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Friday, May 30, 2014 

John Ostrander responds to David Goyer's sleazy attack on the Martian Manhunter

Just like Stan Lee gave his response to Goyer for such a vulgar attack on She-Hulk, Ostrander's also got a reply based on Goyer's equally insulting attack on J'onn J'onzz. He also cited some choice words Goyer had for Martian Manhunter that I hadn't thought to bring up the last time, which were:
“How many people in the audience have heard of Martian Manhunter?” Following a healthy smattering of applause, Goyer joked, “How many people that raised their hands have ever been laid?”
What's that supposed to mean? That if almost everybody in the audience (which was doing no better than Goyer) has had sex and J'onn didn't, that makes him worthless? It sure is crude to say the character's trash just because he supposedly hasn't had sexual relations since he debuted in the mid-50s. But even if a writer comes along and features a decently written tale where J'onn starts a romantic relationship with an alien or human woman, I've got a hunch Goyer will still keep crapping on J'onn because it's only the "coolest" thing to do, in his sadly twisted view.

Ostrander goes on to explain the vision he and Tom Mandrake crafted for an ongoing they wrote in 1998-2001:
Goyer and I are in small agreement: I also felt that in many ways the Martian Manhunter was a green clone of Superman. He had most of the same powers and, instead of Kryptonite, his weakness was fire. When Tom and I did our series, we wanted to focus on what made him and Superman different. The principal one was that, while born an alien, Kal-El came to earth as an infant and was raised as a human. His values are Midwestern values. J’Onn came to earth as an adult; he was raised in a Martian culture. He’s not American; he is fundamentally alien – a Martian.

Tom and I decided we would investigate and explore Martian culture in our version. He was telepathic; his race was telepathic. What did that mean? What were the societal rules? Rape, for example, would not only be physical; it could be emotional and mental. On the flip side of the coin, sex would involve a melding of minds as well as a melding of bodies. With his race dead, J’Onn would be forever denied that. He could never again experience physical love on so deep a level.

Martians could fly, levitate, and pass through walls; their houses would have no doors or windows or stairs.

J’Onn can turn invisible; we had it that, on arriving on Earth, he saw and experienced how violent and paranoid humans can be. He chose a persona that allowed him to act like a human in order to better understand who and what we were. We had him having several other human identities as well [...]
Strength, flying and invisibility aren't the only powers J'onn's had: he's even been a shape-shifter, and his strength may not be as great as Superman's, if writers over the years reworked his powers to make J'onn more distinctive from Kal-El in terms of strength.
This might not matter but Goyer is right now the go-to writer for DC cinematic stories. If he has this little fundamental understanding of a mainstay DC character, how much will he have for other DC characters? It’s not that hard to check on what has been done; the Martian Manhunter entry on Wikipedia takes only a few minutes to read and its pretty accurate.
He's got a point. If Goyer considers himself qualified for superhero screenwriting, he can't put on such poor showmanship and disdain for broader knowledge, and his behavior doesn't reflect well on filmmakers either. He may have succeeded in dampening the appreciation anyone who's seen Man of Steel had for that movie, and with that arrogance, it's only more reason to worry Batman vs. Superman will turn out to be as insular as the premise already suggested.

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I'm not certain what Goyer meant with his joke about how many people who have heard of Martian Manhunter "have ever been laid." It sounded to me like he was saying that (1) the character is so esoteric that the only people who have heard of him are geeky fanboys, and (2) that those fanboys are nerdy losers who can't get a date. And this guy is "the go-to writer for DC cinematic stories"? It sounds like he has contempt not only for the characters, but for the audience. He is, in effect, biting the hand that feeds him.

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