Friday, July 28, 2017

Fourth World Friday - The Greatest Show!

When Jack Kirby was confronted with the unpleasant task of replacing his beloved Fourth World books with such titles as The Demon and Kamandi, he made the most of the opportunity and delivered entertaining comics minus the grand operatic myth but still brimming with action and character. The lone survivor of the Fourth World was Mister Miracle. In these titles we see a decided shift away from references to New Genesis and Apokolips as Mister Miracle and his assistants focus on the show business side of the escape arts. We still get villains like Doctor Bedlam, but generally the threats hail for a myriad of locations and sources. Even the beloved Mother Box is changed into mysterious circuitry hidden in Mister Miracle's mask.

It's a full book with Scott Free, Oberon and Barda forming the core.  But added to the mix is the son of Thaddeus Brown who functions as a publicist for the act and the Female Furies Lashina, Stompa, Bernadeth and Mad Harriet. The latter dangerous dames faded out of the series as a young man named Shilo Norman arrived on the scene and became a protege of Scott's. This seemed to be the direction of the series but when the news came to end the run, Kirby used the last issue to reintroduce the Fourth World concepts and as Scott Free and Barda get married by Highfather, we see the rogues gallery including Granny Goodness and others. Even Orion and Lightray show up and as the tale winds to an the malicious Darkseid makes his presence known.

Kirby added OMAC to the schedule and completed his contract with DC before returning to Marvel. Almost as soon as he was out the door the New Gods and Mister Miracle were relaunched by new talents but the runs were met with limited success as DC faced some real sales challenges. Eventually Mister Miracle becomes part of the revised DCU after the Crisis becoming a member of the Justice League. Since then as we all know things have changed and changed and changed again. But the Fourth World, Kirby's magnificent concept continues to inform the DCU and has even broken onto the big screen in recent flicks.

Here are the remaining Mister Miracle covers.

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  1. I was so dismayed by the Shilo stories at the time. But I've just realised I don't have a copy of the Mystivac issue!

    1. Don't ask, just buy it! That's the Kirby way.

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