Shawn's Reviews > The Forever People

The Forever People by Jack Kirby
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May 05, 09

bookshelves: read-comics
Read in May, 2009

This is a collection of one of Jack Kirby's short-lived series related to his NEW GODS/FOURTH WORLD concept for DC Comics. The collection is in grayscale (not simple black and white) and so lacks the cosmic coloring it had in its original form, but this material is available elsewhere in full color if you so desire.

For the lack of color, you get an affordable collection of some amazing work. I'll be honest and say that as a little kid, Jack Kirby's 70's work, the sheer intensity of it, scared me. To see it as an adult is to realize the amazing creativity and artistry on display.

Much like his ETERNALS work for Marvel, Kirby's NEW GODS material fit rather awkwardly into the pre-existing DC Universe. That awkwardness (clashing with all-important, at least to an adolescent, "continuity") and Kirby's unrelenting optimism and willingness to write comic books for kids (and not teenagers and older readers), doomed his 70's work to low sales. But now, looking back with clearer eyes, one can see how amazing it was - Kirby wanted to write comics for kids, not people who'd grown up reading comics, so ideas like the "Supercycle" (the Forever People's souped up cosmic dune buggy) and "Supertown" (a suburb of the extradimensional world of New Genesis, apparently) came off as hokey or silly, when they were actually attempts to recruit new readers to superhero comics by appealing to the things that made superheroes great: wonder, awe and optimism.

What's also interesting is that while mainstream superhero comics of the 70's were aiming at "relevancy" through Green Lastern/Green Arrow "My Ward is a JUNKIE!"-type hysterics, or Steve Gerber's absurd, real world politik-type intrusions, Kirby was attempting the same things, but casting it at a mythic level - the Forever People are nothing if not cosmic hippies, upbeat and do-it-yourself, eternal adolescents. Even the darker aspects of the times are cast in mythical terms that children could understand, with Darkseid and Desaad standing in for the Establishment of the time, and greedy businessmen shown as pathological and monstrous.

As an attempt to reinvent superheroes for kids of the 70's, undo some of the angst current created by Marvel Comics, and still remain relevant, THE FOREVER PEOPLE is a fascinating artifact of a path not taken for comics as a whole. Read these cosmic comic books and remember the fun of having your mind boggled by a thin pamphlet of cheap newsprint. Thrill to the courage of stalwart Sonny Sumo, laugh as Big Bear crushes a sarcastic creep, stagger at cosmic energies, be horrified at Desaad's fiendish torture chamber-as-amusement park (Jack Kirby knew EXACTLY what he was doing!), watch Darkseid scare a little child and her father as he assures them he is "the real deal"!

Enjoy!
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Pete (new)

Pete so great! i think i want to use that darkseid panel for my next winter solstice mix! kirby was the man.


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