Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cool Character: Manhunter (1970's Paul Kirk)

Clipped from Wikipedia: In 1973, the names of Manhunter and Paul Kirk were resurrected in a story by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson in Detective Comics #437 Simonson noted that:
He [Archie Goodwin] had this idea for doing a back-up story for Detective Comics which he was editing. He was going to do a lead Batman story and then have an eight-page short story in the back. He thought he would try to invent a character and do him in a way that contrasted with Batman. While Batman was dark and grim and very urban, this would be a guy in brighter colors and the whole world would be his stage. Where Batman was more or less an empty hand combatant, this guy would carry weaponry.
Contrary to popular belief, although the name was chosen as an acknowledgement of the 1940s character, it was not the original intent of the creators for this to be the same character. However, this link was later established within the series to quickly provide backstory within the limited eight-page structure.

Kirk carried and used primarily three weapons: a Bolo Mauser, a Katar (कटार), and two suriken "throwing stars". These are carried by Kirk as part of his costume, on the chest. Said Simonson of his costume design, "I did a bunch of preliminary designs and I think Archie thought my first costume was a little complex, but then I did a bunch of variations. They were just simpler and not as a good, so we went with the original design. The only difference was originally I’d given him nine throwing stars. Archie wanted to include martial arts in the strip and I came across something that said nine was a mystical number in some of the martial arts cultures. But somewhere along the way I realized that drawing nine throwing stars in every damn panel was going to be a big problem. So we fixed that!"

Paul Kirk had been killed by an elephant on safari in the 1940s, but his body had been cryogenically preserved and eventually resurrected by the Council, a secret society dedicated to controlling the world. After his return from death, Kirk was given a healing factor devised by a geneticist-member of the Council (it was later retconned that the healing factor was due to nanobots injected into him) and was trained extensively in the martial arts by Asano Nitobe. He was also the genetic source for many clones, which the Council intended to use as their paramilitary arm, with the original Paul Kirk as their leader. Manhunter defeated the Council, deliberately sacrificing his life to do so.

In the 1990s to create a one off story, the aforementioned "Final Chapter," with the Paul Kirk character, the project was terminated by the death of Goodwin while it was still in preliminary development before the dialogue was written. However, Walt Simonson's acted on his wife Louise's suggestion that the story be completed without dialogue as a "silent" story so as to not minimize Goodwin's contribution to it.

Action Figure and Statues Released by DC

Fan Made Mego Figure

Dork Note: The Manhunters' costume has that 1970's flair; which shouldn't work but does.

1 comment:

Kal said...

This was one character I always liked even though I didn't understand half of what was going on with him. His outfit is just the kind that I would have came up with when I read that comic.