David Harewood on How the Comics Influence His Martian Manhunter on 'Supergirl'

While he will not be appearing in next week's "Crisis on Earth-X" crossover, Martian Manhunter's role has increased this year on Supergirl -- and actor David Harewood, who plays J'Onn J'Onzz, told reporters during a recent set visit that he has been revisiting some of his favorite Martian Manhunter comics in the time since Martian religion, mythology, and culture began creeping into the show.

In particular, Harewood praised the work of John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake, who wrote and drew (respectively) the character's adventures in the late '90s and who became closely associated with J'Onn during his first big run at a solo book in the modern era.

"I really like the John Ostrander Martian Manhunter series, it's a brilliant book," Harewood said. "There are a couple of stories in there, things that stick out. Where he says he trained as a philosopher as well as a manhunter, and that he's always looking at both sides of the argument. [In the show], he has just slightly gotten into always looking one way. And having his father remind him of his heritage, it's kind of enabled J'Onn to take a step back and be a bit more relaxed about life and maybe a bit more philosophical about things, and hopefully that can play out in some of the scripts."

Besides simply being another green martian (and a family member) with whom he can spend time, J'Onn's father is a high priest of H'ronmeer, Mars's god, and has already brought a spiritual dimension to J'Onn's life on Earth and their relationship.

Whether or how these changes -- and the elements introduced in Ostrander and Mandrake's fan-favorite run on the comic -- will have a direct impact on the long-term storytelling is so far up in the air, but in the eent that actors playing a character onscreen can name-drop a specific run from the comics, it usually bodes well for fans of those stories.

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Supergirl airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.