Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Martian Manhunter - Whatever Happened To The Manhunter From Mars? - Maxy Barnard

The Premise: Everyone wants their favourite character to have that defining story, that salutes the past and closes off the character, that perfect ending with which you could put a story down and leave it forever. Alan Moore's classic "Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow" is the greatest example of this, a tale that took everything the pre-crisis silver age of old presented and made it into this nigh-perfect example of how to close out a tale, touching on everything you could want from such a story. And of course in recent years Neil Gaiman has thrown the same sort of concept out with his take on Batman ("Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader"). So here's a single page from my ideal two-part tale to close off the world of the Martian Manhunter.

And it's a detective tale that spans both of his worlds, and the very concepts of identity, especially those in an immigrant from a dead race (that old ticket), and ultimately what it means to be that reliable figure in a team, gone forever.

So, enjoy this opening page in an imaginary tale, and tell me how pretentious that previous sentence was.


We open on J'onn J'onnz's face, somber, with some small amount of sweat on his brow.

Caption: I am no longer alive.

Moving back we see more of the scene. J'onn is in a black void, posed in the 'Atlas Pose', holding two large and out of view spheres, which i'll describe when we come to them. Where J'onn's feet should be there are typical ghost wisps, trails coming from the legs as his form fades out.

Caption: I have been told that death would bring with it a release from all burdens. And yet...

And now the full shot. J'onn J'onnz is holding two large globes, one on each shoulder (something that should hopefully still fit the Atlas Pose). The globes are in no particular order, Mars and Earth. Both are gripped tightly, so tightly in fact that J'onn's fingers are cracking the globes, digging into the surface of each as he holds on to both of them. As a symbolic show of his strong ties to both of his homes, natch.

Caption: ... I am still held down under the weight of the things that truly matter to me.

From what I'd want to call a distant over-the-shoulder viewpoint we see J'onn stoop a little lower under the weight of the worlds, and a bit further in front of him (an admittedly difficult concept in a blank void, it must be said) a small white light has appeared.

Caption: If I only knew why this is so, and how I even came to be here, it would be easier. But--

J'onn: What is this?

The light is much bigger now, and within we can see J'onn's silver age John Jones personality, in full detective clobber, staring blankly out at J'onn.

J'onn: Yes... I can use this. One more time, to find out the truth, to solve one last mystery. To know...

[The next page, for those wondering, would be a splash featuring John Jones standing in a bustling Middletown, in November 1955, that fateful month where he was pulled to earth for the first time, used as the starting point for J'onn's spiritual self to explore his 'ultimate mystery', with, in the sky, the title WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MANHUNTER FROM MARS. Because, I guess that's how this story starts.]


  1. Max, great title. Just great title. There should be a website just dedicated to these. Whatever Happened To The Lawyer of Hell's Kitchen, that sort of thing. Whatever Happened To The Immortal Weapon of K'un L'un, oh man, they are fun.

    As for the script, it's ethereal, man, and I kind of dig that. It's like a misty prologue to what will come, and you introduce it so well, and the next splash would be perfect. This page is good, though the whole backgroundless aspect makes me worry, though it could also work for the scene, give it that internal quality.

    I'd love MM's line, 'What is this?' Feels like he's saying it just so the reader knows he doesn't know what it is. You could drop it or substitute an empty speech balloon, or just an ellipsis and get the right concept across.

    op stuff, Max. You've stepped up to this challenge.

  2. Love the premise, Max, and the fact that you've tied it in to J'onn's detective roots. I really want to read the rest of this story.

    Wasn't sure you needed that opening line though. I think if you dropped it, maybe to open on a silent panel, the next line still explains to the reader that J'onn is dead.

  3. Great work, Max. This would look impressive visually. I agree with Ryan with the whole "What is this?" line. It seems out of place, and an empty speech bubble, or even "..." would add to it.


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