ITEM! It’s Face Front time, pilgrims. One of the reasons that I started this off-the-record blog was to set a few things straight for-the-record. Today, let’s start with the accusation that I hear most often: that the Smilin’ One is nothing but a corporate shill for Merry Marvel that will pimp any project that comes along from the House of Ideas. I’m gonna just grab the tiger by the horns on this one. Not so, True Believers! And let me prove it to you, by hipping the uninitiated among you (and you know who you are) to one of the most massively monolithic masterpieces of modern mythology: Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, published (you’ll note) by the Distinguished Competition.
Volume Four of the Jack Kirby Fourth World Ominbus just came out, completing what was Jack’s version of Schubert’s unfinished symphony. I highly recommend all four volumes. Besides the peerless presentation of the King’s Magnus Opus that spanned four ongoing titles (all in colorful chronological publication order), you get samples of penciled pages and cover art, Madcap Mark Evanier’s excellent historically-invaluable afterwords, and so much more.
I often lament that we didn’t figure out a way to keep Jack at Marvel. It makes my dialoguing finger itch just thinking about it. Imagine Darkseid facing off against the Silver Surfer (actually I think Johnny Byrne did), Mister Miracle joining the Avengers, or HERBIE the robot equipped with his own Motherbox! I guess the only consolation prize for your Uncle Stanley is that Jolly Jack made him a character in the New Gods milieu. That’s right — Funky Flashman was based on Yours Truly. While perhaps not the most flattering fictionalized depiction ever, still... quick show of hands. How many of you have a Fourth World character based on your likeness? Sit down, Steranko, you don’t count! That’s what I thought. ‘Nuff Said!