An Open Reply To Michael Netzer
You know I love you right? I've told you enough times, you're one of my favourite people. I'd happily walk through fire for you and I'll defend you to the death, however I have to ask, with all due respect, what the devil are you thinking about approaching DC with an empassioned plea to save J'onn J'onnz: The Martian Manhunter? You know it won't work, it could never work, and there's several good reasons for this. But by begging DC to do the decent thing and not kill off one of their oldest characters is just playing into their hands.
What kills a comic book character quicker than poor sales? Interest. Apathy will always save a character from being killed. The title might be canceled, but the character will survive until someone like Frank Miller comes along and rapes it. But hey, it's there. Barring acts of God and Miller, someone might pop along and go, "Hey, I've always wanted to bring back Tappin' Tommy, I might do so in this issue and have him take out the Hulk and the entire roster of the Defenders again with his smoking tap dance moves, top hat and cane." God love that other Millar, Mark. Still showing absolutely no interest in a character has always been the best way to go. Who wants to create an 'event' with a character that no-one cars about? Sure, kill off all of Team America. Who gives a fat rats? I even know who I'd nominate to write and draw that one shot. But once people show an interest in a character, or a title, then the companies, as you'd know better than I do, can't wait to upset any status quo that might have existed and totally shaft what readers are left. If that character is considered to be loved, hot damn, even better. Let's kill the bastards while someone is still shelling out their hard earnt for it.
So, if you want to save J'onn, stop being a martyr and just show no interest at all. Don't buy the books, stop blogging, stop drawing attention to it. Easy.
Meanwhile you know, better than I do, that the following will happen:
1] DC will kill off the Manhunter because it'll mean an instant sales spike. Nothing that is said, or done, will change that, hey - the more people who complain the better. As I've just said, if you whinge, they will kill it. If you cry, they will laugh. And they will count the dollars you give them.
2] DC will then launch a new series. They will offer up the following, a clone, a J'onn from the past, an impostor or a ghost. Remember, this is the company that killed their flagship character, Superman, and gave us no less than four replacements only to reveal that none of them were the one, true Superman (and while we're at it I'm waiting for the big reveal that the final guy wasn't Superman at all, but an energy being created by the Eradicator, with the real thing still lying in suspended animation waiting for yet another re-boot - don't laugh, odder things have happened). They've killed Robin, more than once it now appears. They broke Batman's back, hell they even killed the 'original' Batman (anyone remember that?), not to mention Supergirl, Green Lantern, The Spectre and the Flash. Some have come back since, as we know, no-one is really dead in comic book land, not even Bucky!
Here's a funny thing. Mid 2007 Norm Breyfogle and myself brainstormed and pitched an idea to DC regarding the one, true death of Batman. Never heard from them. Silence. Nada. Not even a "Jeez, guy, that sucks." Maxwell Smart heard more in his Cone Of Silence. I ran the proposal past a few people, including Alan Weiss who offered up some brilliant suggestions. It even had the best title that I could think about, a mysterious title that would have gotten a lot of attention, along with a great concept. In my dreams the book would have been drawn by Norm and inked by Norm, along with a host of artists as guest inkers - yourself, Weiss, Alan Kupperberg, Rich Buckler, Bob Almond, Mark McKenna, Steve Mitchell, Jimmy Tournas - everyone I've ever met, in my dreams, had a hand in this, one page at a time, barring the splash page and the death page, which would be pure Norm. Hell, I now want to get Fred Hembeck in there somewhere. Everyone loved it (barring one person who believes that Batman can beat anything and is, by default, immortal, but we don't get into that), but clearly DC didn't. I even wrote an out for DC: you see Bruce Wayne dies, but Batman lives on. Nope, not good enough. Nothing. So if I can't kill Batman, and I mean properly kill him, what makes you think you can save J'onn? Oh, and remind me to show you the proposal one day.
3] Eventually the real J'onn will come back to life. As he's a Martian he can't really die. It'll be revealed that he's some form of a Proty and cannot die, he just melts a bit, regenerates and comes back to life. So fret not, J'onn might have a long sleep, but he ain't gonna die. After all, who, in comic book land, is really dead. I mean proper dead. No-one. Don't let Marvel fool you, Captain America, and by that I mean the Steve Rogers Captain America, will be back soon enough. It's 2008. There'll be a build up and eventually the character will explode back into the books sometime around March 2011, to celebrate his 70th anniversary. Count on it. In fact, anyone out there want to bet on it?
How do you change any of this? Here's the hot wire to the head - you can't. Offering your services up to the title, even for free, won't change anything. Indeed the opposite - they'll just get you to draw the death scenes. Hey, as much as I'd love to see you back on a mainstream title, and it'd be almost too cool to see you revisit a title that you once drew, let's face it, if God Himself appeared before the DC brass and offered to pencil the title, with Neal Adams and Jim Lee inking it and Frank Miller writing it, DC would still ask for the character to be killed off. That they could boast a creative team of Miller-God-Adams-Lee would only be cream. So if God can't save J'onn, what chance have you got?
Face it. J'onn is dead already. The minute you and Frank Lee Delano began to protest you signed his death warrant. You drove the flaming sword through his green heart. Have a look at the Hembeck image here, it'll give you an idea of what's going to kill ole J'onn - a flaming team-up cross over. By now DC will have read your words and be drawing blood with their hand wringing. Thus when the Death Of J'onn J'onzz happens it'll be on a lot of people's heads, but not DCs. After all they're only doing what they believe you, Frank and everyone else out there wants - which is to generate interest in an otherwise fading character. And if it's not J'onn then it'll be the only other character that they've not killed and brought back to life yet, Aquaman. And why hasn't Aquaman died yet?
Because no-one would care less.
Think about it.
Drop me a line and we'll draw some more blood.