FOREVER PEOPLE #1  /  Mar’71 – “IN SEARCH OF A DREAM!

When Jack Kirby went to DC in late 1971, the first thing he did were the first issues of FOREVER PEOPLE, NEW GODS, and MISTER MIRACLE.  However, in order to get a quicker return on their “investment”, the higher-ups at DC insisted that he take over some established book, and they apparently didn’t care which one.  They gave him his choice of any one he wanted.  He looked over them all, and felt none were right for him.  (CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN, which he had started himself, was about to be cancelled, and apparently was out of the running.)  Kirby asked for whichever book didn’t have a regular team, and as JIMMY OLSEN was in the midst of switching creative teams, JIMMY OLSEN it was.  Also, several people apparently suggested Jack revive his NEWBOY LEGION, and since Jimmy was already a “newsboy”, it seemed to make sense to somebody.  Anyway, this is how Jack got on JO, and how his 1st JO arrived 4 MONTHS before any of this other brand-new series.


Jack had a long tradition of creating “group” books, going back to “kid gangs”.  In the tradition of the “Dead End Kids” (who themselves eveolved into the East Side Kids and then The Bowery Boys), Jack, together with Joe Simon, had done The Young Allies, The Newsboy Legion, Boy Commandos, Boy Explorers, Boys’ Ranch, and finally the more grown-up CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN.  With Stan Lee, he did FANTASTIC FOUR (who only acted liked kids), THE AVENGERS, X-MEN (definitely a return to “young” heroes with an adult mentor).  And so it was, when he returned to DC, the very first thing he did (apparently) was a new “kid gang”, but one geared toward the modern-day of the late-60’s youth and counter-culture movement.  THE FOREVER PEOPLE were not quite hippies, not quite bikers, and not quite super-heroes either.  More like a little bit of each.  I always had the most restrictive, conservative upbringing anyone could imagine, and yet, in the late 60’s, while I admit I probably shook my head in dismay at some of TV’s depictions of “hippies”, there was something about the attitude, the philsophy, and the design and dress sense that I found appealing... and still do.


The cover of FP #1 shows the group racing toward the readers in their “Super-Cycle”.  Between the characters and the bike, the colors are as wild and glaring as you could get.  Probably for commercial reasons, Superman is a guest-star this issue (in a similar way that Spider-Man kept turning up early in the runs of new Marvel Comics).  If ever a costumed hero’s whole personal screamed “conservative”, by the late 60’s, Superman was it.  So how curious to see he’s racing after the young heroes of the book, apparently desperately in NEED of help only they can give him!  Like so many DC Comics of the 60’s (never mind that this probably came out right at the end of 1970), here was an image sure to pique any potential reader’s curiosity.


If you look close, it’s also very obvious the cover was inked by Frank Giacoia.  I always thought Frank did more work for Marvel than DC (in fact, I was somehow under the impression he worked exclusively for Marvel), so it was a surprise to realize he’d done this.  Apparently, he only did it because the cover was the very 1st piece of art Kirby turned in—and Vince Colletta hadn’t worked his back-office deal to ink ALL of Kirby’s books.  (Jack was FAST—so was Vince.  I guess SOMEBODY must have thought having them together was a good idea.  Oy.)


The book opens with 3 consecutive panels which show—SOMETHING—appearing from nowhere.  A glowing light, radiant energy, a cylinder-shape, accompanied by a steadily-increasing high-pitched noise.  And then—“RRRABOOOOM”—a strange, multi-colored multi-wheeled “bike” (it’s got handlebars, what the heck else would one call it?), with 4 equally-colorful teenagers (presumably) riding the thing, roaring out of the energy cylinder and into our reality.  The title reads, “In Search of A Dream!”, which suggests a combination of 2 different Moody Blues album titles, “In Search Of The Lost Chord” and “On The Threshold Of A Dream” (1968 & 1969, respectively).  “Biker” movies were a big fad in the late 60’s, the most famous and successful perhaps being EASY RIDER.  If that film had Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild’ as its theme song / anthem, looking over these first 4 pages, The Moodies’ “Departure” and “Ride My See-Saw” come to mind.  I can easily picture them being used over the opening credits of a possible FP feature film, as they seem to perfectly reflect the style, the attitude, and even the philsophy of the comic.


Teenagers will be teenragers (wherever they might come from), and sure enough, no sooner does this wild bunch arrive on Earth than they almost cause a traffic accident.  But here they display some amazing talents, first by shifting their atoms to avoid a head-on collision (Barry Allen’s FLASH would be proud), but then to catch a plunging car in mid-air after it’s soared off a cliff.  Whoever these guys are, they’re definitely not baddies.


The large group shot on page 6 for some reason makes me think of the cast of THOR, as filtered thru an entirely different generation.  Something in their various appearances and personalities remind me of Hogun (Vykin), Thor (Mark Moonrider, the obvious leader), Volstagg (Big Bear) and Fandral (Serifan).  As if, if those guys had kids, this might be what they’d look like.  (I’m reminded that right around this time, Hanna-Barbera had a short-lived series on Saturday mornings, PEBBLES AND BAMM BAMM.)  By luck, the 2 people they saved after running them off the road are friends of JIMMY OLSEN (small world?) and intent to pass on their story, with pictures.


With the introductions out of the way, we’re plunged right into the drama, as Serifan collapses, exhibiting psychic power which clues him in on ther location of their missing friend, “Beautiful Dreamer”.  And while this is going on, they’re being watched by some underworld types, members of a group called “Inter-Gang”, who in turn are working for some nasty-looking character called “Darkseid” (nothing subtle about some of these names, is there?).


Meanwhile, in Metropolis, Clark Kent has just finished interviewing a fighter named “Rocky” (who doesn’t look like Sylvester Stallone—heh).  Rocky’s upset, because despite his fame and success, he points out how, with someone around like Superman, the whole “fight game is a farce”.  After he leaves, Clark (who, of course, IS Superman) finds himself pondering, does the general public fear, resent, or even hate Superman?  And after 30 years of comic-book stories, he suddenly begins to feel alone in the world.


Just then, Jimmy pops in with news and a photo of the “Boom Tube”, and, incredibly, his microscopic vision actually allows him to see something in the photo invisible to any other eyes—the sight of a CITY in the far, far distance, at the other end of the dimensional tunnel.  He’s suddenly overcome with the desire to find this “Supertown”, where, he hopes, he might find others like himself.  (I guess his buddies in the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA wouldn’t be too flattered by his attitude here.)


Things happen fast for the rest of the story.  Supes is shot out of the sky by a helicopter that’s trailing the teenagers, who, after seeing him take out the copter, mistake him for being someone from the same place they come from!  As famous as Supes is, this clearly demonstrates they’ve never been to Earth before.  Then, attacked by a group of monsters, Supes seems helpless—until the kids gather as one around their “Mother Box” (apparently a sentient, living computer), and shouting a certain word—“TARRU!”—disappear, and are replaced by a super-hero type called “The Infinity Man”.  He makes short work of the critter, when suddenly, Darkseid appears in person.  He reveals he was after the girl, Beautiful Dreamer, because he believes she’s one of the few can fathom “The Anti-Life Equation”.  However, her mind somehow refuses to “interpret” it, making her useless to Darkseid, who nonetheless reveals there aree “others” who can—“and when the secret is MINE, I shall TEST it here!  --snuff out ALL life on Earth—with a WORD!”  With that, he vanishes.  WHOA.  Heavy stuff!


That’s when they notice Dreamer is laying atop some bombs which will detonate if she’s moved.  Supes quickly figures out the only way to save her is to move SO fast he can OUT-RUN the blast—and he DOES, taking her and Infinity Man with him to safety.  The hero vanishes, replaced by the kids, who offer to help him find “Supertown”, while telling him the fight is HERE, and he’s needed HERE as much as they are.  As Big Bear puts it, “You’ve earned the trip!  But I hope you can LIVE with your CONSCIENCE—LATER!”  He flies into the re-materialized Boom Tube, and almost makes it thru, before he realizes whatever is going on behind him is too important to put aside for personal reasons.


This is one WILD comic-book.  Kirby creates a non-stop thrill ride, and Vince Colletta doesn’t do all that badly (though I thought he did MUCH better work on the JIMMY OLSEN series).  There’s a few problems, though, and most of them center on Superman—and Jimmy.  For the most part, I didn’t mind when Murphy Anderson re-drew Supes & Jimmy in JO, as he’s just so good, and somehow the difference between him and Kirby isn’t as glaring as it might be.  But Al Plastino, who did the redraws on the first 2 JO issues, also did this one, and Supes is in SO much of this book (the teens are almost reduced to guest-stars in their own mag), it’s really glaring, especially as Plastino did both pencils AND inks with no regard to how the rest of the book looked.


Also, when Jimmy walked into Clark’s office—all smiles and wearing his BOW-TIE, I suddenly realized, THIS issue MUST take place before the story in JIMMY OLSEN #133-138.  Has to!  Aside from anything else, there’s no mention of Morgan Edge, who, presumably, took over the Daily Planet JUST before the events in JO #133.  Also, Supes & Jimmy do not leave “The Project” until JO #139, and there’s NO obvious break between issues or during the issue wherehis other appearances should take place.  (Having no knowledge of Supes’ OTHER books, I’m not even gonna try to figure out the continuity between Jack’s stories and the rest of them.)


This may seem odd, considering how slowly, subtly, Darkseid is introduced and built up, a bit at a time, over those JO issues, while HERE, he gets a full-blown personal appearance, and actually SPELLS OUT what his goal is.  I know this was done FIRST, but I imagined the JO issue (since they came out first) were designed as a “prologue”.  Now, I feel THIS is the prologue, and the JO issues are the first act, though in the beginning, it’s not apparent to everyone involved.


The funny thing about that is, in the JO story, Supes repeatedly shows no care for the fact that he’s up-staging everybody (Jimmy, The Newsboys, etc.), and that becomes a deep concern of his here.  Also, in this issue, Darkseid talks about “the war”, and the “Anti-Life Equation”, and the fact that there are “others” he will find who can put it into effect for him.  Which of course, makes this story serve as a direct lead-in to NEW GODS #1, which came out a couple weeks after this comic did!  In effect, FOREVER PEOPLE #1 can be seen as a direct lead-in to JIMMY OLSEN #133, NEW GODS #1, and of course, FOREVER PEOPLE #2.  Take yer pick!


Before I finish, I’d just like to mention two things that struck me re-reading this time.  One, the way the Forever People say “TARRU!”, disappear and are replaced by The Infinity Man (and vice-versa), seems like nothing less than a modern-day (1970) version of the Billy Batson-Captain Marvel transformation!  In current comics, writers have completely re-interpreted “Captain Marvel” as being Billy himself, in a grown-up body (but still with the mind of a child).  Apparently, for the characters’ entire existence at Fawcett Comics, this was NEVER the case.  Secondly, when I look at Beautiful Dreamer, especially when she’s sleeping, she reminds me a young Shelly Winters.  So there!
    (6-17-2011)

Oh yes.  And one more thing.  As far as I can recall, FP #1 is the ONLY time Darkseid is wearing a CAPE. You know, WITH the cape, all of a sudden those boots make me think of something out of some tiny European country from the middle ages. Not sure I ever noticed that before. Sort of like in THE PRISONER OF ZENDA. As far as I know, he was NEVER seen with a cape again... until Kenner gave him one with their SUPER POWERS line action figure!  (It still butg me how those IDIOTS packaged those things.  In a crate, they'd have like 10 SUPERMANs, 10 DARKSEIDs, and 1 of each of all the others.  And specialty dealers who were pals with the guys who worked at the toy stores would have access to them FIRST, so a lot of the figures NEVER even got on the shelves.  Is it any wonder they wound up going for SO MUCH per figure at conventions?)

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...Yeah , throughout the Golden/Atomic Age Cap and Billy were , generally , showed as more seperate , it's more recent that Billy and the Captain's mentality has been made more similar .

  Likewise , modern DC brought back the " Austro-Hungarian Empire military dress uniform " upper right breast button on CM's uniform that was only on the GA version's uniform for the first year or so .

  Modern DC has also made it so that the lightning bolt that comes down after Shazam's ( Or Cap himself's !!!!!!!!!!! ) name is spoken by someone " in the club " has actual physical results on the places and people around him , for years it was not like that...

Except for Morgan Edge, I don't think the Superman/Action/World's Finest creative teams used any of Jack's characters. OTOH, Lois Lane did but Jack never acknowledged that, either!

The Forever People were my least favorite DC Kirby book! I thought their names were childish and really, the black guy was called Vykin the Black! Then there was Sonny Sumo, Robot Deadman and little connection to The New Gods. No wonder most Kirby-ophiles choose to ignore them!

Oh, and welcome Henry! It's always good to have a new opinion and new voice here!

The Edge clone storyline from Lois Lane was wrapped up in Jimmy Olsen #152, a short "Newsboy Legion" story with Angry Charlie appeared in Jimmy Olsen #150, and Superman Family #192-194 ran a storyline involving the Project.

 

Less notably, Terry Dean, the casino owner from Jimmy Olsen, returned in Jimmy Olsen #155 as the backer of a college for young people with criminal records (in the first Mr. Action story). I think there was a bit of use of Edge's secretary Laura Conway in the Superman titles, but I don't recall any instances where she played a significant role in the stories. Inter-Gang played a role in the storyline in Superman #296-299, but I don't think its Apokolips connection was mentioned.

JIMMY OLSEN #133 / Nov’70 “JIMMY OLSEN BRINGS BACK THE NEWSBOY LEGION”


Someone (?) at DC wanted Jack to do SUPERMAN-- or at least, A Superman book-- right? Was it that JO was losing its then-regular team, or did it have the lowest sales, and this was a way of showing what Jack could do, take ANY lousy piece of junk and turn it into a success? (He had tried that before with GREEN ARROW, heh.)


I believe the Superman line in general was being, or about to be, revamped about that time. Any knowledge one way or the other? I find it wild that such a MAJOR change as transferring Clark Kent from his NEWSPAPER office to becoming a TV ANCHORMAN should happen first in, of all places, "SUPERMAN'S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN". Did it never even occur to anybody at DC to change to NAME of that book, at least, to something less unwieldy, like, say... "JIMMY OLSEN"?


I love how Jack had fun with the book's hokey title, plastering "Superman's EX-PAL, Jimmy Olsen" on several covers, and later, on the inside, "Jimmy Olsen's Pal, Superman". THAT's putting big blue in his place!


How likely-- or believable-- was it really, to have a newspaperman suddenly become-- AGAINST HIS WISHES-- a TV anchorman? Was his boss aware of his dual identity? We know he had ulterior motives for much of what he did. After all, in Jack's very 1st issue, the guy tries to have Clark Kent KILLED by having him run down by a car. What kind of management-employee relationship was this?


Morgan Edge-- apparently-- was NOT meant to be a clone (as later revealed), despite all the focus on clones in so many of these issues. He was supposed to be a VILLAIN, period. Why did DC back off from this? In a way, Edge (or whichever real-life person may have inspired him) may have been the inspiration for the villain in the James Bond movie, "TOMORROW NEVER DIES". That title doesn't make any sense, by the way. You can tell because it was originally gonna be "Tomorrow Never LIES", a reference to the name of the newspaper, "Tomorrow".


The Whiz Wagon naturally reminds one of the "next generation" of the Fantasti-Car. While John Buscema was stripping the edges off the vehicle in the FF book (to make it easier to draw-- WHAT OTHER possible reason could there have been?), Jack was unveiling what Johnny Storm PROBABLY would have, if Stan hadn't been so insistent on POINTLESSLY giving him heartbreak by coming up with a totally-contrived reason for Crystal to no longer be able to stay in NYC. Stupid SOAP-OPERA writing!


MY question in all this is... WHAT is the point-- if any-- of The NEW Newsboy Legion? Teaming a "Newsboy Legion" with a reporter like Jimmy sounds like an idea that works when you say it, but not when you try to think it thru. Plus, there's TWO "Newsboy Legions" in this story. The new kids, who, AS FAR AS I CAN TELL, don't sell newspapers-- and the originals, who no longer do that either, as-- against any rational expectations-- they've ALL become genetic scientists. HUH????? Also, is it reasonable at all to call the originals the "fathers" of the younger ones? Maybe I'm putting too much thought into this. After all... it's "just" a JIMMY OLSEN comic!


Now, let's get to the cover. "JIMMY JOINS A BIKER GANG!" might have made a better title. It would have fit in perfect in Uncle Mortie's run, wouldn't it? Meanwhile, while one may "gun" an engine, it would have made more sense for Jimmy to say "RUN him down", as that's what you do to pedestrians. An earlier, unpublished version of the cover had someone HOLDING a gun, and in that case, "GUN him down" would have made sense... but only if it shot energy rays or kryptonite bullets.


I'd also like someone to explain how those bikes are TURNING to the right in mid-air after they leave the take-off ramp.


Annnnnnnnnnnd... WE'RE OFF!
    (6-11-2011)
According to the figures at Comichron, Jimmy Olsen sold in high numbers in the 60s, so I don't think it's correct to think of it as an also-ran title. Morgan Edge was introduced in Kirby's first issue of Jimmy Olsen, but Clark's reassignment to TV was introduced in the first Schwartz issue of Superman. Initially he was a roving TV reporter.

One really fun thing about doing this project has been how much I've been learning since I started it back on June 11.  I've re-read and written reviews for over 2 dozen comics so far, but plan to only post ONE review here per day, so as not to overwhelm anyone. I've also been doing "restorations" of the covers, and have started my 1st blog, so far, just to post them online.  I'll be including links to them in the titles for each review.

 

Meanwhile, here's the first of the "Fantasy" versions...

Regarding your question about whether Superman's feature was being revamped -

 

Mort Weisinger was in the process of leaving. Julie Schwartz, who took over Superman, certainly sought to revamp the feature. Action was initially edited post-Weisinger by Murray Boltinoff, but I think his issues were coordinated with Schwartz's. So for example Edge made Clark a TV reporter in Superman, and gave him a special van to work from in Action. Murphy Anderson had inked Curt Swan Superman covers previously, but it was only at this point that the two started doing stories together. The team drew for both titles.

JIMMY OLSEN #133  /  Nov’70   “Jimmy Olsen Brings Back The Newsboy Legion”   (Part 2)

Yesterday, I did an off-the-cuff review of JIMMY OLSEN #133... without actually bothering to RE-READ the thing.


This morning, before I even put on the TV, I dug out the 1st volume of JIMMY OLSEN ADVENTURES from 2003, and re-read the 1st episode.  With help from the list in AMAZING HEROES, I got ahold of most of the Fourth World books back in the early 80's (before NEW GODS was reprinted), but I never quite tracked down several of the books.  This included the first 2 JIMMY OLSENs.  Most frustrating.  Starting to read with the 3rd episode is like walking into a 2-hour movie 40 MINUTES LATE.  I finally managed to read the 1st episode when it was reprinted in SUPERMAN IN THE 70's (2000), but they only included the 1st one, not the 2nd.


What a JOLT this must have been. As awkward & stilted as the book's regular logo was, it got worse when the words "EX-" and "THE NEW" were added, making it "SUPERMAN'S EX-PAL, THE NEW JIMMY OLSEN".  Of course, that wasn't the REAL name of the book... You know, these 2 JIMMY OLSEN ADVENTURES books actually show how good a JO cover can look when it isn't bogged down by "too much", and when the "SUPERMAN'S PAL" sub-logo is removed.


Jack tosses the readers into the deep end RIGHT from page 1! No prologue, no segue, no symbolic splash, no preparation of any kind. Jimmy's in a garage in a slum neighborhood, where, INEXPLICABLY, he's having a meeting with a group who are-- GET THIS!-- the SONS of THE NEWSBOY LEGION, a group of kids who had adventures in the early 1940's. I suppose in a JIMMY OLSEN books, "unlikely" is NEVER a consideration. I mean, think about it-- 4 guys who are friends, all have kids, and the 4 kids ALL hang out as friends 30 years later. Only in the DC Universe?


It gets stranger, because one of them has designed a vehicle that would give The Fantastic-Car a run for its money-- "THE WHIZ WAGON". It's quickly explained that Jimmy's new boss, media mogul Morgan Edge, on seeing the plans, had the car BUILT, and offers it as a gift to its designer, IF the "story" he sends them & Jimmy out to get works out.  Strange-- but not completely inconceivable.


Shock follows shock, as we learn the Daily Planet has been BOUGHT by Edge (yes, the day of "corporate buy-outs" had arrived).  Edge is a DEAR RINGER for Kevin McCarthy, and if you've ever seen him in the Weird Al Yankovic film "UHF", you have a good idea what this guy is like. (Funny thing, that movie came out 19 YEARS after this comic.)


There's a lot of set-up in this initial episode, and a number of mysteries tossed out which aren't explained right away (or even in this issue at all).  Like, WHAT is Edge after when he sends Jimmy & these teenagers on what apparently is a DANGEROUS story? Clark Kent, who comes across as a nice guy here (what else), shows concern, and the immediate result is Edge calling up "INTER-GANG" (shades of 8TH MAN and "INTER-CRIME"!) and putting out an order to have Kent BUMPED OFF!  Is this any way to treat the "star reporter" of a newspaper you JUST acquired??  Shocklingly, Clark Kent becomes the victim of a viscious, deliberate HIT-AND-RUN... but while a crowd of onlookers is astonished that he wasn't killed, he's so focused on what happened and why, he doesn't even attempt to come up with the usual lame-A** excuse.


In the tradition of Jules Verne's "The Terror", the WHIZ WAGON proves itself capable of operating on land, in the air, and in the water!  (I don't believe the Fantasti-Car was ever shown having the latter ability.) It's arrival and immediately being spied upon reminds me a bit of the scene in "RETURN OF THE MOLE MAN" (seen on TV as "MENACE OF THE MOLE MAN") when the F.F. arrive at that island.  Quickly, our heroes are under attack, and wind up in a life-or-death struggle.  I might take this a bit more seriously, except I'm trying to figure out WHY the BLACK kid goes around wearing a scuba-diving suit-- ALL THE TIME.  Maybe he has a super-hero fixation?


It is almost funny when 2 outlandish BIKERS named "Yango" and "Flek" show up, and when Jimmy insists on talking to their leader, he's told it was their leader he just beat the CRAP out of! And so... JIMMY is now their leader.  That's right!  "JIMMY OLSEN-- BIKER GANG LEADER!" Hey, maybe this isn't so different from all those earlier issues of this book after all?


Clark switches to his Superman identity, and exhibits a talent I've never seen him use in ANY other story-- using his "heat vision" to trace "after-images" of things, like the WHIZ WAGON. Anybody know-- has this talent EVER turned up in ANY other comics, before or since?


Supes discovers an hidden entrance to an underground tunnel (straight out of BUCK ROGERS or THE TIME TUNNEL), and then encounters some very peculiar characters. I'm a bit confused as to the topgraphy, as it seems there's grass and plants underground, but the way the sky is colored, it looks like he's still outside. First there's some "hippie" type who's meditating, then a pair of soldiers hunting hippies, who-- and I find this hilarious-- mistake HIM for one of them, who just happens to be wearing a "Superman" suit.


Things get all crazy when the BIKE GANG arrives, and like a scene right out of "THE WILD ONE" with Marlon Brando, they ride in circles around Supes, stopping only to reveal that Jimmy's is the one in charge.  It's at this point big blue develops a REALLY bad attitude. There's an entire website devoted to the theme of "Superman Is A Dick", showcasing endless examples of how badly the big "S" has treated Jimmy (and just about every other "friend" he's ever had in his long history), and it gives one the impression of some seriously BAD relationships. Presumably, Supes & Jimmy have known each other for HOW long by now? --yet, Supes comes across with the attitude that Jimmy is TOTALLY out of his depth, and ONLY HE (Superman) can handle-- WHATEVER it is they're looking for (even though, at this point, almost nobody seems to have any idea what that might be).


Al Plastino seems to have goofed up on page 18, as Supe's EYES are wide open even though it's clear the guy has been knocked unconscious by Kryptonite gas!


On page 20, we see "The Habitat", a small town built entirely out of GIGANTIC tree trunks. I've always figured Metropolis was on the East Coast, but this would make more sense if it was taking place on the WEST coast.  In fact, the whole thing with hippies and bikers feels like a West Coast thing, especially as that's where Jack & Roz were living when he was doing this story. I've actually SEEN a mobile home built into the trunk of a giant redwood tree. THEY EXIST! Kirby took this to further extremes, obviously.


What's interesting is Supes' comment, "I can't conceive of a DROPOUT SOCIETY being THAT industrious!" As "Big Words" explains, it was built by someone else we haven't seen yet, and the bikers just took it over. As Supes leans against the wall and says, "Go on--" you can just SEE the "attitude" on his face. Only Yango has a clue what they're looking for, and this makes Supes exclaim, "I'm more the ever CONVINCED that it's my duty to do everything to STOP you." What a JERK!  Or... is it possible he knows MORE than he's letting on???


It took me so long to get my hands on the whole thing, but when I did, I was completely blown away.  This story does not read like any normal, average kind of comic-book or comic-book serial.  It doesn't feel like anyone else's type of multi-part story.  It actually reads like A MOVIE!! But this only becomes obvious when you've read all 6 parts.  This wasn't the last time Jack managed something like this, either.  I got the same feel of reading a "MOVIE" with the first 5 chapters of the "MADBOMB" story, the first 6 issues of CAPTAIN VICTORY, and the 6 issues of SILVER STAR.  In effect, these stories could easily be turned into feature films-- AS IS.


The cover used was re-worked and re-worked, and an earlier, unused version actually turned up as the cover of JIMMY OLSEN ADVENTURES Vol.2 (but would have made more sense on Vol.1!).  On that, Yango is pointing a GUN at Superman, so when Jimmy says, "GUN him down!", it makes MORE SENSE.  All the changes and endless fix-ups, and somehow, someone at DC let the finished cover go out without fixing that ONE word on the cover so it would read, "RUN him down!" (which is what you DO to pedestrians).


I dug out my Fourth World comics today.  It wasn't easy, there was about a 2-foot-high STACK of magazines piled up on top of it that I had to move first before I could open the long box. Anyway, it's free now. It was already several years ago I started a chronological re-reading of ALL the Jack Kirby comics in my entire collection, and after about a 2-YEAR break (not counting the time I spent reading early-70's Marvels AFTER Jack had left the company), I FINALLY got back to Kirby today.


One thing that surprised me, flipping thru a couple issues of JIMMY OLSEN... when the JO ADVENTURES books came out, I said I thought they looked BETTER than the originals.  I take it back.  The coloring is more intense, but while the line reproduction is VERY good, it's a BIT darker than the originals.  So, yes-- the originals DO look better. If you ignore the paper slowly turning yellow.


Most of these comics I have only ever read ONCE, a little under 30 YEARS ago.  Having read endlessly about them, in THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR, and at the Kirby-L yahoo group (now gone), I'm really looking forward to experiencing these again, now that I'm older and have a much more highly-developed sensibility with regards to art and writing-- especially the latter.
    (6-12-2011)

Hi Henry.  I see you were a poster on the old board.  I think I followed a few of your long reading threads there, so its good to have you back.

 

I bought into the Fourth World collections back in the 90's when those grayscale collections came out.  Kirby blew me away then, but I haven't read them since, although I've been close to it.  Looks like you are providing the perfect oportunity here to brush up on my Fourth World.  I didn't buy the 2 Jimmy Olsen collections back then, although I've always been meaning to.  I picked up the second collection of Kirby's JO books recently, and looked everywhere for the first one to complete my collection and get stuck in, but it has now vanished from the bookshelves.  :-(

 

So I'll be reading along, and maybe commenting here and there.  Like you, I've put in a lot of comics reading and musing since I read these last, so I'm interested to see how they read now.  (Not thirty years though!)  As I read each series seperately last time, I'm interested in seeing how they read in publishing (chronological) order.

 

I've already read the first few pages of Forever People #1, but I'll be depending on your summaries of JO until you reach issue JO #142.  Reading what you say about the first JO story starting without preamble, it does seem that Forever People #1 starts with the kind of slow drawing into a huge story that great epics get.  The sound of the boom tube building in intensity is something like the way Terry Pratchett opens his Discworld novels with the great spacefaring turtle seen from a distance and then he closes in on it to focus on the events on the Discworld itself.  The opening of Forever People seems similarly like a writer's (almost mystical) invocation of another reality.

 

(I like the scans of the covers you link to, but if you wanted to, it's easy to post the whole cover.  Just click on the picture icon next to the link icon and click 'from a URL' and post your page address same as the link.)

I started my reading with the first 6 JOs back-to-back, but when i got to FP #1, which came out about in the middle of that (even though created FIRST), it hit me FP #1 really should be read first... despite JO's slow introduction of Darkseid being designed to be read first.  So when I decided to post the reviews here, I figured, might as well put them in the "right" order.  The first 6 JOs will still be done as a set, but that's only because of the "movie" feel of it.

 

Since rejoining the board here, I've kinda like the way there's no pics (that I've seen yet anyway).  At MASTERWORKS, people tend to post so many pics, they tend to get in the way of the text, especially when the pics are BIGGER than 700 pixels wide, which forces me to incessantly scroll right-and-left-and-right-and-left to read every single line of text.  (Yes, the resolution on my computer is set low; I LIKE it that way, and am not gonna change it for anybody.) Similarly, when I designed the new blog, I made sure it would "fit" on MY screen. Ditto for all the work I put into Nick Simon's Silver Age Marvel site, it's designed for a "regular" monitor screen, NOT "widescreen". (That site is unfortunately down right now, and neither Nick or I have heard back from the guy hosting it.) Anyway, I'm currently posting pics at 3 different sites, and as long as I can post inobtrusive links, there's no need to post them at 4.  (At the Kirby_Land yahoo group, I'm also posting interior pages... sometimes, TONS of them!!)  Ideally, each review would be posted together WITH the covers AND interiors, but until the SA Marvel site is back up-and-running (never mind that the 4W is DC), this will have to do.

 

In general, I think links are "cleaner", and they allow pages to come up faster, especially IF there's anyone out there who still has dial-up. (Yes, there are...)

 

Until this board got redone, I always preferred it over Masterworks. I'm still not crazy about the design, but at least there's a lot more content here now, and I'm slowly getting used to the format. Also, it seems to "work" much FASTER than other boards.  I wonder why that is?  (You click "Add Reply" or something, and BAM-- it's there! Some boards, I wind up sitting there for half a minute waiting... EVEN WITH hi-speed!)

I have something to say about the preferred order in which to read Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” titles (and it‘s not publication order), but first here are a few thoughts inspired by the posts above.

George Perez gave Darkseid a cape in JLA *185.

I never considered it before, but I agree that the Moody Blues would provide a most excellent “soundtrack” to The Forever People. Now I’m in the mood (no pun intended) to listen to some of those song you mentioned, but the only one of their albums I have on CD is “Days of Future Past.” that’ll have to do until I can make a trip to my LRS (local record store).

I like to believe (on Earth-J) that “Him” emerged from his cocoon as the Infinity Man after the “Old God” Thor kicked his butt in issue #166 of his own “Third World” title.

Setting Jimmy Olsen aside for a moment, the original publication order of the Fourth World titles went Forever People, New Gods, Mister Miracle, but I think it reads better if one starts with the “core” title and becomes increasing removed from the cosmic: New Gods, Forever People, Mister Miracle.

New Gods #1: Seems like a “no-brainer” to me. Ignore the fact that FP1 had been released first and that Darkseid had already appeared in JO; this is where Kirby’s epic begins.

Forever People #1: After the “prologue” of NG1, this is the first “breach.”

Mister Miracle #1: Not obviously tied to the Fourth World yet, MM1 is one step further removed from NG. With the second issues of each title, the reasons for my preferred order become even more obvious.

New Gods #2: Pages 14-15 are obviously foreshadowing, especially the two full-page panels of Mantis and the Hairies; in publication order, these stories had already been told. Also, notice the “slow reveal” of Desaad on pages 11-13. This is (again, “obviously”) intended to be his first appearance, yet he., too, would have already been revealed, unmasked, to the reading public in FP2.

Forever People #2: The first full story appearance of Mantis, the “payoff” of the foreshadowing in NG2. (Also the second appearance of Desaad, not the first.)

Mister Miracle #2: the title is drawn further into the Fourth World with the introduction of Granny Goodness.

At this point, it’s up to readers’ discretion whether or not to continue reading the titles in NG, FP, MM order or to finish out stories continued within an individual title as they are encountered. If you want to throw Jimmy Olsen into the mix, I suggest NG1, FP1, MM1, JO133 and so on.

"George Perez gave Darkseid a cape in JLA *185"

 

Ah! I forgot about that one.  What a place to make his DC debut-- in the middle of a JLA-JSA-New Gods crossover. Crazy! And I wonder, does Dick Dillin hold the record for most issues of JLA by a penciller? Talk about holding onto a steady job-- he had to DIE before they replaced him.

 

Interesting observations about the story order.  I may have made more observations in my later reviews, but it'll be a few days before I post them here. I know there was something about FP #1 that felt like it led directly into NG #1...

 

 

"I like to believe (on Earth-J) that “Him” emerged from his cocoon as the Infinity Man after the “Old God” Thor kicked his butt in issue #166 of his own “Third World” title."

 

I've been doing a lot of speculating over the last few years about how some of these stories might have played out if Kirby had stayed at Marvel. For one thing, I believe if Kirby had gone thru with Ragnarok, that Thor would not have died... but instead, become the "sole survivor of a doomed world" (note the blue costume & red cape... heh heh heh). While Superman's suddenly feeling "alone" in FP #1 seems a bit odd (how does that reflect on the entire membership of the JLA?), picture if it had been Thor suddenly finding out a whole new world has replaced the destroyed Asgard.

 

By the way, my own theory is, if the "Him" 2-parter in F.F. hadn't been derailed and then ended so soon, I think the 2nd half would have been Ben Grimm GOING BERZERK and fighting Him for trying to steal his girl, Alicia.  Now really... doesn't this make so much more sense than the way it played out in THOR?

 

And by the way... check out the 2-parter in THOR with Pluto-- the "time tunnel"-- and Pluto's "demons".  See if that doesn't feel like a dry run for Superman, Darkseid, the Boom Tube, and the Darkseid's para-demons.

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