Friday, April 23, 2010

HKC's Longbox: Manhunter (Mark Shaw)

I've decided to start presenting a feature here at the blog focusing on short-lived titles that I collected and had a great love for during my youth that are either now forgotten....or nobody really gives a crap about these days. I've decided to title it "HKC's Longbox"....because this is the kinda crap I've been carrying around for a little over 30 years in longboxes.

Around 1987 or so, I was a follower of writer John Ostander's work at DC Comics, having been a fan for a year or so of his run of Suicide Squad. I thought this particular incarnation of the concept was pretty brilliant thinking on his part, and even though I really didn't enjoy (in hindsight) some of the things that came out of DC's most-recent "event" book, Millenium, I was eagerly awaiting this new take on the Manhunter property that he was going to be involved with because I found it too to be a pretty innovative idea, comic book-wise.

The concept was simple: Mark Shaw was a costumed bounty hunter....who specialized in bounties involving super-powered criminals. Here's a hero who actually sought to profit on taking down bad guys. One of the typical cliched conventions of superheroes I always found kinda weird was the idea that once you received super-powers, a magic ring, were rocketted from a doomed planet, struck by lightning, got hit by a gamma always suddenly grew a set of morals and a a code of ethics.

Download First Issue Special #5- the first appearence of Mark Shaw, Manhunter

The Mark Shaw Manhunter incarnation was a concept that had been created by Jack Kirby, used once in the 1970s, and discarded. Other writers picked up on it in the years that followed but kept changing Shaw's costumed alter egos (at one point, he was a pirate themed character called The Privateer and a cosmic powered bad guy calling himself the Star Tsar), but nothing seemed to stick. Thankfully, after the Millenium cross-over, where it was revealed the secret society/cult that saw first encountered and gave him the mantle of Manhunter was actually in league with the evil android Green Lantern villians, Shaw turned back into a good guy, and after the Manhunters were destroyed (at least for a short time), became the only person in the DCU to carry that mantle.

Download Manhunter #1-24 (1987-89)



1 comment:

Caine said...

Nice post. One of my all time faovorites as well. I had no idea that first issue even existed so thanks for exposing me to it. :) I've done my own posts about Mark here: