Jack Kirby's Forever People


Apr 15, 2020
I just read the collected #1-11 and it has made a great impact on me. Growing up I used to read Marvel more than DC, my local shop had Guardians of the Galaxy and New Warriors, and my aunt had the collected Secret Wars. So I am much more familiar with the Marvel universe than the DC.

But I wanted to see what Kirby did here with his own universe. It's so fascinating, because I think its decades ahead of his time, and yet the dialogue and character and story choices are completely of the early 70s. It's dated and also timeless.

One bit I love is Darkseid, the most powerful and evil creation of any comics universe, taking a walk through a funfair and having a chat with a man and his kid, then having an evil chuckle to himself about the fact that nobody realises he's a cosmic level mastermind. It's such a weird juxtaposition of the ordinary and the extreme, like Thanos depositing a cheque in a bank then Muwahahahaing that he's gonna destroy half the universe anyways.

"Young humans see me - even in "Happyland!" but you elders hide me with "cock and bull" stories to keep the promises smelling sweet."

The combination of aliens who also know 60s-70s US hippy slang is really striking as well. I get that he was making the Forever People to be the hippies of their culture. It's still funny to see these wacky superheroes sitting around making sandwiches in their brownstone hideout.

But still despite the dated Silver Age narratives (pointless Superman story appearance, Darkseid being able but unwilling to just kill the kids, the Anti-Life Equation being discovered and lost twice in anticlimactic ways), Kirby's creative vision still stands out here.

I haven't read the New Gods or the later stuff, but I can see how it would have an impact on DC's Universe, it's got so much strange richness to the ideas that you can't forget them.
I love the Fourth World stuff and really wish Kirby had been let loose to play.
Mister Miracle was (still is) my favourite - if only because of Big Barda.

Kirby's OMAC - though not part of the 4th World is worth a look too - some very odd stuff in there.
The wait for Kirby’s Fourth World titles was near unbearable with The New Gods #1 being the most anticipated comic ever, at least in our neighborhood.
I was very bemused when Kirby left Marvel for DC. To me that was similar to John Lennon quitting the Beatles to join Elvis Presley's backing band. Never that keen on the Forever People, but I remember the first issue of New Gods that I got my hands on was number three featuring the Black Racer. Well, if you can have a Silver Surfer, why shouldn't the angel of death be a black dude flying around on skis? Clearly this guy was all set to be the lead character ... except of course, the next issue goes whizzing off on a tangent and he was barely seen again!

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