Monday, June 16, 2008

Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus Volume 4…

The Grand Finale to the classic EPIC series!!!

This book in the series contains the last of the Fourth World stories created by Jack. It’s a sad event but one that means you can start to read them in their entirety all over again, whenever you wish to do so. It’s sad none-the-less though as there can be no more. Jack’s work here pushed the envelope for comics in the seventies and the resonance of this seminal work still echoes throughout the grand halls of comicdom like the sounds of battle in any of the epic halls in which he placed his “gods”.

The fourth and final volume of this wonderful series arrived a while ago and just like earlier, when the first three books arrived, I found myself once more feeling just like being a kid all over again. The Art, as always, is dynamic, powerful and full of energy. The epic, cosmic stories are even more massive in scope, as they are engaging and full of wonder. The evidence of the limitless imagination of Jack Kirby is still self-evident here, as he continues to throw new ideas and concepts about with a nonchalant ease.

The book contains stories from all the remaining “Fourth World” books:

The Forever People
The New Gods
Mister Miracle

Jack Kirby pencils all the artwork with inks by Mike Royer, D. Bruce Berry and Greg Theakston.

There is a foreword by Paul Levitz, President and Publisher of DC Comics and another afterword by one-time Kirby assistant Mark Evanier.

There is also a section, between the last episode of Mister Miracle (issue #18) and the eighties reprint series tie-up New Gods finale, which contains the New Gods reprint series ad and reprints of the covers.

This is followed by the episode “Even Gods Must Die”, which was written as the new ending for the reprint prestige format series back in the eighties and the graphic novel “The Hunger Dogs”, which pitched Darkseid (the father) against Orion (the son).

There is a section at the rear of the book showing Mike Royer’s original inks to the Hunger Dogs, which was originally commissioned as a 23-page finale to the comic series in the eighties and was then enlarged into the graphic novel version.

This is followed by Jack’s Fourth World Profiles for all his characters from the series in DC Comics’ Who’s Who Profiles, followed by a section at the back showcasing more of Jack’s original pencils to some of this volume’s work, so you can compare them to the inked versions.

The book finishes with a self-portrait of Jack and some of his Fourth Worlds characters around him at his drawing board, inked by Greg Theakston and originally in the Hunger Dogs graphic novel.

There are some great again stories here in this last volume. It is incredible to think he continued to produce great things, despite knowing his books were being cancelled. Once more I would advise anyone, who hasn’t yet purchased one to do so.

I for one wish there could have been more, but with Jack’s passing in 1994 I can only hope that Jack continues his fine work in Heaven and wouldn’t it be nice to think that when it comes time for us to pass over maybe, God willing, we’ll see his new work.

What an incredible and “must have” series of books though to have in a collection, especially for any students of comic book storytelling.

If you haven’t already, go out and buy the ENTIRE series NOW!!!

It will be money well spent.

Ask any of us pros that have followed in his great footsteps and we’ll say the same thing.

Comics would be a whole different place if not for Jack Kirby. He gave us Cosmic, he showed us Epic, he journeyed with us through Mythologies, whether old or new, he revelled in Power and Majesty…he loved the medium of comics and his thoughts on how the world of the comic book could progress are now beginning to look an awful lot like how he envisioned things back then, with graphic novels, fantastic block buster films, video games. Different and yet basically the same – all of them telling larger than life stories, but stories about how the little man, the common man, us, copes with things when we come across powers far, far superior and greater then our own.

Like it said on his first cover to the New Gods comic book, when you pick up his Fourth World series and read it you will witness: “An Epic For Our Times!”

Thanks don’t come close Jack…

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…

June 16th 2008


Dan said...

You are right when you write: "Comics would be a whole different place if not for Jack Kirby." All of these publications are great.

Tim Perkins said...

Hi Dan,

Thanks for dropping by and for taking the time to add your comment.

Glad you agree, Jack Kirby really was a force to be reckoned with.

I am presently reading Mark Evanier's biography of Jack and waiting on the side are: Jack Kirby's OMAC, The Mighty Thor Masterworks Volume 7, Kirby Five-Oh and Fantastic Four Masterworks volume 7 (I have bought and read them almost in reverse order up to press).

So as you can see there's lots of Jack's stuff coming up in my Blog over the next few months.

Despite having the OMAC and most of the Thor issues in their original format these new books are a great way of displaying and reading them.

Thanks again for dropping by and hope to see you soon.

Best Wishes,