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Author Topic: Kirbys " New Gods" (1971): Thoughts?
dan2448
Cosmic Superhero
Posts: 1525
Post Kirbys " New Gods" (1971): Thoughts?
on: September 20, 2018, 13:43

The following has nothing to do with V&V. But, as I mentioned in a prior post, a few weeks ago I bought a dozen vintage back issue comic books for $10 at a local comic book store. Among them were several issues of a 6-issue reprint from 1984 of Jack Kirby's original 11-issue run on "New Gods" in 1971.

I have always like Kirby's pre-1980s comic book artwork. I have bought a bunch of issues of "Jack Kirby Collector" over the years. I even own a full fun of his "Kamandi" issues.

But I didn't really like "New Gods" very much. Even the characterization of Darkseid disappointed me, He only makes his appearance very late in the series and then sometimes acts like a conflicted father of a prodigal son, sometimes wistful and not really very physically imposing or scary (except when he once uses his eye 'omega beams').

The Black Racer was also a really underwhelming character, to me anyway.

I also thought the oft-decried similarities to "Star Wars" (1977) were a little over-stated.

Does anyone else reading this have an opinion this series, or other aspects of Kirby's Fourth World?

bcholmes
Cosmic Superhero
Posts: 154
Post Re: Kirbys " New Gods" (1971): Thoughts?
on: September 30, 2018, 17:27

I first encountered the New Gods during the "continuation" series in 1978 (sometimes titled "Return of the New Gods"), but Kirby wasn't drawing those issues. While I can't say that they were my favourite team, there was enough stuff there keeping me interested. Metron, in particular, struck me as an interesting character concept for an otherwise superhero-flavoured book.

The more I learned about the overall New Gods mythology, though, the less I liked them. The Forever People bored me, and Mister Miracle struck me as a silly concept for a character (although Big Barda is one of Jack's greatest creations).

And, yeah, Black Racer was not only underwhelming ("He's death. On skis.") but is part of an overall weird trend on Jack's part to put "black" in the name of black characters. No one disputes that Black Panther is a great character with a great name. But Black Racer doesn't seem to have anything to do with snakes, so the "black" there seems awkward. And Vykin the Black is... hm... (although I just read something that said that Vykin was DC's first black super-hero). It's funny how Jack is, in so many ways, ahead of his peers on equality issues, but also exposed biases in some of those same areas.

I was taking a comics-making class and the teather suggested that whatever Jack Kirby creation you encounter when you're about 10 is probably your favourite Jack Kirby creation. For me, that's probably The Eternals. I liked the blending of mythology with the whole ancient astronaut shtick. I encountered the New Gods after The Eternals, so the New Gods paled in comparison.

bkadams
Cosmic Superhero
Posts: 600
Post Re: Kirbys " New Gods" (1971): Thoughts?
on: October 3, 2018, 10:25

I can't comment on "New Gods" because I have never read them. However, I do love Kirby, especially his work at Marvel in the 60's and early 70's.

As an aside, I've read that Marvel is planning on introducing the Eternals into their "cinematic universe." I have read the Eternals and while I liked the series I didn't think it was as good as his earlier work.

dan2448
Cosmic Superhero
Posts: 1525
Post Re: Kirbys " New Gods" (1971): Thoughts?
on: October 5, 2018, 11:19

Quote from bcholmes on September 30, 2018, 17:27 I was taking a comics-making class and the teather suggested that whatever Jack Kirby creation you encounter when you're about 10 is probably your favourite Jack Kirby creation. For me, that's probably The Eternals. I liked the blending of mythology with the whole ancient astronaut shtick. I encountered the New Gods after The Eternals, so the New Gods paled in comparison.

There's probably a lot of truth in this insight, i suspect. For me personally, I first heard the name "Jack Kirby" when reading an issue of "Comics Scene" magazine that I bought at a 7 Eleven circa 1982 on a family beach vacation. The magazine had an extensive article focusing on his then battle with Marvel to get his original art back, as well as the dispute as to whether he or Stan lee created all these Marvel characters. I remember, at the age of 11 or 12, looking at the B&W photo of him and thinking, "that little old guy created all those famous characters?!?"

Back in the early 1980s, i bought a lot of comic books in the 4-for-$1 bins at local comic book conventions. There I picked up a lot of the 1970s Marvel reprints of Kirby's seminal 1960s "Fantastic Four" and other series. But when i also dutifully bought the then-new "Captain Victory" and "Silver Star" published by Pacific around that same time, I was, to say the least, underwhelmed.

I also recently picked up a couple of Kirny's 1970s "Eternals" issues from the 12-for-$10 bins of this local comic book store, as well as a couple of "Devil Dinosaur" and "Machine Man" issues by Kirby from the same time. Obviously, the middle aged family man i am now was never the target audience for these works. But I was unable to spend even 5 minutes to read any of them in full. The standard criticisms of Kirby's 1970s Marvel work (i.e. hard-to-follow plots, stilted, pseudo operatic dialogue, and mostly uninspiring characters) all seemed to me to apply.

That being said, I also bought the first few issues of "Youngblood" (1992) and "Wild CATS" (1992), the seminal Image Comics, and was somewhat surprised that, while I was as disappointed with them in 2018 as I had been in 1992, I actually found myself finding little things to like about "Youngblood."

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