Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus

Last night I finished volume 1 of this series published by DC Comics. It was marvelous (ouch!). Kirby is a legend in the comic book universe, and in 1970, DC hired him and gave him free rein.

He came up with three new titles -- The New Gods and The Forever People and Mister Miracle as well as taking over Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen. As the blurb on the cover says, Kirby rejuvenated the comics industry by introducing his unique vision of The Fourth World.

This four volume series will reproduce all those comics and make them available to a whole new generation of readers.

The art work is phenomenal. The imagination staggering and the new ideas prolific. I'm disappointed that they decided to use what appears to be the equivalent of comic book paper for the books. This might give a touch of authenticity, but it's unlikely to keep the book in pristine condition for very long.

Some of the names Kirby uses, such as Apokolips and Granny Goodness caused mild tittering. If I was a kid reading them for the first time, I probably wouldn't have reacted this way.

The continual use of hyperbole didn't sit well either. Here's an example:

WILD AREA! ZOOMWAY! HABITAT! OUTSIDERS! STRANGE NAMES IN A STRANGE WORLD WHICH WAS EVOLVED IN A GREAT NATURAL CAVERN BENEATH MODERN AMERICA! THIS IS THE WORLD OF THE "PROJECT" -- WHERE THE SECRET OF THE CENTURY HAS BEEN KEPT! THE HARNESSING OF THE DNA MOLECULE!!!! THE BREAKING OF THE GENETIC CODE!! MAN EXPERIMENTING WITH LIFE!!

If Kirby was alive today and typing this out, the exclamation mark key on his keyboard would be very shiny.

He also wasn't afraid to introduce new physics either. Here's the text from a couple of the panels in one of the issues that just made be burst out with laughter:

BEFORE HIS COMPANIONS BECOME AWARE, SUPERMAN TAKES TO THE SKY WITH FASTER-THAN-LIGHT SPEED AND HEADS FOR METROPOLIS IN THE DISTANCE!

AT THIS INCREDIBLE SPEED, SUPERMAN IS A STREAKING BLUR!

But then again, I'm not the target demographic that this publication is going after. 35-40 years ago, I would probably have been lapping it up.

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