When Martian Manhunter was first introduced in the 1950s, his human disguise was that of John Jones, a white detective. However, in several excellent depictions since then, he has been portrayed by black actors, including Carl Lumbly, David Harewood, and Harry Lennix. What was the first instance, in either animation or live-action, where Martian Manhunter was portrayed by a black actor? Is there any information in regards to why this became a trend when casting the character in other media?

  • 1
    I don't remember seeing J'onn being portrayed as a man of color in any comics (at least the ones that I've read). Therefore, IMO, the first depiction of J'onn as a black man would be DEO's Director Hank Henshaw in CW's Supergirl.
    – Shreedhar
    Apr 6, 2021 at 12:42
  • 1
    @Shreedhar Can't forget about Phil Morris on Smallville. Apr 6, 2021 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


In the comics, it appears that his first portrayal as a black man was when he was impersonating Bloodwynd as a member of the Justice League.

In live-action, it appears his first black appearance was in Smallville S6:E8 Static as portrayed by Phil Morris. Originally aired November 16, 2006.

I can't find an example in animation where he assumes a human form that is of a black individual. In DCAU Justice League when they go underground in Starcrossed three-part he is a white man. later in the Justice League Unlimited, when he takes a sabbatical from league business, he is an elderly Asian man. In The Batman as Detective John Jones he is a white man.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.