The Old Gods Died

I am the audience for superhero comics; I am not a frustrated creator of them. Oh, maybe I was at some point decades earlier; I think it’s a generally recognized fact that a significant portion of the fan base of superhero comics are wannabe creators of them, and I was almost certainly someone who dreamed about that possibility when I was in high school, because of course I was. As I got older, though, that ambition faded and fell apart through a combination of knowing I wasn’t good enough and wanting to do other things anyway. I was happy enough to just enjoy reading them.

With the exception of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World.

I don’t mean that I don’t enjoy reading those characters; I do, very much — they’re likely my favorite collective of concepts and characters in mainstream superhero comics. Instead, it’s that when I do revisit those original Kirby books, as I tend to annually, I always end up thinking, Well, if you were going to do it today, you should do this… for whatever reason.

It’s never in the form of a plot idea, or anything I could ever pitch (not that I would), but odd background ideas and restaging things. It’s Kirby’s own fault: his Fourth World books were not only timeless, they were timely, with hippies and draft dodgers and commentary on media and society and the nature of war, and the nature of aging, even, and my head just… goes places. I can’t help it.

(Serifan is trans-masc; Darkseid’s primary weapon is Glorious Godfrey, who uses Kalibak as an example of masculinity that isn’t “allowed” by the left in an attempt to sow discord; the Forever People has a fandom of “stans” and “simps” that they don’t know what to do with because of their own attitudes towards equality; there needs to be more done with Apokolips conquering death and using technology as a cure to everything, and how that affects the Hunger Dogs, and so on.)

I’ll never do anything with any of these ideas, aside from forget them. Nonetheless, it’s fun to have them, and feels like a tribute to Kirby’s impossibly huge creativity — that he was so plugged into things that even I can be affected by it in such a way, almost 60 years later.

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