962], wraps a crucial plot development around it.)

 

Given Superman’s frequent absences, it’s logical to surmise that J’onn J’onzz, with powers similar to a Kryptonian’s, felt duty-bound to step in as the powerhouse of the team.  Especially given the fact that, with the Justice League, he was no longer tackling clever criminals and the occasional rogue alien, but true cosmic threats to the Earth and even the universe.  With the Man of Steel so often being a no-show, the JLA couldn’t afford to be without him.

 

This belief, that his mighty powers are too needed on Earth, shows up in the tale “The Menace of the Martian Mandrills”, from Detective Comics # 285 (Nov., 1960).  When a cargo-rocket from Mars goes off-course and crash-lands on Earth, a trio of Martian mandrills is released.  The beasts wreak havoc on Middletown, until J’onn J’onzz recaptures them and returns them to the repaired Martian rocket.  Once again, military authorities assist in launching the ship back to its original destination.

 

As they watch the rocket take off, Captain Harding asks the Alien Ace, “Tell the truth, Manhunter---would you have liked to go along?”

 

“Maybe I will, someday, captain,” he replies, “when my work on Earth is done!”

 

Clearly, at this point, J’onn J’onzz views his situation on Earth as having graduated to a larger rôle---from exiled lawman to protector of the world.

 

 

 

By 1962, Gardner Fox had changed the formula that he had applied to most of his early JLA stories.  The editorial prohibition against Superman and Batman’s participation was lifted, and now Fox was including the World’s Finest Team in every Justice League adventure.  With the Man of Steel being the obvious heavyweight on the team and the entire League showing up for cases, the burden was lifted from J’onn J’onzz’s shoulders.  Surely, he could go back to Mars now, right?

 

Once again, fortunate timing between JLA and the Manhunter’s own series provided a ready answer:  not only could J’onn J’onzz go home at last, he did!

 

“The Mystery of the Martian Marauders”, from Detective Comics # 301 (Mar., 1962), has slipped beneath the radar of most Silver-Age fans, even though it’s a milestone issue for our green-skinned hero.  As the tale describes, Dr. Alvin Reeves, a brilliant scientist, accidentally discovers Professor Erdel’s robot brain in the abandoned building where the Manhunter has stored it for safekeeping.  Dr. Reeves restores the device to working order.  He has even managed to program it for teleportation between Earth and Mars.  In doing so, however, he has accidentally transported himself to Mars.  A side-effect of the machine sends a band of Martian criminals to Earth.

 

J’onn J’onzz discovers Reeves’s handiwork when the fleeing fugitives use the robot brain to return to Mars.  The Alien Ace activates the machine and returns to his home planet.  Following a brief reunion with his parents and his kid brother, T’omm, MM captures the Martian crooks and rescues Dr. Reeves.  And since Our Hero had the foresight to put the robot brain’s controls on an automatic setting, getting back to Earth with Reeves is not a problem.

 

What makes this story noteworthy is that the reset button is not pushed.  No last-minute stroke of fate destroys the robot brain or takes it out the Manhunter’s control.  Now, he can travel to Mars whenever he wishes.  I suspect this was a deliberate choice of Jack Miller’s, leaving open the option of setting an occasional J’onn J’onzz adventure on Mars.  It was an option that became available when the original notion of a Martian operating in secret on Earth had been supplanted by making the Manhunter a public hero and a member of the Justice League.  Miller’s dialogue in this tale makes it pretty obvious; when he leaves his family to return to Earth, J’onn J’onzz tells his mother, “Don’t worry!  I’ll be able to return from time to time!”

 

At this point, the Manhunter no longer needed the help of his Justice League pals to get home, and in fact, he was seen to use the robot brain to do just that, in “Wanted---the Capsule Master”, from The Brave and the Bold # 50 (Oct.-Nov., 1963).  Presumably, he returned to Mars for brief visits other times in between recorded adventures.

 

 

 

In 1964, the Manhunter from Mars series got an overhaul.  All the remaining elements of the original format were tossed out with the introduction of the Idol-Head of Diabolu in Detective Comics # 326.

 

The Idol-Head of Diabolu was a Babylonian artifact containing a vast number of ancient evils.  For centuries, it remained dormant, until inadvertently activated by thief Vince Durskin.  This results in the release of a glowing glob of a creature which attacks detective John Jones in the presence of dozens of on-lookers.  Fortunately, he's able to transform into the Manhunter in time to escape death.  To the horrified witnesses, though, Detective Jones has been killed.

 

Placed in the awkward position of delivering a eulogy for himself, the Manhunter swears to avenge Detective Jones’s death by destroying the Idol-Head.  It’s a far-ranging task he has set for himself, for with each full moon, the Idol-Head disgorges another supernatural monster for the Alien Ace to battle.  Yet, the sinister relic’s most miraculous power is its ability to keep itself out of MM’s hands month after month, forcing Our Hero into a perpetual cross-country search for the thing.

 

Thus, Diane Meade, Captain Harding, and Middletown were swept into the dustbin as the Manhunter’s quest to destroy the Idol-Head took him away from Detective Comics and into the pages of House of Mystery.  After the Idol-Head arc had run its course, J’onn J’onzz immediately leapt into his war against the criminal combine Vulture and its head, Mr. V.  It took until the cancellation of his series, in House of Mystery # 173 (Mar.-Apr., 1968), to bring about the final destruction of Vulture and its mysterious leader.

 

It was just about this time that the Martian Manhunter disappeared from Gardner Fox’s JLA adventures.  Fox, never comfortable with the character, began to use him less and less, until finally, in 1968, he stopped showing up on missions completely, without even the courtesy of the usual “tied up on an urgent case of his own” explanation.

 

If one wishes, one can tie this in with JLA # 71, by explaining that, with free time on his hands after defeating Vulture, J’onn J’onzz used the robot brain to return to Mars and confront Denny O’Neil’s Commander Blanx and his White Martians.

 

I prefer to think that, after four years of fighting non-stop against the Idol-head of Diabolu and Vulture, the Manhunter went back to Mars for a nice, long vacation.

 

 

Views: 759

Comment by Fraser Sherman on May 24, 2013 at 8:41am

As a J'Onn fan (don't ask me why) it's interesting to read in the details of his near returns, which I wasn't aware of. I was quite happy with his becoming a bigger success over the years.

Comment by Mr. Silver Age on May 24, 2013 at 9:00am

Nice overview of MM, Commander! I like to think that later generations finally found a way to use his potential, making him more other-worldly and playing up his non-Superman powers.That may limit his popularity as a starring player, but it gives him a role to play.

OTOH, Alex Ross told me that when he and Waid were plotting out Kingdom Come, Ross wanted to leave out MM because he was a nonentity that didn't matter. Waid was insistent that he be put in because of his strong SA roots. I imagine Ross grew up in a time when MM wasn't much around, and he looked at MM as a C-list guy. Whereas Waid probably saw him as intrinsic to that early version of the JLA.

Even though he was there, he really was an after-thought in the SA JLA, which would have been a good chance to play up how he differed from Superman. His fire vulnerability also was way too easy and too well known to make him very popular, I think, because it was so easy to take him out of commission.

I still laugh at the notion that he had a brother named T'omm. I can't decide if the editors thought we wouldn't get the joke or that we would.

-- MSA

Comment by Fraser Sherman on May 24, 2013 at 9:30am

Post-crisis writers (and even some pre-crisis) played up his shapeshifting and psi-powers more, which emphasized the difference from Superman. Grant Morrison's idea that J'Onn maintains several identities on Earth was also a good one.

From what I've seen the post-Reboot J'onn doesn't have much to appeal to me.

Comment by Commander Benson on May 24, 2013 at 10:00am

Thanks for the kind words, Mr. S. A.  Looking back over how the Silver Age dealt with the Manhunter from Mars, it's easy to see that DC squandered a genuinely intriguing premise.

 

The original concept---which even now, practically oozes the 1950's---had a great deal of charm and potential.  Supposedly, the strongest concepts are those which can be boiled down to one sentence, and this was one of them:  a Martian trapped on Earth disguises himself as a police detective and uses his alien powers to track down criminals.

 

And that's just how Jack Miller ran with it.  If one reads the first two years or so of the series, one discovers that the alien J'onn J'onzz rarely makes an appearance.  Most often, just one or two panels in any given story, and those usually either a flashback to the Manhunter's arrival on Earth or depict him gazing longingly at the stars.  In some tales, he never appears in his alien form at all.

 

It's his human identity's show all the way.  And Detective Jones was a plainclothes cop straight out of 1950's Hollywood central casting---trench coat, fedora, no personal life, no discernable personality.  Just all business.  Joe Friday would have been proud.

 

Unfortunately, for all that charm, it's tough to read more than four or five of the Manhunter tales from that era in a row.  That's because Jack Miller couldn't stop giving the Manhunter a new super-power every other issue or so, and that was on top of the formidable ones he already possessed.  There was nothing that Detective Jones couldn't do---see around corners, teleport, levitate things, read minds, see into the future, vapourise objects, walk through walls---whatever he needed to get the job done, like a bottomless magician's hat.

 

It leeched all the drama out of the stories.  Once in a great while, another alien would show up and give Jones a hard time, but no human crook stood a chance.  Not even a tiny one.

 

Oh, sure, there was that fire thing, but that was never used as more than as a minor diversion.  The bad guy would get away from Jones on page three because some bystander lit a match, but he'd be caught by page eight, for sure.  Crooks almost never used fire against Jones offensively because part of the conceit of the series was that the Martian's weakness to fire wasn't publically known.  (A conceit that went through the complete run of the Silver-Age Manhunter from Mars series; later on, after J'onn J'onzz's existence was revealed, there were a couple of villains who suspected and used fire against him, but the Manhunter always managed to "prove" them wrong.)

 

Curiously, it was only in the pages of JLA that villains were aware of MM's vulnerability to fire and used it against him.

 

If Miller had limited John Jones to a specific set of super-powers---those which made Jones formidable, but not invincible---then the concept of John Jones, the sleuth from space, would have probably carried longer than it did.

 

Curiously, it was only after the series shifted to making J'onn J'onzz the centerpiece of stories and making a super-hero out of him, that Miller more sharply defined what the Manhunter could and couldn't do and did away with the mental powers and the rabbit-out-of-the-hat abilities.  And even then, Miller couldn't keep it straight.  When the Manhunter was in his John Jones form, sometimes he was just a normal human (which added a badly needed vulnerability to the character) and sometimes he still possessed all of his other Martian powers.

 

All of this added up to the feeling of "we're just making this up as we go along," and that made it tough to invest any real interest in the character, either as Jones or J'onzz.

 

 

Comment by Mr. Silver Age on May 24, 2013 at 10:13am

All of this added up to the feeling of "we're just making this up as we go along," and that made it tough to invest any real interest in the character, either as Jones or J'onzz.

I agree, the number of powers made it hard to invest much interest, because he was always pulling out a new one. As you say, I don't think there's any doubt that he was a detective with special powers to solve crimes. The fact that his Martian identity looked a little super-hero-y gave him a much longer life after The Flash actually made super-heroes popular, so he didn't die away as all the other specialty detectives did. At that point, I imagine they decided they had to define what he could do, since others would be using him and he'd be higher profile in JLA.

Early on, his fire weakness would have been a secret and no one would have been looking for it, since he was supposed to be human. It wouldn't be until he publicly became MM that it might become apparent. It's interesting that they avoided the fire weakness except in his JLA adventures, but I imagine there they needed a fast way to take out each hero, and it was a really convenient one.

I think he gained the powers of whatever he shape-shifted into, which is pretty handy. So when he was human, he essentially had no powers (except the ability to shape-shift, I guess). But that didn't seem consistent. I imagine those extremely short stories made it more enticing to "forget" what his power set and limitations were.

-- MSA

Comment by Philip Portelli on May 24, 2013 at 10:17am

I grew up knowing the Manhunter from Mars was a past member of the Justice League via the many stories DC reprinted in the 70s. I looked forward to his sporadic guest appearances during this period like World's Finest #212 and Adventure #449-451. But they couldn't get their facts right then either. Did Mars II orbit a red sun or not? Did J'onn have any super powers there? What was his exact role? And how easy or hard was it for him to return to Earth?

As for J'onn's status with the JLA, a quick review of DC books published in 1959-1960 proves that he had to be a member as there were few good options available. Besides the oft-mentioned Green Arrow, the remaining heroes to choose from were: Congorilla, Blackhawk, Batwoman, Mark Merlin and Adam Strange. The rest were either in the future (Space Ranger, Tommy Tomorrow, the Adult Legion), non-powered stars (Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Roy Raymond), western heroes (Tomahawk, Matt Savage, Pow Wow Smith), war heroes (Sgt. Rock, Gunner & Sarge) or Hollywood stars (Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, Pat Boone).

The only viable candidate that I could think of was no longer being published and that, of course, is Captain Comics Comet!!

Perhaps it was the lovely Diane Meade that caused J'onn to think twice about leaving?

 

Comment by Fraser Sherman on May 24, 2013 at 10:21am

His longevity, is also partly luck. A comic of his own with Miller writing would probably have tanked but as a backup in Detective he could run for years. Then he had JLA to give him a little more lustre, but he only ran for what, a dozen issues or so in House of Mystery before taking a back seat to Dial H for Hero (and a lot of those, he wasn't the lead).

It's like Green Arrow outlasting all the other comic-book archers by being a back-up strip (and of course, having Weisinger's support), to the point where instead of being one of a common type some of my younger friends wonder where the heck the concept of a crime-fighting archer came from.

Comment by Philip Portelli on May 24, 2013 at 10:36am

We had a really great discussion about Justice League #71 ("And So My World Ends..") and other JLA books of that era here.

Comment by Randy Jackson on May 24, 2013 at 12:03pm

If I had to guess, one of the reasons his popularity has escalated over the last 20 years or so is because he was so indifferently handled during the Silver Age.  Writers and Artists knew who he was, but there were so many contradictions that he was in many ways a blank slate.  The "stranger in a strange land" aspect of being an alien on Earth was probably also something that a lot of writers and artists latched onto.

I have read the Silver Age stories, and quite frankly they were skippable.  One thing that was interesting, however, is that despite having a set of powers similar to Superman, he rarely displayed the ones that were more physical in nature.  Super-strength, for instance, never seemed to be shown much.

Comment by Richard Willis on May 25, 2013 at 12:21am

Following a brief reunion with his parents and his kid brother, T’omm.......

I thought T'omm J’onzz was from Wales, not Mars.

Comment

You need to be a member of Captain Comics to add comments!

Join Captain Comics

Welcome!

 No fistfights. No flame wars. No trolls. The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2014   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service