J'onn J'onzz, aka DC's Martian Manhunter, is an impressive, powerful, tier-1 character. He has been a part of DC canon for over 65 years, with his first appearance coming in 1955.

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Depending on the story, he has been living amongst humans for years after initially coming here as a fully grown, centuries old Martian adult.

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J'onn's powers and history are notable, being seen on a similar strength (if not speed and durability) level as Superman, along with having greater mental powers, shape-shifting, and similarly enhanced senses. While similar in the whole "ultra powerful, last survivor of their planet" role, Jonn is also far older, with backstory elements reaching centuries. They have often been shown having a strong kinship and understanding comradery.

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The Manhunter was actually a part of the original Justice League of America comics....

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He's even featured in the very first JLA story, seen here...

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The character has had some notable development; while his initial secret identity was a Caucasian police officer, he has been notably played primarily----over the last 20 years especially---- by actors of color, both in voice work, and in physical roles. These portrayals were so recognized, they basically caused a bit of a "Ret-con," and now his human form of Detective Jon Jones (or rarely used other identities) is largely seen as having always been Afro American, a form J'onn takes on by choice...

Jonn's original human portrayal in omics, subsequent actors who have played him, and one of his latest animated incarnationsenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

That added diversity is one of the reason's the Manhunter was used as a "Founding member" of DCAU's 2000s Justice League series from the cartoon's start until it's end.

Oddly enough, though, the character never appeared in ANY of the earlier cartoon incarnations of the Super Team! To my memory, The Martian Manhunter was absent in most versions, from the 1967 "Cross over" toon....

to the 1973s Hanna-Barbera "Super Friends" version....

To Challenge of the Superfriends..

To when they moved solidly into the 1980s New Superfriends . This is notable because this was a period when they were adding entirely new heroes from different cultures to the team, some made specifically for the show itself...

To it's last Galactic Guardians intro...

By this point, however, Martian Manhunter had been a founding member of the League for over 25 years.

So, main question: Is there any official reason why Jonn Jones was never featured, or even mentioned in these older cartoons?

Did DC just not know how to use him, or was there some kind of issue to let Hanna-Barbera animate the character?

Was he simply not well known enough to be featured, and if so...why was that? Characters like El Dorado, Apache Chief and the Wonder Twins were completely new creations, so inserting an existing character with incredible powers (especially the mind reading and shape shifting) should have been easy enough...

Was there ever any "official" reason why this never occurred?

  • 2
    This seems very opinion-based. You think he's worthy of inclusion, but apparently the writers and producers didn't. He's certainly not the only moderately important comic-book character who's been overlooked in shows.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 8:18
  • 5
    "Should he have been omitted?" would be opinion-based. "Why was he omitted?" could be answered factually, though it might be difficult to discover the writers'/producers' reasons.
    – chepner
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 13:01
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    Virtually every major DC character made an appearance in the show, Martian Manhunter is conspicuous by his absence. I find the question interesting but pointing out all MM's other appearances is unnecessary.
    – Boelabaal
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 13:20
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    @chepner This s why all the questions I presented asked for fact or data based answers; having never seen him on the show personally, I queried as to why that might be. There was a reason, for example, no one else in the Bat-Family was really used heavily in Justice League during its run (I believe it was a licensing issue). And these were characters with *previously established existences WITHIN the DCAU;_ Batgirl and Supergirl were confirmed close friends. So I'm guessing there must have been some established reason as to why MM wasn't included in over 10 years of cartoons.
    – Russhiro
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 16:24
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    @Boelabaal I pointed this out to show just how relevant the character was, making his lack of visibility on the earlier shows even more injudicious. Considering he was a character that was round between 20-30 years, and was actually important to the original stories, it makes little sense. His appearance and alterations in future cartoons were meant to show that this character was important enough to evolve, and likely gained more import via that growth, so this is likely why he was included in later iterations. That explains the change in future shows, but not his past omissions.
    – Russhiro
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 16:28

1 Answer 1


He wasn't popular at that time.

TvTropes entry for Superfriends.

The Martian Manhunter is the only one of the core seven that didn't appear on the show. The character had been written out of the comics shortly before the show debuted and only appeared sporadically until the mid 80's, over 15 years in Comic-Book Limbo.

TvTropes Comic book limbo

Despite his eventual status as the heart of the League, Martian Manhunter was Put on a Bus in 1969 and only appeared sporadically until his return in the mid 1980's.

In the Superfriends comic, apparently he went back to Mars for awhile.

comic clip

Rando Kid: And whom do these wax figures represent?
Superman: Former members! J'onn J'onzz, Manhunter from Mars, left us when Mars become desolate and his people went to search for a new world!
Batman: And Snapper Carr was a junior member of the JLA, like you, while in his 'teens!

As Superman was allowed by DC to become a fully active member of the Justice League, J'onzz's appearances there dwindled. He last participated in a mission in his original tenure in #61 (March 1968), shortly before his solo series was discontinued (House of Mystery #173, May–June 1968). In #71, his people finally came to Earth for him and he left with them to found and become leader of New Mars. Over the next 15 years, J'onzz appeared sporadically in various DC titles. - Wikipedia

Given that his solo series wasn't a success, he wouldn't have been a driving character for the cartoon or comic series.

  • So wait...instead of "rebuilding"/re-branding an established, powerful character, they choose to make 5 or 6 "original" new characters (Apache Chief, El Dorado, Samurai, Firestorm, the Wonder Twins), most of which fell out of favor? That feels sort of nonsensical....
    – Russhiro
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 19:08
  • 1
    Never underestimate an executive's ability to make a bad business decision? Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 20:39
  • Alright, fair point.
    – Russhiro
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 21:05

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