Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Apex City: The Martian Manhunter Heroclix Map

As you'll remember, I had previously deduced that the Silver Age Martian Manhunter lived in Apex City, Florida, and was further committed to making an Apex City Heroclix map for him and his fans.

Why? Because it was the will of the people as determined by my poll, and I am the Slave of Duty.

At first I was worried. This isn't like making a map of Metropolis where you throw in one landmark, like the Daily Planet, and call it a day because everyone will recognize it. Did JJ's unnamed city even have any local features for a map to feature?

I shouldn't have worried!
Apex City is full of recognizable features, even if the only people who'll recognize any of them are serious Martian Manhunter fans. But, then, that's who the map is for!

Naturally, the principle feature of
Apex City, "America's Most Flammable City!", is that something is ALWAYS on fire. So I included many of the buildings we've seen burning in Martian Manhunter stories, like
  • the Ajax Apartments, which are...
  • near the Mason Mattress Co. ("The Girl-Hero Contest),
  • the Jones Supermarket ("The Impossible Manhunt'),
  • the Bijou Theater (from "The Crime Conjurer" and "The Dog With a Martian Master"),
  • Jones Hardware ("The Impossible Manhunt"),
  • the Jones Clothing Store ("The Impossible Manhunt"),
  • and the July 4th Fireworks Co. ("The Impossible Messages")
Other, apparently less flammable, structures shown include
  • Police Headquarters (under attack by a cloaked Venusian ship, as in "The Defeat of J'onn J'onnz"),
  • Highgate Bridge (a hotspot of Diane Meade activity)
  • Union Drawbridge (which J'onn so memorably replaced one time with his butt in "John Jones' Pesky Partner")
  • the Apex Art Galleries ("The Crime College")
  • the Daily Clarion (where J'onn worked as "The Super Reporter"),
  • the Ace Time Company Building with its giant radium covered rooftop alarm clock ("The Menace of Mr. Moth")
  • the City Planetarium (from "The Menace of Mr. Moth" and "The Getaway King")
  • Rainbow Beach (from "The Sleuth Without a Clue"... I am so sure, Mary!), which sports a dangerous shark (there were sharks every single time J'onn went in the water!), a sexy cephalopod with whom J'onn can enjoy sweet sweet octopus love, and a Hot Dog Stand (which actually appeared in the story, thank you very much);
  • a mosaic honoring the city's champion baseball team, the Flamingos ("The Case of the Magic Baseball").
  • surely, you didn't think I would omit the Human Squirrel climbing the Apex Loan Company Building (just like in "The Ex-Convicts Club")
  • and Apex City's most unique landmark, the Statue of Atlas Painted With Phosphorus (once stolen in "The Menace of Mr. Moth"). If that doesn't qualify as a landmark, I don't know what does.
The roadways also refer to elements from Martian Manhunter stories:
  • Elm Street ("The Martian Show Off", "The J'onn J'onnz Museum", "The Ex-Convicts Club", and "Ordeal By Fire"), Shore Road, Front Street ("The Martian Show Off"), State Street ("The J'onn J'onnz Musuem"), Eastview Drive ("J'onn J'onnz vs. the Vigilantes") are all specifically mentioned in various stories. Highland Street & Union Street are not, but I'm inferring them from the Highland Bridge and the Union Drawbridge.
  • Hey, there's the tank from the Criminal Army in "One-Man Army".
  • Three fire trucks, because in Apex, that's about how many you need per city block square
  • an ice cream truck so J'onn doesn't have to waste his energy creating ice cream cones from the power of the void (as he had to do in "The World's Greatest Magician")
  • that crazy future car in front of Jones Hardware probably belongs criminal genius Monty Moran ("The Getaway King"), or to the professor at "The Crime College", or it could be one of "The Impossible Inventions" of wacky inventor Hiram Horner.
  • a recently plummeted meteor, because, as previously discussed, meteors are the standard weather in Apex;
  • and, commenting on the general aflame-edness of Apex, a pick-up with some flammable barrels in the back, a propane delivery truck, a barbecue gone bad, and a sewer fire.

Behold, the flaming glory of Apex City,
home of the Silver Age Martian Manhunter!

Click on map for a blaze of close-up glory.

Who says Martian Manhunter lived in a nondescript urban locale? Surely, this map could only be
Apex City! Believe it or not, I didn't even begin to exhaust the catalog of Apexian locales. However, one can only reasonably place so many landmarks on one tiny Heroclix map. Places I didn't put on it, but wanted to, include:
  • the Apex Warehouse ("The Defeat of J'onn J'onnz"),
  • the Apex Movie Studios ("The Mixed Up Martian Powers")
  • the Apex Paint Company ("The One-Man Army")
  • the Oil Cracking Plant "The Alien Bodyguard'),
  • Flamingo Stadium ("The Case of the Magic Baseball")
  • the Benton Optical Company ("Escape to the Stars")
  • the United Oil Company ("Ordeal By Fire")
  • Jones' Fancy Fruits ("The Impossible Manhunt" and "The Mystery of the Martian Marauders")
  • the Balloon Factory near the Government Vaults ("The Crime King of Mount Olympus")
  • the Mythological Museum ("The Crime King of Mount Olympus")
  • Wilmore Flights ("The Impossible Messages"),
  • the Glenwood Museum of History ("The Man Who Exposed John Jones"),
  • water towers (they're all over the dang place!)
  • the "Carnival of Doom",
  • the Jewelers Building ("The King of the Underworld")
  • the Yardley Toy Company ("The Crime Conjurer")
  • the abandoned circus grounds ("Earth Detective for a Day")
  • the Sam Jones Museum of Famous American Ships ("The Impossible Manhunt")
  • the International Fairgrounds ("The Animal Crime Kingdom")
  • the Mansfield-Cowan Company ("The Phantom Bodyguard")
  • the Ardmore Natural History Museum ("The Crime Conjurer"),
  • Marsville ("The Menace of Marsville"),
  • the Jones Waxworks ("The Impossible Manhunt"),
  • the Jason Warehouse ("The Hero Maker"),
  • West Street ("The Crime King of Mount Olympus")
  • the Croyden Art Shop ("The Man Who Exposed John Jones"),
  • the Modern Art Museum ("John Jones' Super-Secret")
  • Swathmore Jewelry Salon ("The Ex-Convicts Club")
  • the Barnes Museum ("John Jones' Female Nemesis")
  • the Floating Island ("The Amazing One-Man Crew"),
  • the Martian Manhunter Museum (from "The J'onn J'onnz Museum")
  • the Clang Bank (in "The Getaway King").
Apex City is FULL of landmarks. In fact, you now know more landmarks in Apex City than you can name in any other DCU city. While some of them are fairly generic, others are surely hapax phenomena. I mean, c'mon. Floating Islands? The Mythological Museum? Giant irradiated rooftop clocks? The Famous American Ship Museum? An entire building with nothing but jewelers in it? A phosphorescent statue of Atlas? Balloon factories? A life-size reproduction of a Martian neighborhood? Fancy Fruit stores? Apex is a veritable freak show; no wonder J'onn feels at home there. DC needs to bring back Apex City and put the Martian Manhunter there again to get him a chance to build up a great following for his adventures in a city that's very much his own... and every bit as eclectically bizarre as he is.


Red flame terrain does 2 clicks damage, and the yellow does 1 click. The rules for it are printed on the map (over on Rainbow Beach), including special rules for the Martian Manhunter himself.
  • His defensive powers don't work against flame terrain (duh!);
  • yellow flame turns off one of his powers, red flame two of them; as long as he's not in flame terrain,
  • he can destroy it with an attack, turning it to regular hindering terrain ("I'll use my Martian lung power!")
The higher buildings (Police HQ, the Ace Time Building, the Apex Loan Building, and the Planetarium) are blocking terrain; the other buildings (including the Ajax Apartments) are elevated terrain and usually have handy fire escapes as ladders.

Yes, that is hindering terrain atop the Ajax Apartments and flame terrain atop the Fireworks Factory.
Yes, the stairs at the boardwalk are just for decoration.
Yes, the Broken Hydrant special object token can be used to turn flame terrain into water terrain.


Diabolu Frank said...

Hilarious! Much linking to come later in the week...

Unknown said...

Is it just me or does Apex City have a lot of businesses owned by people named Jones?

Given the Sam Jones Museum of Famous American Ships perhaps Sam Jones was the city's founder and his descendants still own much of the real estate.

Anonymous said...

Hi, scipio. Happy April 1.

1. How does J'onn react to a blue flame?

2. Perhaps there should be an Oreo cookie museum in Apex City.

Scipio said...

1. Badly.

2. And in every other major city in America!

Gus Casals said...

Hey, how many "Jones" businesses are there in Apex?

Either J'onn was very clever in choosing a non-descript name... or he has been using his martian powers, charms and gold to become a big fish in the Apex swim tank.

Btw, beautiful work, Scip.

Gus Casals said...

Sorry about the repeat about the Joneses, and btw, future Martian Manhunter Heroclix maps SHOULD include Apex Movie Studios. Think of the possibilities! And think of the flammable possibilities!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SallyP said...

I stand in awe at the length and breadth of your dedication. Who knew how rich the landscape of J'onn J'onnz even WAS!

Apex City sounds like a fun place, with all the fires and the afternoon meteor showers.

Anonymous said...

others are surely hapax phenomena. I mean, c'mon. Floating Islands? The Mythological Museum? Giant irradiated rooftop clocks? The Famous American Ship Museum? An entire building with nothing but jewelers in it? A phosphorescent statue of Atlas? Balloon factories? A life-size reproduction of a Martian neighborhood? Fancy Fruit stores? Apex is a veritable freak show; no wonder J'onn feels at home there.

Well, we do have a counterpart in our own "real" world: Baltimore. Specifically, the Inner Harbor.
Where else can you find a museum dedicated to comic books (thanks again, Tom; Andrew and I loved it), a building with a Bill Fingeresque giant guitar on top, paddle-boats shaped like dragons, and a science museum with a giant robot crab?? I kid you not, the thing looks like a trophy from one of Batman's battles with the Zodiac Master. Or maybe the Terrible Trio.

Anonymous said...

You just know the Apex City Balloon Factory uses good old-fashioned hydrogen to provide lift for its balloons, dirigibles, and blimps, don't you?

Anonymous said...

After seeing your list of landmarks, I'm conceding that it is NOT Pensacola.

The Heroclix map makes me think of Redondo Beach, but that's in California. And then I started thinking of all the cities in Florida that look like Redondo Beach.

Bravo. You have turned my dreams to ashes.

Hope you're proud ...

Scipio said...


No prob; it's what I do!

Captain Infinity said...

I would totally buy a Martian Manhunter series if it was set in Apex City.

Anonymous said...

That was an amazing feat of research, great work!

Raphael said...

What namely you are writing is a horrible mistake.
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Redforce said...

I was recently watching a YouTube video about all the versions of Gotham, and the person who made it feels that the BTaS version of Gotham is the definitive version, with all it's weird art-deco / noir buildings. Then I looked at maps of Metropolis. Then I re-read this post. I realized something... ALL superhero fictionopoli (??) should be weird and off-kilter, to reflect the hero(es) and villains there. Much better than using a 'real' city.

And 'real' detailed maps of such a city? Preposterous. The map should be a bit weird and off-kilter too.