MARTIAN MANHUNTER: The Motion Picture Part 1 (2000)

Back when I had the "Rock of the JLA" site, I did a fan casting of higher-profile friends, enemies, and associates for a theoretical movie. In those days, I was stuck on WebTV, meaning almost all the pictures on the site were low-res found images off other sites. I wanted to preserve that project as it stood, so mistakes and lapses in quality are all intact. I think it holds up pretty well, though many of the actors are now too old, and Jennifer Jason Leigh wasn't in "Fried Green Tomatos. If we had IMDB back then, I didn't know it. Resized for space, part one of two, rolling...

The Motion Picture

WARNER BROTHERS does not Present
"MARTIAN MANHUNTER" AVERY BROOKS CLANCY BROWN with CHARLES FLEISHER as the voice of 'L-Ron' Music Composed by JEAN-MICHEL JARRE Character Animation and Visual Effects by INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC Executive Produced by NOBODY & This is a joke Produced by JOEL SILVER Written by J.M. DeMATTEIS and KEITH GIFFEN and MARK WAID and GRANT MORRISON THIS IS NOT A REAL MOVIE. I'M JUST PLAYING DON'T SUE ME Directed by JOE DANTE

Let's just be up front about this...There will never, ever be a Martian Manhunter movie. Even if one were ever produced, it would undoubtedly suck. If abominations like "Batman & Robin", "Superman 4:The Quest for Peace", and "Captain America" could happen, what chance has MM got?

On the other hand, most of these actors could potentially provide their voices to an animated show. Unlikly as that may be, I can tell you from experience that hearing Avery Brooks' voice while reading J'Onn in JLA just enrices a person's reading experience. Give it a shot...

Avery Brooks as The Manhunter from Mars
J'Onn shouldn't just be a tall guy with a deep voice. The actor has to be able to emote, even when he isn't speaking. When he does speak, the words should have weight, but he shouldn't come off as cold. I've always imagined a little cracking in J'Onn's voice, especially during his many heartfelt speeches. Brooks captures all of these things, plus he's fairly tall, to boot!

American History X
The Big Hit

Spencer for Hire (Hawk)
Star Trek:Deep Space Nine (Capt.Ben Sisko)

Clancy Brown as Despero
Anyone who saw the only good "Highlander" movie knows Clancy Brown can play a balls-to-the-walls destructive madman. If you caught "Stephen King's Pet Sematary", you know he can pull off the creepy serial killer part. What you may not know is that the same guy also provides the golden throat for Lex Luthor on the WB's Superman cartoon. He'll need a little bit of all three to play a sadist like Despero.

Blue Steel

Alyssa Milano as Gypsy
She's perky! She's tough in a cute way! She's Tony's daughter! How could they not be the boss of Judith Light? Who am I trying to kid? I'm not a huge fan of Gypsy to begin with, and all the actresses that came to mind are too old for the role. I do like Ms.Milano, and it's not like it's a demanding part. Bonus-She'll make anyone who plays MM look even taller!

Embrace of the Vampire
Poison Ivy 2

Melrose Place
Who's the Boss

Jennifer Jason Leigh as Cameron Chase
For this role, you need someone who's attractive without looking "Hollywood". She has to appear immediatly formitable, and noticably intelligent. In roles from Dorothy Parker to the "Single White Female" psycho, Leigh has proven that she's right for DEO Agent Chase. I think she can hold her own against a seven foot Martian, and still make it all believable.

Dorothy Parker and the Viscious Circle
Fried Green Tomatos

Don Cheadle as DEO Director Bones
Right off the bat, for those who don't know, Mister Bones was African-American. Second, Bones is a reformed who, who still believes he's doing the right thing by safeguarding the United States from the metahuman community.

Now, you've got to get the sense that this is a good man doing bad things, and you've got to get it across through nothing but a computer generated talking skeleton...and voice acting. Bones doesn't have one of those James Earl Jones reverb voices, so he's got to sound normal, yet sympathetic and devoted, even borderline fanatical and conniving. It would take a stunning talent to pull all that off, and his name is Don Cheadle. He's one hell of an actor, with roles ranging from an impassioned small town prosecutor to a drug-dealing hood caught up in a political race. He's even got the right build for the role, should the latex route be taken.

Boogie Nights
Devil in a Blue Dress
Hamburger Hill

Picket Fences

James Van Der Beek as Triumph
Have you ever read one of Wizard Magazine's comic book Casting Calls? I know I gag at some of their God-awful choices to play heroes that people actual care about. They just love picturing wrestlers, Baywatch babes, and soap stars as their favorite heroes. I usually don't, but visions of teen idols dance in my head when I think about Triumph. No one on Earth liked this egotistical pretty boy, who always whined about how he should have been one of the greats of the DCU. So, you need someone young and blond with that forced pseudo-depth required to deliver lines like, "I love Monica, but I can't betray Susan to my passion." Or maybe, "That's yer dream Daddy, not mahne!" Here's your guy!

Varsity Blues

Dawson's Creek


Desperately Seeking Despero in December '07

Art by Ian Churchill
From the cover of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #13, featuring Martian Manhunter foes Despero, Mongul, and Gorilla Grodd!
Advance-solicited; on sale May 21, 2008 * Poster * $7.99 US


The Vile Menagerie

Click To Enlarge

vile ('vîl) 1:morally despicable 2:physically repulsive 3:degrading, ignominious

menagerie (me-'na-je-ré) : a collection of wild animals esp. for exhibition

Featured Attractions of Pure Menace [Full Profiles:]
B'enn B'urnzz
Bel Juz
Commander Blanx
The Conjurer
Wiley Dalbert
Doctor Trap
The Hyperclan
The Marshal (Soldiers of the Red Brotherhood)
Master Gardener & the Lizard Men
Monty Moran: The Getaway King / Getaway Mastermind
The Osprey
Professor Arnold Hugo
The Prophet
The Pyre
Vandal Savage
Vulkor, the Capsule Master

Limited Engagements [Tagged Synopsis of Future Profile Recipients:]
Human Flame
N’orr Cott & R’es Eda
VULTURE & Mr.V/Faceless

Second Ring (One-Hit) Wonders [Story Synopsis:]
The Devil Men of Pluto
Alex Dunster, Cunning Scientific Mind
The Magician-Thief Who Had Super Powers
The Mercurian
The Mirror of Malador

Alley of Mug Shots [More Story Synopsis of Random Criminals:]
The Devon Mob w/Trigger Tom Taylor ('Tec #226)
Duffy, Serial Cop Killer (Showcase '96 #9)
Farrow Gang ('Tec #230)
Monte Fisk, Murderer ('Tec #227)
Andy Fletcher, Jewel Thief ('Tec #232)
Drexel Mansfield, the Millionaire ('Tec #229)

Emissions from the Idol-Head of Diabolu:
The Beings in the Color Rings
The Doom Shadow
The Giant Genie of Gensu
The Weird World of Gilgana
Iwangis--Creature King
The Man-Thing That Unearthed Secrets
The Orchestra of Doom
The Supernatural Masterpieces
The Venomee

You know those big binders of photos police stations keep to help identify criminals and suspects? They're called a "rogues gallery." I'm not sure who popularized the term in comic books, but I'm sure it's usage goes back to the days of Dick Tracy, at least. However, in comics, a rogues gallery typically refers to a collection of foes who regularly face down a specific super-hero. They usually do so individually at first, then start forming teams after failing so often to defeat a hero that they no longer pose a compelling threat to hold a reader's attention.

The term is most often used to represent foes of the Flash, and really the Barry Allen version's, but you'll often hear tell of Batman's rogues gallery, and so on. Some of these collectives even manage to become proper teams, like the Frightful Four, Masters of Evil, or the Sinister Six. Others just get tagged with a variation on the term "rogues gallery," like the "Deadly Foes of Spider-Man."

Now, the fact is very few fans know or acknowledge that, while they rarely act in concert, Martian Manhunter has accumulated his own very impressive rogues gallery. This is partly due to that same majority of fans not caring much about J'Onn or his history to begin with, but then that's the reason this blog exists.

To that end, back on the old "Rock" site, I decided I would not only spotlight the Martian Manhunter's "rogues," but even give them a collective name. Obviously, "rogues gallery" was my starting point, but I wanted something that implied a greater sense of scale and menace, preferably earning points on my vocabulary by coming up with an uncommon term. For whatever reason, I was drawn to the sophistication and mystique that went with the title of the Tennessee Williams play "The Glass Menagerie." Probably like Williams, I also figured "menagerie" was enough of a mouthful not to overburden it with a similarly challenging descriptive. One syllable. Four letters. Tight.

The Vile Menagerie.

Martian Manhunter villains have strange things in common... like eyes. They all have eyes. Sure, most super villains have eyes, but three like Despero? One-eyed jacks like Vandal Savage aren't uncommon, but what about the dozens of peepers covering Azmodel. Jeepers, Star Conqueror's creeper is bigger than Yugoslavia, and his minions plant a single eye across a person's face. How about Darkseid and Malefic's crimson orbs firing lethal energy at you? Plus, most are either aliens or immortals. Makes me miss Professor Hugo. Weird cats, I gotta tell you. Hell, I'll really tell you! I'll try to post a villain profile once every month or so from now until I run out...

Current as of 12/23/08