John Hodgman reviews Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus for NY Times


In the NY Times, John Hodgman reviewed Jack Kirby's groundbreaking Fourth World comic book series from DC in the 1970s.

Kirby's "Fourth World" – a weird saga of warring gods that for a brief moment hijacked the normally staid line of DC Comics and plunged it into bracing, beautiful oddness, and which is now fully and lovingly collected in the four-volume Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus (DC Comics, $(removed) each).

Besides the psychedelic jump-start he gave to Jimmy Olsen, Kirby started three new titles – "The Forever People," "The New Gods" and "Mister Miracle." All chart the conflict between two families of the New Gods: those on the peace-loving planet of New Genesis, and those living in the warlike world of Apokolips. Apokolips is ruled by the evil Darkseid, who seeks the "anti-life equation" that will erase all free will in the universe but his own. Pitted against him is his son, the monstrous yet noble Orion, raised on New Genesis to love peace but ultimately doomed by his addiction to war.

It was a cosmic "epic for our times," with one foot in ancient myth and the other in the wildest science fiction. And unusually for a comic book story, it was designed to be told slowly, over many years, and to come to an end.

But it was also a personal epic. Kirby, as you ought to know, was the King. He got the nickname while working at Marvel comics, where, with Joe Simon, he created Captain America. Later, with Stan Lee, he helped fashion a completely new, psychologically rich aesthetic in comics, reviving a flagging industry and unveiling a pantheon of pop-culture deities – the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer – that still walk the earth today.

Link (Thanks, Dad!)