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Fanzing Mailroom graphic by Jeremy Greene

Just like last month, the bulk of our reader mail was in response to the Springboard proposal, the Animated series feature, and other fiction pieces. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to remind our readers that we do have a Features section! In the meantime, on with the mail bag.

I am writing about the Plastic Man comic by Kurt Belcher. i just wanted to say that yes, I would buy it and I thought it was great! What an imagination! And the art looks really cool. :) There is a lot of creativity on the part of Kurt. keep him around for FANZING but yes, DC should hire him as well! :)

Kim1kp@aol.com

This looks really cool. I especially like the idea of Plas and Hourman meeting up with Offspring, but the whole first year build up looks like it has a lot of potential, too. I'd shell out for the first few issues, and pick up occasional issues even if it was a mediocre book, but if the first few issues were really good, I'd definitely stick with it.

Casey Kirkpatrick
Thank you for both for your comments. We hope to have Kurt around here for a long time! -LFD

Hello there!!!!!! =)

I LOVE your FANZING magazine… I'm a fairly new reader and I enjoy the animated column immensely. I was wondering what the artist's email address is?.

I hope you can help me on this. I'd really love to have Bob do a online comic book for me.

Sincerely
Hans Christian Vang
Skyline Studios
http://hjem.get2net.dk/hans_christian_vang/
hcvang@get2net.dk
Bob Riley is a man with talent, to be sure! If you go to our staff page you should find the links that you need to contact him. -LFD

Gentlemen and Ladies:  

The Batty Bunch.   Groooooaaaaaaannnnnnnn.  At least it beat "The Beetle Bunch" (the Giffen JLA moving in together--hey, wait a minute--that WAS the Giffen JLA….)  

Greg Gick

Dear Louise and Marilee,

I read the Batty Bunch stuff earlier today, and I'm still laughing. :) Even though I saw the pic on the main page, as well as the title, I didn't realize you were doing something based on the Brady Bunch, until I saw that tic-tac-toe pic-by-pic standard Brady intro pic, with Kory starting it off, then Dick, and by then, I got the drift, and I couldn't stop laughing!

And I totally was unprepared for who was in the middle! Seeing Bruce there, and his expression…it sent me over the edge. :)

April J. Ester? April Jester? :) I liked your choice of Charlie and Billy Ray for the first theme song, and I thought if BRC couldn't do it, Junior Brown would be pretty good for it, too. Great re -wording of the Brady theme, too, in the second song!

I was a little skeptical about the kids' hero-names being so similar, and the fact that temporally, Alfred should've been quite a bit older, but then I remembered what you said in the beginning, that it didn't have to completely follow DCU continuity.

I liked Miranda the best (aside from Nightstar, of course :) ), but then, I also liked Jan Brady (from the Brady Bunch) and Erin Walton (of the Waltons), who both happen to be the middle of three sisters. Seems to be a pattern here. :)

I loved the pilot, but I got a little overwhelmed by the number of episodes. I felt that there was too much of a good thing, so I read about half of them, got discouraged, and saved the rest for later. :)

But you seemed to forget one of the most important plots in the show, something that would make for a great cliffhanger -- the return of Babs!

(Yeah, like you didn't already know I was gonna say that.) ;)

I'm still laughing. :) Great, great work, y'all!

Loren Di Iorio
yu214952@yorku.ca
Marilee replies:Hey back, yourself! Well, since that was the whole point of the exercise (to make people laugh), I suppose we succeeded with you, didn't we? :) :) ;).

Yeah, when I saw the initial sketch of the opening montage, I broke up myself. Our artist, Bob Riley, really outdid himself there. As for the songs, Louise is our lyricist. And I agree, she did a great job there.

Sounds like Loren didn't get to the episode with the dunk tank and the Lazarus Pit chemicals yet, did he, Louise?

Loren… How do you even know about Jan Brady and Erin Walton?!? Aren't you like in your early 20's?!? These should have been way before your time!! :) :) ;).

Hey!!! You can never get too much of a good thing! As per your comments on Babs, <sigh>… and he was doing so well. :) :) ;) I wouldn't push it here, Loren. No? You? Predictable? Who woulda thunk it? :) :) ;).

Thank you very much. Glad you enjoyed it.
So am I! -LFD

And look, Mari, you picked up another fan!

I discovered Fanzing a few months ago, and have been a big devotee of it. I just read Chapter 7 of Marilee Stephens' serial novel "Choices" and love the characterizations of the different Earths' heroes, as well as the extrapolations re their post-Crisis histories and offspring.

My best wishes to all at Fanzing for the terrific work you do,

Rahadyan Sastrowardoyo
rtsindo@erols.com
Mari's saga continues this month! -LFD

Hey, I just discovered, and subscribed to your site, and I would love to contribute. I am a 29 year old Canadian student who has been reading DC Comics for most of my life. The characters who really got me hooked were the sidekicks who were in the original Teen Titans. When Perez and Wolfman did them in the 80's I was in heaven.

The recent JLA/Titans series was totally kick-ass, and Devin Grayson knows what she's doing. I would love the chance to be the interviewer for your Titans issue in July, or at least participate, somehow. Let me know what I can do, and I would gladly take part.

If you want more info about me, or whatever, get back to me.

Aaron Buhl
Vancouver, BC, Canada
FANZING Editor-In Chief Michael Hutchison replies: To join the staff: First, go to http://www.fanzing.com/lineup.htmand bookmark the site; that's the staff insider page.

Second, at the bottom of the page is the "Fanzingers" listbot. Subscribe to that one, too..

So, are you enjoying "Choices"?

Thanks, Aaron! Nice to meet you.
And let me add my welcome, too, Aaron! Though we already have an interviewer for July, I don't believe there can ever be too many Titan's fans on staff! -LFD

Hi,   You folks put out a great fanzine which I look forward to each month.  Great work..  Keep up the great quality. I eagerly await each new issue.    

Eddy
eddy@pop01.odn.ne.jp

Just spent the last two hours downloading your extensive backlog of FANZING! Your site is a DC universe fanboy's Valhalla.

Thank you to all your writers/artists/webmeisters….your hard work has combined to enrich my comics experience immeasurably.

HOPLA!

Cary
cary@net1.nw.com.au
Oh, so that explains why Michael's wearing that helmet with bull horns attached and singing opera. Though we're still wondering about the long blonde braids… Many thanks, Cary!

Dear FANZING;

I've just discovered your website this week. I've been reading some of your articles and columns dealing with the DC universe. I'm using my computer at work, so the comments will be straight to the point. I don't usually use my work computer for personal interests, but since I don't have my own own personal computer, I feel I must comment on things relative to J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter from Mars and his alien partner Zook, and, on some golden age DC heroes.

I've been a J'onn J'onzz fan ever since I first saw him in Detective Comics no. 271. Throughout his checkered comic book life there have always been inconsistencies. However, I followed his strip even when it was transferred to House of Mystery. He is my favorite Justice Leaguer. Throughout the Detective and House appearances, there was always a uniqueness about him which I felt was ruined when Denny O'Neill wrote that story in Justice League of America (was it issue no. 71?), which introduced Commander Blanx and changed the Manhunter's total continuity forever.

I've read that first J'onn J'onzz story in Detective Comics no. 225 a number of times because it has been reprinted so many times. But I've never read his adventures beyond Detective no. 226 and before 271. I've also missed his adventures between 272-274. In the adventures I did read in Detective and House, there was some sort of continuity although his personal Martian history didn't always jive.

Anyway, what I've gathered about J'onn J'onzz before losing his strip in House of Mystery is this: He was a scientist on Mars, not a warrior. He was at home when Dr. Erdel transported him to Earth. He lived with his mother, father, and kid brother. Martians did not have super-powers on Mars, only on Earth and other planets. Earthmen on Mars would have the super-powers Martians would have on Earth. For the longest time he kept his Martian identity secret from Earth people, but sometime before Detective 275 he went public. As John Jones, police detective, he worked under the command of Captain Harding of the Middletown police department. His constant companion in his job was policewoman Diane Meade. Captain Harding and Diane Meade were usually seen in police uniforms. John Jones could be seen wearing a blue suit.

In Detective no. 301, criminal Martians invaded Earth, and he returned to Mars for the first time since being stranded on Earth. Prior to this return trip, in, I think, Detective no. 286 (I'm doing this from memory; I don't have the issue anymore), his brother, T'omm J'onzz, was brought to Earth. He was going to stay on Earth, but J'onn convinced him that their parents could not stand the loss of another missing son. Had he stayed on Earth he could have been a member of the Teen Titans I guess.

In Detective no. 311, Zook was introduced. Zook was considered a non-speaking pet in that issue, but in no. 312, he was a super-powered assistant to the Manhunter, and he spoke from this issue on. Zook, to me, was the first naked super-hero in comics, even though he was referred to as an dimensional imp in the series. Captain Harding, Diane Meade, and Zook knew that the Manhunter's true name was J'onn J'onzz when the rest of the world didn't. The Manhunter's real name wasn't common knowledge to Earth people, except to those three and the Justice League of America. Zook knew that John Jones was in reality J'onn J'onzz, but Captain Harding and Diane did not know the Manhunter's secret identity.

In Justice League of America #5, Monty Moran, the Getaway Mastermind is referred to as an arch enemy of the Manhunter's, but I never saw him in Detective or House. It must have been before my time reading the strip. However, a one-time Batman villain, Arnold Hugo, became the Manhunter's arch foe, and could be considered the only one rogue in the Manhunter's rogue's gallery, not counting Mr. V in J'onn Jonzz's House of Mystery days.

In his last Detective issue, no. 326, the Manhunter met up with the Idol Head of Diabolu which caused the apparent death of John Jones to the general public. After this issue, the Manhunter went to House of Mystery where he met up with the constant monthly (and I felt annoying) threat of the Idol Head.

Only stories dealing with Arnold Hugo made a break of sorts in battling with the Idol Head. After the Idol head was defeated, J'onn J'onzz met up with the villainous group Vulture, during which he took on the identity of Marco Xavier. But to be honest, the stories dealing with Vulture were not really cohesive from one issue to another. By the Manhunter's last appearance in House of Mystery, J'onn J'onzz defeated Mr. V, or Faceless, as he was also called, in a story that did not make any sense at all. During his stint in House, Captain Harding and Diane were not seen anymore. Zook, however, was his constant companion in this series. Yet, even Zook was forgotten in that last House story. Zook has never been mentioned or talked about since then. No way, no how. DC, like with the original Red Tornado, ignores Zook's existence in current continuity. He was not even seen in the Crisis books.

In any case, I enjoyed reading J'onn J'onzz, Manhunter from Mars in Detective and House of Mystery. I've tried following his checkered career since then, but I have always been disappointed. After the Crisis, I just gave up on reading most of DC's books, and that meant giving up J'onn J'onzz in particular.

I've since bought Martian Manhunter no. 0, 1, and 2, and the annual recently. For various reasons I've decided not to continue reading the series. It's just not the Manhunter that I want to read about. There are some good points, but the stories don't really touch on J'onn J'onzz himself in the way I feel he should look and act.

I also miss Zook, T'omm J'onzz, the parents, Diane Meade, and Captain Harding. I felt they were the core supporting characters to the Manhunter. When he lost them, he lost one of the important ingredients that kept his strip in Detective going. I try not to live in the past, but I feel the Manhunter was better in the old days, despite some inconsistencies. Also, I thought the team of Green Arrow, Speedy, and J'onn J'onzz that was introduced in the Brave and the Bold no. 50 would grow and become popular and become part of the Manhunter and Green Arrow's mythos (despite the inconsistency in that story that Martians had space travel and that J'onn J'onzz could return to Mars whenever he wanted to). [I, too, wondered why J'onn couldn't ask Superman or Green Lantern to take him back to Mars in Justice League of America.]

That's all I have to say about J'onn J'onzz, and Zook, except that my favoritte JJ logo was in the House of Mystery series: "J'onn J'onzz the Manhunter from Mars". In the Detective series, it was "John Jones, the Manhunter from Mars".

In regards to DC's golden age heroes, I wish DC would use them with regularity. I wish DC would bring back the original Red Tornado, the Gay Ghost, the Ghost Patrol, and the many Quality heroes they own the rights to. I've obtained select Quality titles such as Crack Comics, Feature Comics, and Smash Comics, and through them I found tight woven tales and very fine heroes. I realize that in real time, most of the DC and Quality heroes would be dead by now, but the children and proteges could be introduced to keep the names and costumes alive.

Unfortunately, I find myself disappointed for the most part in the storytellers of the DC universe these days. The recent Black Condor series was just awful. And after 44 issues of Sandman Mystery Theater, I just couldn't take it anymore. The stories in that series was hard to appreciate, even though I tried to stick it out. By the way, Sandy, Sandman's partner's true last name is Hawkins, I believe.

I also wish that DC would stop killing off a golden age hero everytime one is brought back. Merlin and Tor are brought back in All-Star Comics no. 1 (new series), and before you know it, their lives are snuffed out. (To be fair, however, I haven't finished reading all the books in the JSA returns series, and I haven't read All-Star no. 2, yet.)

I truly wish that DC would shelve this post-crisis continuity. I don't care for it. I also wish that DC would bring back the Soldiers of Victory, as well as a present-day All-Star Squadron but under a different name. (All those All-Star Squadron members are more than a "squadron". The word doesn't define who they are.)

Meantime, I truly don't understand what hypertime really is, even though you tried to explain it.

I find I'm very opinionated when it comes to comics, especially with DC. However, I find myself agreeing with most of the commentary presented by FANZING. I wish you further success with your online magazine.

Sincerely yours,

Daniel C. Patri
Thank you, Daniel. If that's your "brief" letter, I look forward to hearing some more detailed comentary from you, either concerning FANZING or DC comics in general.

As regular readers know, FANZING has struggled with the decision about whether to go to a frames format, and, as the letter below illustrates, Michael has arrived at a solution that will hopefully satisfy all.

I'm a loyal reader of FANZING. True: I don't read from cover to cover, as it were; but I do read it every month.
I find that the frames are recommended. There's one problem with the frames though. The text frame cannot become wide enough for you to read the entire thing without scrolling left, and then scrolling to the right to read the beginning of the next line.
I understand that putting out a monthly magazine is difficult, as is. But, this is an inconvenience to the readers, faithful or not. And in the immortal words of Linda K. Matonich: "The audience is the reason we this. Without the audience, what do we have? NOTHING!!!!"
Thanx for your time. B'bye.

Pariah5207@aol.com
Michael replies: Right. You have a monitor setting of 640 x 480, which is too small to show both frames at full size. It is primarily for this reason that I created the "no frames" section.

An alternative would be to point at the link you want to open in the other frame (for ex: "Current Issue"), right-click your mouse to bring up the little menu and choose "Open Link in New Window". OR, you can always choose to open the frame in a new window. All three ways exist for you to get around the frames.

But I appreciate your suggestion. I think I'll make a note that non-frames should be used if you have a smaller monitor setting.

I'm also thinking about setting up a page which helps people optimize their settings. Not that I'm forcing anyone to do anything they don't want to do, but I know far too many people who don't even know you can CHANGE your viewing ratio or how fonts work on the web. As an example, check out http://www.fanzing.com/cheeks. I set up this page to demonstrate to my friend Cheeks (a.k.a. Kent Orlando) how his web site looked on different monitor settings. The tutorial works for anyone, even though it uses Cheeks' site as an example. (And if you haven't visited Cheeks' site, be sure to visit our links page!)

One side effect of the switch to frames is that, apparently, more readers are visiting our Archives. This month, we received two letters concerning features in back issues of FANZING. The first is a response to a Bat-Movie article from almost a year ago.

Dear Michael,

I read with interest your suggestion for Ra's Al Ghul to be the next Batman villain. I thought about that myself, but I think another Bat-villain that is often overlooked and underrated is none other than Prof. Hugo Strange. He was one of Batman's oldest enemies from way back when. Although he did appear in a cartoon or two, I think DC killed him off even BEFORE the Crisis.

Sure, he is the regular Mad Scientist, BUT he is cunning, he found out ON HIS OWN that Batman was Bruce Wayne, and he could use all these mind altering drugs (avoid the giants stuff!!) to truly trick Batman into doing the most atrocious crimes( short of murder!) and then, come from behind and replace Bruce Wayne as an evil Batman, with the REAL guy fighting back to save his reputation, vanquish Strange and reclaim his honor. Now THIS would be a great Batman story with lots of depth, a real chance to examine the Batman/Bruce Wayne character, and VERY challenging. Nah, almost TOO challenging for Hollywood, to make a TRULY GREAT Bat-movie…….  

Sincerely,
Brainard C. Leonora

P.S.: The above plot is, for the most part, LITERALLY taken from old Batman comic books that I have, or have had…..

This is from a reader who noticed some JSA artwork from issue #7.

Back in the early seventies I, being a youngster of about 12 or 13, was at my sister and brother-in-law's. Being curious as most boys do at that age I was playing in an old garage and came across several old grocery bags of comic books. Later I found my new brother-in-law had been an avid comic book collector from the sixties. I was intrigued by the art the stories and growing up in a farming area, the adventure. The comic book bug hit me and I've followed DC comics ever since. I have a trunk full of child hood memories; unfortunately, my brother-in-law sold his. I wish I had known.

But back to my question. I remember reading somewhere the origin of the Red Tornado and I watched as he developed and changed over the years sort of a comic book version of Star Trek's Data. I remember something said about not confusing this character with an earlier version of Ma Somebody who had donned a cape, red underwear and a bucket over her head. I'm curious to know more about this character and I noticed in one of the Justice Society pictures on your web page she was in the background by Superman and Dr. Midnight (FANZING Vol II No. 7).What can you tell me ?????

Jim Hoskins
jamesc@infowest.com
Michael replies:Well, I may have to do a piece on the Red Tornado, but just so you don't have to wait, here are the very basics:

There were TWO RTs. The first was a woman from a humor series who put on long red underwear, put a bucket over her head and grabbed a broom. Her being "almost a member of the JSA" was a funny story from back when continuity wasn't ironclad.

The second RT was an android built as a villain who rebelled against his creator and became a hero. It was later revealed that he was a
commingling of the android and a creature made of wind.

And, that's all, she wrote, for this month at FANZING. A reminder to all-- we will not be publishing in June due to the wedding and honeymoon of our EIC Michael. So let's wish him and his bride Melinda the very best on their big day, and FANZING will return in July. See you then!

Louise Freeman Davis

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