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CSBG Archive

When We First Met #17

Each day in June you’ll get an entry showing you the first appearance of seemingly minor characters, phrases, objects or events that later became notable parts of comic book lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!’” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of what I’ve featured so far.

Enjoy!

Today is a day of Martian Manhunter firsts!!

First Appearance of Martian Manhunter as a traditional superhero

During his first four years of publication, J’onn J’onnz, the Manhunter from Mars was basically a traditional crime-solver who just happened to have powers because he was secretly an alien. Secret was the operative term – he would use his powers while invisible so that no one knew that an alien was walking amongst them. That changed in 1959′s Detective Comics #273 when another Martian came to Earth…

After determining that he is a criminal, J’onn challenges him (but a problem arises)…

So what is more important to J’onn? Helping others or his low profile? Obviously, the former!!

You gotta love that it never occurs to J’onn that could be his way off of Earth.

Also, I think John was too coy at the end. He should have gotten progressively less vague. “In fact, Chief, you could say that ‘we are the same person’” and then try to play it off like a joke.

Luckily for J’onn, by the way, he began a superhero at JUST the right time, 1959. A year later, the Justice League of America was formed. If J’onn was still acting as a cop with powers, perhaps he would not have become a charter member of the Justice League!
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First mention of the Martian god H’ronmeer

Interestingly enough, it was not until 1986 that J’onn first mentioned H’ronmeer, in Justice League of America #256.

It just so happened that the great J.M. DeMatteis later scripted all of J’onn’s appearances in Justice League International as well as writing the Martian Manhunter mini-series (which featured H’ronmeer) so the Martian god was quickly accepted as just part of Martian Manhunter lore.
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First mention of J’onn’s love of Oreos

It happened in 1987′s Justice League International #8 (yes, the same issue that had the first “Bwah ha ha!”)…


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Feel free to send in ideas for future debuts I should feature here to bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

10 Comments

I remember reading that JLA issue at the time and wondering where H’ronmeer had been picked up from – never imagined it was brand new. Fascinating stuff.

The evil Martian was named B’rett? Do all Martians have commonplace Anglo-American names?

Well, Miss Martian is named M’gann M’orzz, a.k.a. Megan Morse, so … I’m going with yes.

J’onn is such a complex blend of stupid and awesome.

It was later revealed that chocolate IS addictive to martians, to the point J’onn had to go through an excruciating process to get rid of it. Turning a nice if goofy character quirk like that into a vice is just so cynical. -_-

By gum, is that JLI artwork delicious! Oh for the good ol’ days…

Takin’ a nap now.

OREOS! J’onn was wicked in the JLI days, the only one who should be allowed to use him these days is Morrison (see: JLA, especially Earth-2).

I’m with Sijo; taking a “goofy character quirk” like J’onn’s Oreo addiction and going all “grim and gritty” on it was symptomatic of the reasons I quit buying comics in the 90s. Too much pointless angst just sucked all the fun out of them.

Were you reading the same issue of Martian Manhunter I was? The whole “angsty Oreo addiction” was just a story J’onn was telling Kyle Rayner to illustrate the power of addiction. That and a chance for Ostrander to riff on the Hulk. I mean with lines like “Mars Needs Chocos!” and “J’onn Crush!” how could you take it seriously? The last page reveals it all. J’onn winks and asks “Want a cookie?”

Congratulations, A. Goldfish! (Can I call you A.?) You’ve beaten my record for commenting on a really old article, as mine record was only 6 months+/- (and no return comment). And yeah, perhaps I was a bit hasty, or just in rotten mood that day. As always, Ostrander had a great sense of humor.

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