IDW is celebrating Jack Kirby’s monumental contribution to American comics with a series of Artists Editions (Fantastic Four, Kamandi, Thor, Mister Miracle, New Gods) and other special editions (Jack Kirby: Pencils and Inks, Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby).
Kirby had a long and storied career, including work at Marvel (plus work at its predecessors, Timely and Atlas Comics) and DC. He also worked at Harvey Comics and many other labels. Kirby is one of the co-creators (along with Joe Simon) of Captain America. He and Simon even share cover art credit for that legendary issue (Captain America Comics #1, March 1941). Along with the living legend Stan Lee, Kirby co-created some of Marvel’s most popular titles, including The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, and the Incredible Hulk. It was in that era that he became known as Jack “King” Kirby, a nickname that stuck with him for the rest of his life. It was during his time at DC in the early 70’s that he created The Fourth World, a series of interconnected comics that pitted the New Genesis versus Apokolips. Probably the most well-known Fourth World figure is the evil ruler of Apokolips, Darkseid (who is rumored to be the villain of the upcoming Justice League movie).
Although the characters, settings, devices, and themes of the Fourth World’s New Genesis/Apokolips War appeared in many different DC titles, the three main titles that carried the story were the Forever People, the New Gods, and Mister Miracle.
The Forever People were a group of teenagers who were involved in the war on Earth. They fit the standard teenage tropes of their era.
Big Bear is a big, burly, friendly guy. He is the jock of the group, but he is not over-competitive. He is super-strong and he is the driver of their “car,” the Super-Cycle.
Mark Moonrider, nominally the first among equals, if not an appointed leader, is the normal teen hero. His super power is the “Megaton Touch.” He can make things blow up by touching them, but he has the ability to control it, ranging from stun to melting solid rock to making explosions.
Beautiful Dreamer is Mark Moonrider’s girlfriend. She has psychic abilities, which normally are used to create illusions. She can also sense disturbances in “the Source” (somewhat analogous to the Force in the Star Wars franchise).
Vykin the Black is the team’s intellectual. He is often the voice of caution in the group. His powers are magnetic in nature, and he can often sense and track things magnetically. He is also the bearer of the Mother Box, a sentient computer. Several important characters from New Genesis have a Mother Box.
Serafin is the kid of the group. He is the least powerful. He dresses like a cowboy, with a hat and poncho. His power relates to his ability to use the cosmic cartridges he keeps in his hatband. Like Green Arrow’s arrows, he has to pull out the right one for each situation, often with virtually no time to select the right one.
The Infinity Man is an unexplained character. His powers are greater than any of the Forever People, and they have to gather together and use Mother Box and the magic word “Taaru” to summon/swap places with the Infinity Man. His powers are limited super strength, invulnerability, and some gravity-related powers. He is older than the Forever People. His appearance is described as “an arrangement” between the Forever People and the enigmatic superhero.
Kirby Received a Shazam Award for his work on the Fourth World. In 1984, he was one of the first to get an Eisner Award. Kirby is a member of the Comics Hall of Fame. Although he died over 20 years ago (Feb 1994, age 76), his body of work still influences artists and writers to this day.
This collection is in black and white, and it really gives fans an opportunity to appreciate Kirby’s artwork in detail. He created many of the most iconic and popular characters in the history of the medium. The major contributions made over his 50+ year career clearly deserve this kind of recognition and appreciation. This book is definitely worth the read.
Written & Illustrated by: Jack Kirby