Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jack Kirby's The Forever People

Here's how this works. I read a book or two and tell you about them and try not to get too long-winded. This time, a review of Jack Kirby's The Forever People (DC, 1999).

DC was very slow to follow Marvel's lead with thick, cheap black-and-white reprint volumes of old comics. Before they started their line of Showcase Presents, they tested the waters with four or five volumes reprinting Jack Kirby's early-70s line of interconnected "New Gods" features. Unlike the Marvel books, and the later Showcase books, these are not simply straight reproductions from uncolored films, but they've been given an interesting grayscale wash, for lack of a better term. I think the result is really nice, and the book looks fantastic.

The Forever People first appeared in a bimonthly comic that ran from 1971-72. It features a group of superpowered teenaged hippie weirdoes from the planet New Genesis, a world locked in eternal war with Apokolips and its evil ruler Darkseid, to find one of their number whom Darkseid has abducted. Since humanity holds some key to Darkseid's long-term plans, they stick around to protect us from the villain's varied schemes.

It really was a fun rollercoaster of a book, and I surprised myself by enjoying it more than the "parent" New Gods title. Kirby only completed the briefest beginnings of his projected long-running epic before poor distribution and low sales prompted DC to cancel the books, but what you've got here is almost three hundred pages of wild action and over-the-top adventure, with some very fun characters.

This collection is out of print, but available from some Amazon sellers and stores with a good backstock. It's since been superceded by a four-volume series that reprints all the "Fourth World" stories in color and in their original publication order, rather than collecting them by title. Whichever edition you find, this comes highly recommended.

No comments: