Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Man-God Reborn!

Gil Kane and Dan Adkins

In 1972 Marvel was trying out all sorts of ideas to bring new readers to the fold. "The Second Marvel Age" was in full swing with Roy Thomas in the ascendency and poised to take over the whole shebang from Stan Lee who was on his way to Hollywood. Jack Kirby was gone to DC, but he was far from forgotten, so it was decided to take one of his last true creations, a product of wild genetics tinkering called simply "Him", and make something new in the pages of the appropriately titled Marvel Premiere. Inspired apparently by a recent viewing of the hit rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, Roy concocted with frequent partner Gil Kane along with inker Dan Adkins to bring out something novel and potentially controversial.

Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta

"Him" had been lurking about the Marvel Universe for a short time since his creation in the pages of Fantastic Four. He showed up in a couple of rockem' sockem' issues of The Mighty Thor in Kirby's final year. Now he was poised for something else.

Another Kirby creation, the High Evolutionary was also available for further development.

Marie Severin

Last seen in a few issues of Tales to Astonish mixing it up with the Incredible Hulk, the Evolutionary was your typical "Man-who-would-play-God", and he indulges his fancies to manufacture not only his own people but this time he fabricates his own world.

That world was named "Counter-Earth". Unfortunately, the High Evolutionary misjudged circumstances and an earlier creation of his, the Man-Beast took it upon itself to invade and infest Counter-Earth, bringing to this attempt at a new Eden, something malignant and vile. Man-Wolf brought sin to Counter-Earth, and there could only be one response from the Evolutionary, one slim hope for the newly wrought denizens of Counter-Earth.

Resurrected from his cocoon again, Him became Adam Warlock, this time bestooned with new duds and gold gew-gaws. He took it upon himself to go to Counter-Earth and attempt to expunge the evil of the Man-Beast. He would play the hero, he would descend and become the savior of this new world.

Adam Warlock proved ultimately to be a reasonably successful and sturdy creation, his mission to save Counter-Earth proved difficult and cost Adam more than he suspected. But then, the job of "Savior" has always had a substantial cost and even more substantial payoff, as many of us remember this particular weekend. And by the way, for another and much more ferocious comic book take on these significant religious matters see this link.

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