26 comments on “P:R Invitational: Martian Manhunter by Paul Milligan
  1. …And the Martian Manhunter fits nicely in the ‘back three’ space characters of the JLA!

    With the leather straps and holster twinned with the 50′s lazer gun it bridges the rough space/shiny space divide nicely (see my comment in Hawkgirl I think…)

    I like the jaw guard (is that what we call it?!) and the three fingers are a nice touch. I also like the change from bodybuilder to lanky. I can see an opponent underestimating this manhunter’s strength and ending up the worse for it!

    I’m not sure about the repetition of the belt buckle, cape clasps, ankle guards, hand guards, harness clip, seems a bit much, but overall this is one of my faves.

  2. The design is classy. Very classy, to be precise. I love what you did to the silly red belts, giving them purpose. The high collar has been evolved nicely, and even the golden disks do not seem as arbitrary as inthe original Manhunter. The belt design looks great with the golden buckle. The shape of the cape fits well with the ensemble, and I totally dig the retro look of his holster. Great detailing with all the little rivets.
    He also looks very much like an alien trying to (poorly) imitate human physiology. Well done. (Oh my god, did I just recognise tiny Shrek-style ears? How utterly cute!)

    The colour scheme however – I don’t know. It cries “Mon-El” all over. Sure, it’s all there, the red, the blue (and the green), but I would have liked to see the colours used as cleverly as you did with the belts. As it is, it feels like you wanted to scram every colour into it that the original design had. I would encourage you to go wild on the colours, try what works best for the character. Even at the cost of parting with the original colour scheme.

    The 1930′s space gun is a fun extra. I’d drop it for the real deal, because – you know – it looks like the silliest toy ever. And even though I usually advise my pupils to go crazy on alien technology (“The may laugh at it, but they will STILL be incinerated, and then they will not laugh any more!”), I think it’s just a little too over the top for me.

  3. Very nice, more kitsch then i like but the suit is awesome. The cape is amazing, it has the high collar with a twist, it draws an MM on his chest and it’s rounded for a more weightless look. The orbital straps are cool but i don’t dig the brown.

  4. Been loving all of these, but this might just take the cake. Fantastic costume redesign with great little touches, and J’onn looks more alien. Love it.

  5. Appropriately zany. I love that the ray gun matches the costume, and the noseless, shrek-eared face is a winner.

  6. Badass. Of all the characters in the invitational so far, I think Martian Manhunter’s the most in need an overhaul. Love that you’ve taken a lot of elements from his classic look and improved upon them. I also think he works better when he looks more alien so that’s a welcome change. Probably my favorite element of the design it that he still has a crazy high collar, only now much cooler.

    And all Martian characters, in any story, should be required to have ray guns.

  7. First! hehe :) I really like this take on the costume. It’s fun, colourful and DEFINITELY alien (Im digging the shoes and the 2-in-1 alien nosemouth :D). Paul milligan did a great job on this one, for sure. Second only to the Zatanna imo!

  8. Oh man, I like that! The slim physique with the rounded head gives him more of a classic Martian look. The Buck Rogers-style gun, the use of brown leather straps to give it a touch of a tribal element, the colour reverse, while retaining the signature blue cape (and also giving a nod to MM being an opposite Superman) – It all works well, and works together as a concept.

  9. Walter Harrison:
    First! hehe :)

    Ummm… Maybe you would like to consider that all comments are published after moderation only? There is no way or need to go “first”. Sorry, back to topic.

    I just spotted something I had overlooked: the gun has a built-in lava-lamp? Okay, now it’s kind of cool… Nothing beats a gun that has to pre-heat before it can actually zap something – espacially when the bearer has a heat vision of his own. Because now, it adds to his personality. He’s like a modern cop using a civil war era Colt revolver. Just in a retro-martian way. Approved.

  10. This design owes a good deal to his Final Crisis era togs. Particularly the cape/collar treatment, the full body stocking, and the de-emphasis on green in his overall palette.

  11. Possible my favorite of the whole project, really like the skinny awkward looking Manhunter, the inclusion of red for the union suit works really well. The whole retro Flash Gordon feel is perfect.

  12. I really like it, though I don’t get the straps on his wrists and ankles.

    If Flash turns out alright the Invitational will be batting .500 with me.

  13. I think that if someone said, “Ok, I have this character…he’s martian and he hunts men,” this is exactly what you’d get. There’s a John Carter influence, a Stephen Spielberg-Close Encounters influence, and yet, it looks like J’onn. Great job, Paul!

  14. I thought about it, the only thing i would change (and maybe I’m alone on this) is the brown of the straps to a darker red, like this the costume would remain true to it’s colors and he would be replicating the light blue/dark blue that works so well for the cape. I don’t like brown leather (hearth cow skin) straps on a martian dude.

  15. Mario Silva:
    I thought about it, the only thing i would change (and maybe I’m alone on this) is the brown of the straps to a darker red, like this the costume would remain true to it’s colors and he would be replicating the light blue/dark blue that works so well for the cape. I don’t likebrown leather (hearth cow skin) straps on a martian dude.

    Good objection to the “earth cow”-factor. But not more red, please. He’d look even more like Mon-El. No, if the brown in the straps has to go, so should the red.
    Mars is actually covered in greyish blue rocks and ochre sand. Look here: http://www.hschulte.de/Daten/Kosmos/Dateien/Bilder/marso.jpg
    I think that these would be martian military colours. Perhaps we could try these?

  16. Haven’t had a chance to visit the site lately because of business travel, but I am loving how this re-imagined JLA is shaping up.

    @the people decrying the red in general: while I understand your objections to the color on the individual design (too like Mon’El, etc.) look at the Martian’s line-up picture, then at Zatanna’s line-up, then back again. The boldness of the red makes the entire group picture pop! If for no other reason than for the sake of of the group picture, I think the red should stay (yes, I know the Flash will probably be red, so maybe the red can be toned down in favor for some more green on Martian–and no, my favorite color is not red).

    @Sam: I’m not sure the Martian was ever a military man myself–don’t know for sure, as I’m more of a DCAU fan than a DC comics one–so I’m not convinced need to commit to military “realism,” Martian or otherwise. And besides, maybe Martians are colorblind. Or they have better vision can see into other wavelengths, in the infrared or x-ray spectrums, so bright red and blue might be the best colors to camouflage yourself from other Martians.

    But even you don’t buy my scientific explanations, why do we need to follow realism anyways? Realism doesn’t always make for good design. Superheroes aren’t governed by the laws of realism anyways; they’re not just fantastical characters, they’re “gods,” and gods are nothing if not realistic. But maybe more than that, they’re “living” symbols. And a symbol that’s the color of grey Martian dirt isn’t one that I’d personally want to follow.

    @Mario: maybe it’s not leather. Maybe it’s a synthetic material that just happens to be brown and that we assume to be leather. Or maybe the whole costume is actually the result of the Martian’s shape-shifting abilities.

    The thing I do want to get rid of is that ray gun. Yes, it’s fun, quirky, whimsical, and adds to a design that invokes 40′s science fiction. However, it’s not in the character. The Martian’s supposed to be one of the most powerful beings on the planet aside from his weakness to fire (I like to think he’s more powerful than Superman–and apparently that’s supported by JLA #86), so why does he need a gun? Or if you think about it this way, why would a race with laser vision ever have invented guns?

  17. Gary:
    But even you don’t buy my scientific explanations, why do we need to follow realism anyways?Realism doesn’t always make for good design.Superheroes aren’t governed by the laws of realism anyways; they’re not just fantastical characters, they’re “gods,” and gods are nothing if not realistic.But maybe more than that, they’re “living” symbols.And a symbol that’s the color of grey Martian dirt isn’t one that I’d personally want to follow.

    Said it before and will say it again, a more realistic approach can give birth to weirder looks if you go far enough with the character. But since talk is cheap here’s my realistic shape of the martian.

    http://mariosilvaartdesigner.blogspot.com/2010/09/marios-martian-manhunter.html

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