Now as you cab imagine after last week’s post Thanks Jack I am a big Jack Kirby fan. The foundation of the Marvel Universe would be as sand without the striking visuals and fantastic ideas that came from a short scrappy man with cosmic dreams and a pencil that created universes. Other creators built on that foundation and it took on a life of it’s own.
That alone would be a decent legacy to be proud of, it has endured over 55 years and unless Marvel bugger it up, will endure for many more. But that early surge of characters and concepts wasn’t all he did. Here are just 5 out of the many more things created by the King.
Buddy Blank is connected to the orbiting satellite Brother Eye and under the command of the Global Peace Agency and when needed, can become the one man army corp OMAC who fights for justice in the nightmarish world that’s coming.
A dystopian future riddled with high concept sci-fi optimism that was unlike anything going on at that time and like much of his work, tons of fun.
2: The Eternals
Wherever he went the King created mythologies. When he returned to in the mid 70’s he created another one that was as far reaching as anything from his Tales of Asgard.
The basic idea was vast beings called Celestials tampered with human evolution millennia ago, with the results being baseline humans, the mutated Deviants and the super powerful Eternals.
The Celestials are due to return and judge the world and if it is to survive all three subspecies of man must work together.
An odd fit for the Marvel Universe, beings posing as gods and mutated creatures being rather superfluous in a world where Asgardians, inhumans and mutants are commonplace. But the mix of striking visuals and amazing ideas make this an excellent read.
3: The Demon
Gone, gone form of man, rise the demon Etrigan.
With these words we get one of Jack Kirby’s strangest protagonists. Jason Blood, a man from Arthurian times is bonded to the demon Etrigan who was caged within Blood by Merlin. He has walked the Earth since and Blood can summon Etrigan when evil needs to be battled.
One of very few purely mystical characters Jack did, he stands out for his look and the fact that he isn’t really a good guy and is restrained, not reformed. He’s endured well and still pops up from time to time.
There came a great disaster and the world as we know it was gone. In it’s ruins humanoid animals have conquered the diminished humanity. Kamandi is one of the only intelligent and free humans left.
Epic and more than a little reminiscent of Planet of the Apes and it’s again tons of fun.
5: Machine Man
Personally my favourite out of this 5, this is a very by the numbers alien amongst us story with an fugitive hero whom we identity with, but the bad guys treat as property or an obstacle. The difference here is the personality of the lead.
Android/robotic heroes in comics and sci fi are legion. Red Tornado, Jocasta, Vision, the android from Dark Matter, Data from Star Trek TNG and so on and so forth. Most of those guys had something in common, they were kind of nice, or naive. There was a pleasantness to them. Aaron ‘Machine Man’ Stack is not one of those, in fact, he’s a dick.
Raised to think of himself as human, Aaron is sometimes unpleasant, impatient and doesn’t put humanity on a pedestal. He was a human being, not idealised, not naive, not loveable. Like us.
This isn’t even his independent stuff (we’ll get to that) and won’t even consider talking about the Fourth World, but I wanted to recognised that even 15 years after he made his mark on Marvel, he remained the King.
Long may his legacy reign.