Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vol. 2

So, after all the lunacy we went through in Volume 1 of the Martian Manhunter Showcase, what happens in the second Volume?

Everything gets stranger. Much stranger.

You think that's not possible?

How is it possible? In Volume 1, J'onn J'onnz had cars driving across his giant butt, used Martian finger snapping to cure cancer and square the circle, fought the Human Squirrel, and created ice cream cones out of thin air with his mind. Really, where can you go from there?

Well. I guess we'll see. One thing, I'll say; you do NOT go to "Middleton".

I reject the false doctrine of the Middletonites, and I hew to the Apex Creed:

I believe in one city, Apex City, home of the Martian Manhunter, and at all times, whether he's visible or invisible.

And in one J'onn J'onnz, the only-remaining son Mars, created in the Silver Age before all heroes; J'onn of J'onnz, lighted by firelight, very Silver of the Silver Age; written, not edited, being of one substance with the Schwartz, by whom all comics were made.

I've read both Volumes of Martian Manhunter Showcases, and there is only ONE mentioned of the putative "Middleton" as the home of the Martian Manhunter. And here it is:

Okay, in case you don't recognize my megalocranial friend there, that's Prof. Arnold Hugo, a one-off Batman foe (Detective Comics #306, August 1962, "The Wizard of a Thousand Menaces!"), whose biggest accomplishment was failing to create an artificial moon. Hugo's debut against Batman was in the same issue of Tec where Detective John Jones died (more on that later!). Arnold Hugo became the Martian Manhunter *snicker* arch-enemy. Sigh. I guess it was a step up from the Human Squirrel and the Human Flame.

Anyway, it's Arnold Hugo who identifies MM's town as "Middleton", and it's never mentioned again. A hapax legomenon uttered by a notorious lunatic, liar, and loser is nothing to base continuity on! I think Arnold's just raving. Or perhaps Middleton is a suburb or or neighborhood within Apex City.

Regardless... it's still clear we're in Apex City:


Ostrakos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ostrakos said...

Uh, wow...I haven't run across the term hapax legomenon since I taught AP Latin 6 years ago.

And should you really malign the Human Flame? He did take out the Martian Manhunter and even got his own limited series outta the deal.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I'm up to the section of the book where he is Marcos Xavier fighting Vulture, who looks like Don Rickles with opaque pantyhose over his head. That crazy Head of Diabolu kept popping up along the coastline, Scipio, so I think Middleton is just a nearby city to Apex, like Hialeah to Miami. But, man, aren't there a HUGE amount of run-down shacks in this volume?

Doctor Polaris said...

Apex Electro-what Corp?

Diamondrock said...

Boy oh boy. It seems that the JLA weren't the only ones who had to deal with "Fofeosity" back in the Silver Age...

Diabolu Frank said...

Hooey, I say, hooey! Now look he'ah-- in the very story you took a panel from, Detective Comics #322, Middletown is referenced four times. In the first panel after the splash, no less a reliable source than the Omniscient Narrator says, "In Captain Harding's Office at Middletown Police Headquarters."

In the second panel of page 3, the caption reads, "That same day, a copter hovers high above Middletown Bank, then..."

In the panel you yourself posted, the esteemed Professor Arnold Hugo, most assuredly a step up from one-off foe the Human Flame, and being of sound mind (as certified by his repeated prison sentences,) made clear that Middletown was the city J'onn J'onzz had "vowed to protect."

Finally, in the fourth panel on page 10, a caption reads "In Middletown, soon after, panic strikes suddenly, as..."

For further evidence, see my detailed synopsis of Detective Comics #322 (12/1963) and Justice League of America #144 (7/1977.) In the case of the latter, the story not only takes place in 1959 Middletown, but also retroactively ties Detective Comics #264 (2/1959) to Middletown. I also elaborate further on this matter in the article Do You Know The Way To Middletown? which features star testimony from Silver Age fan columnist Commander Benson.

I say, Middletown is not Apex City! You can't go back to Apex City! Why did Apex City get the works? That's nobody's business but Jack Schiff's!

Scipio said...

Yes, Doc. In Apex, people can just buy magnetism right off the shelf, apparently.

Rich said...

Considering the Kirby run on Jimmy Olsen, it's entirely possible that the Vulture IS Don Rickles with opaque pantyhose over his head.

SallyP said...

It is entirely probable that Middletown is simply a suburb of Apex City. Here in Connecticut we have all KINDS of little towns within towns. Burrville for example is actually a part of Torrington. There's Granby, North Granby, West Granby and East Granby, except that North Granby and West Granby are a part of Granby, but not East Granby which is a separate town.

God, I love New England.

Now...what was the question again?

Sea-of-Green said...

Wow, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis really could have used Martian Manhunter to lug around that life-sized statue of the brachiosaur last week!

steve mitchell said...

All kinds of super-villains have robotic or mechanical servitors. But Arnold Hugo has an army of INVISIBLE robots! For that alone, he makes it into my Silver Age Hall of Fame.

Pat said...

Ah, that explains something that was driving me crazy. I remembered for some reason that there was an issue of Detective where Batman and the Manhunter both battled this guy Hugo, but I guess it was just separate issues.

TotalToyz said...

Arnold Hugo has an army of INVISIBLE robots! For that alone, he makes it into my Silver Age Hall of Fame.

Bah. The poser probably bought them from Dr. Darrk at his yard sale. (Hourman foe, Adventure Comics #65, 1941)

steve mitchell said...

Silver Age, Dale. Remember I said Silver Age. And Darrk was on Earth-2. Arnold Hugo had the first invisible robots on Earth-1!

TotalToyz said...

Oh yes, that's right. On Earth-1, science didn't work in broad strokes like that until the Fifties.