Comic Cards Project: Day 31 • Martian Manhunter and Zook

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The awkwardly named hero Martian Manhunter was accidentally brought to earth by an elderly scientist testing a new invention. The shock of materializing a man from Mars was too much for the scientist’s weak heart and he died, leaving the alien J’onn J’onzz (pronounced John Jones) stranded, unable to return to his home world.

J’onzz got a job as a police detective and used his many Martian powers to fight crime. His ability to change his shape allowed him to take on the appearance of an ordinary earthling and mask his conspicuous green skin. He could also fly, turn invisible, and walk through solid objects. But that’s not all! He also had super strength and x-ray vision. Nearly invulnerable, his only weakness was fire.

J’onn J’onz had his own feature from 1955-1969—first in the back of Detective Comics and then in House of Mystery. About halfway through his run he acquired an alien pet from another dimension named Zook who talked in a kind of broken english/baby talk. Zook had the power to radiate extreme hot or cold, change his size, and use his antennae like a bloodhound to track down anyone he’d encountered. With more powers than even Superman, it’s hard to imagine why the writers thought the Manhunter needed some help—especially from such a goofy character.

Illustrating one playing card a day using characters found between 1957-1967 in DC Comics. Next: Supergirl!

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