His head comes off

By Mir
December 6, 2004

I’d like to introduce you to my son’s latest obsession. Perhaps some of you XY types can come on in here and lend me some of that insight that can only come from testosterone poisoning, because frankly, I am stumped. This is Martian Manhunter, a.k.a. John Jones, a.k.a. J’onn J’onzz (which I’m thinking is his rap star name). He’s evidently a very cool dude, and I–in my unhip femaleness and even worse, MOMness–am unable to grasp his inherent fabulousness. I see a big green ugly dude in a blue diaper (and let’s be honest here: the package? nonexistent. Perhaps he did too many steroids, poor guy) and ill-fitting boots. Also he appears to be wearing a toddler leash. But who am I to judge?

Here is what I know: Martian Manhunter has been present in every incarnation of the Justice League, even when Aquaman spearheaded a reorg. (It does not surprise me to learn that Aquaman felt the need to flex his muscles. The guy has gills; WOW, how SUPER!) He has a variety of superpowers that are just like Superman’s only different. Ummmmmm, yeah. And although he is of alien origin, he will lay down his life for humankind! Which is SUPER! Not DUMB, Mama! Heck, I’m a native here and I certainly wouldn’t risk death to save this pitiful species, but I guess they do things differently on Mars.

Back in the E.D. days (those are the Early Divorce days, for the uninitiated), my ex won an Oscar for his dynamic portrayal of Fun Daddy Who Is Terrified His Children Will Stop Loving Him Unless He Buys Them Lots Of Cool Stuff. It was a gripping performance and he earned that shiny statuette, I tell you. That era yielded a box of action figures for Monkey that would make any D.C. Comics fiend weep. I forget how many different Batmans (Batmen?) were in there. Every time I thought I’d seen them all, Monkey brought home a new one to show me. (“This Green Lantern doesn’t like the other Green Lantern, because they both want Cheetah to go ride bikes with them.” Alrighty then.)

The crown jewel of the collection is a Martian Manhunter figure dressed in some weird head-to-toe red get-up which I gather is some sort of disguise. Various pieces of it come off to reveal our hero much as he is pictured above… including his head. Yes, there’s a fairly normal human-looking head in a helmet, which can be removed to reveal the reptilian skull that draws my son’s steadfast worship. Martian Manhunter can be in diguise, or he can be SUPER.

For some reason, Monkey does not like it when I ask him what he and Super Iguana are doing. But, see, if I think of him as an anthropomorphized iguana, it creeps me out less. And, really, I love my son, and I want to understand him and share his interests. But so far every conversation about him has sort of gone like this:

Me: Monkey, what is it you like about Martian Manhunter?
Him: He’s super!
Me: Well, yes, okay, but what makes him super?
Him: He can go really fast! See? *waves him around in the air*
Me: Right, but so can most superheroes. What else can he do?
Him: Well, his head comes off!

This last is spoken with such rapt admiration, I haven’t been able to leave Monkey unattended for more than 60 seconds at a time, since. Most moms worry their little boys will tie a blanket on and leap off the bed, or try to pick up furniture. Me? I’m worried about self-decapitation in the name of super-ness. He has already told me that if I’m mean he will peel off his face and show me his true Martian self. It’s not that I doubt he may be from Mars, it’s just that I’m rather fond of the face he has now.

Anyway, Monkey’s birthday is fast approaching, and the previously agreed upon Justice League theme seems to be a perfect compromise. He gets Martian Manhunter, and I get other, non-head-removing mainstream heroes to point the other children towards. Despite Monkey’s excited suggestion that I make him a Martian Manhunter cake (which I’m guessing would make the little girls in attendance cry), I think I may have been able to talk him into a cake with a Super Monkey emblem (ala Superman), instead. Phew.

Now if I could just stop laying awake nights trying to figure out why a Martian is so darn determined to save Earth, that’d be good.


  1. Jay

    Yes…the lack of a package is distressing – certainly I was not the model for the doll.

    The head coming off asnwers the call of the savage beast that lurks within the male of the species (except of course for Michael Jackson). In fact multiple body parts are usually removed so it is safe to say that your wee one will be well adjusted.

  2. Mom

    Well, aren’t you silly? Clearly the Martian is determined to save Earth so that you can have your terrifying-but- oh-so-compelling DATE! Sheesh!

  3. alektra

    Just look at it this way:

    There have been lots and lots of little boys who probably loved Martian Manhunter. He’s an older character. And no one has blamed him for his lyrics telling them to worship the devil or anything. If you really want to know, though, I’d suggest calling up a comic book store (little ones are better) and see if one of the guys will help you. I’m sure if you explained, they’d actually help. After all, they get to TALK to a REAL GIRL. (I swear, whenever I went into a place, FIVE guys would be watching every move I made in the store.)

  4. Shiz

    “Now if I could just stop laying awake nights trying to figure out why a Martian is so darn determined to save Earth, that’d be good.”

    Isn’t it OBVIOUS? Adoration, worship, and sex from grateful earth women!

  5. Gina

    You lost me at “non-existent package”. Sorry.

  6. Laura

    You had me at “toddler harness”.

  7. Cece

    As the mother of another Martian Manhunter fan, there are two reasons (that I have ascertained so far) as to why little boys adore this guy.
    1. He’s green. Come on. He’s GREEN.
    2. He’s an alien. They like aliens.
    It’s as simple as that. Trust.

  8. Kira

    Get a load of Mir, trying to understand her BOYCHILD!
    As IF, girl! Just smile and nod and beat a retreat. No one gets hurt that way.

  9. Mike

    Oh, Ye of little DC comic knowledge. Martian Manhunter is, dare I say, a SUBLIME choice for Monkey to idolize. He is, more than Supes, The Hulk, Spidey and that big black Bat-guy combined a hero of conscience. He’s NOBLE–that’s the concept Monkey is unable to enunciate. You’re right–his very alien nature makes his devotion to mankind all the more honorable (he’s the last living Martian, too, so that doesn’t make him rooting for the home team much of an option)! I’d say GO, Monkey–good choice! And stay away from that Spiderman, he’s just a punk with a bug bite!! ;)

    Yes, I AM a geek. :)

  10. Sheryl

    Maybe I should be thankful my son likes Barbies.

  11. joshilyn

    Make him the cake, green, toddler harness, diaper, everything. The boy needs a cake with a head that comes off. COME ON. Kira made a MASK OF LIGHT cake.
    I know you can do it….and I SO want to see the PICTURES.

  12. Steve

    Of course J’onn J’onzz wants to save Earth. His motive?

    To Serve Man.

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