Jack Kirby's Fourth World: VOL 01 (Anglais) Relié – 2 mai 2007
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DC collects Kirby’s four classic series of the 1970s — THE NEW GODS, THE FOREVER PEOPLE, MISTER MIRACLE and SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN — in chronological order as they originally appeared. These comics spanned galaxies, from the streets of Metropolis to the far-flung worlds of New Genesis and Apokolips, as cosmic-powered heroes and villains struggled for supremacy.
This first volume features the debuts of Orion of the New Gods, the evil Darkseid, super-escape artist Mister Miracle and many others, and features appearances by Superman, from the pages of SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN, FOREVER PEOPLE, NEW GODS and MISTER MIRACLE!--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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On peut faire de nombreux reproches à la série : les dialogues sont parfois gauches, les événements invraisemblables, le rythme parfois incohérent, on aime le style caricatural Kirby (on devient alors fan) ou on déteste (la plupart des lecteurs, et c'est un fan qui l'admet). Le papier n'est pas à la hauteur de certains recueils récents, si l'on compare par exemple aux rééditions des oeuvres de Kirby lors de sa 2ème période Marvel (Devil Dinosaur ou le Démon, par exemple), mais mon expérience est qu'un livre disparait suite à un prêt malencontreux, des infiltrations, un carton perdu dans un déménagement... bien avant que son papier ne se détériore du fait de sa mauvaise qualité. Cette édition est, au final, d'une qualité suffisante.
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The Cover is gorgeous. A larger than life copy of a close-up on Orion - very evocative of the whole Kirby Fourth World experience.
The "heft" of the tome is very light, feeling more like a trade-paper back than a hardcover edition.
The reason for this feather-weight feel is soon obvious. The paper used in this volume is quite unexpected. My initial reaction was one of disappointment and dismay. The paper looks and feels like a higher quality newsprint, not at all what one would expect for a book with a $50.00 cover price! Upon closer examination, there does not seem to be immediate concerns; the paper itself seems quite sturdy - it doesn't have the same feeling of shoddiness that regular newsprint entails and the ink seems to be quite permanent and smear-proof. Upon further examination, I actually began to feel quite good about this rather unorthodox choice. The paper really evokes the feel of an early 70s comic books and it really carries the somewhat garish colors of the original comic (which are faithfully reproduced btw) very well. It really suits the emotional, nostalgia experience.
For those that care about such things, the binding is glued, not sewn, but seems to be well-done and very strong.
In addition to an introduction by the esteemed Grant Morrison and an afterward by Kirby associate and close friend, Mark Evanier, there are a few Kirby concept drawings.
The heart of the book however are the chronological reprints of the following:
Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #133 (Oct 1970)
Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134 (Dec 1970)
Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #135 (Jan 1971)
The Forever People #1 (Feb 1971)
The New Gods #1 (Feb 1971)
Mister Miracle #1 (Mar 1971)
Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #136 (Mar 1971)
The Forever People #2 (May 1971)
The New Gods #2 (May 1971)
Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #137 (May 1971)
Mister Miracle #2 (June 1971)
The Forever People #3 (July 1971)
Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #138 (July 1971)
The New Gods #3 (July 1971)
Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #139 (July 1971)
Mister Miracle #3 (Aug 1971)
"Wow". Reading or re-reading this volume is just plain fun. For those of us who grew up reading/loving comics in the 60s, there was probably no bigger shock than discovering that Jack Kirby, the heart and soul of the Marvel Universe, was jumping ship to DC. One thing that Jack insisted on for his DC tenure was more creative control of his output. This book represents nothing less than Kirby Unleashed. In re-reading these stories - clearly written for a different era (this was coming on the heels of the end of the 60s after all!) one can still feel the raw electricity, the sheer exuberance of the unbridled creativity pouring from Kirby. Sure, a lot of the dialogue is awkward - a middle-aged man trying to capture the "groovy" language of the youth culture. Nevertheless, these works are nothing short of, well, utterly psychedelic, man! More concisely, Kirby was creating an astounding new mythos which would profoundly change the way the comic book universe of DC would work henceforth and which would forever impact the entire world of superhero comics (again). These are the first chapter of that new world. Read them for their place in the history of the comic book, read them for the enjoyment!
In summation, this is well worth the Amazon discount price. I look forward to future volumes.
Jimmy Olsen-Yes Kirby wanted to start where his grand plans would not be weighed down by expectations. But Olsen didn't work out. DC in their fear of change redrew Superman's face, a noticeable and odd action that actually distracted from the art. The art also suffered from the inking of Vince Colletta, an inker known for his speed, not his talent. The story kicks right into gear re-introducing The Newsboy Legion and The Guardian in the midst of stories about cloning run wild. I wish I could say it works, but this was a bad fit from the beginning. A Don Rickles storyline? Ouch!
The Forever People- This group of "super kids," as Superman refers to them, is visually interesting, but lacks the template that Kirby puts in place for The New Gods or Mister Miracle. The characters remain ciphers and with the exception of Big Bear, the well-spoken strong man no one stands out in these early stories. The deus ex machina of Infinity Man, who arrives when The Forever People switch places with him, makes the stories predictable form early on.
Mister Miracle- Kirby's master escape artist plays to Kirby's strengths. Kirby's incredible mechanical designs with their futuristic, almost organic feel, coupled with the constant action makes these comics come alive in ways that Jimmy Olsen and the Forever People do not. Creating a very likeable lead with Scott Free, Mr. Miracle has all the elements that will make it the most successful of Kirby's series.
The New Gods- This is the book where Kirby's ideas really come to fruition. The setting of New Genesis with its pastoral beauty against the techno-horror of Apokolips is a wonder, but the characters are the true essence of the story. The brutal warrior, Orion becomes New Genesis' main champion against the menace of Darkseid and his minions. Kirby starts this book with immediate action moving the battleground from Apokolips to Earth and creating a sense of impending danger much more forcefully then he does in the other books.
While not as successful here as he will be in later stories, Kirby sets the tone for his work in Volume I. If your reliving your youth have fun, and if you are new, hang on; the ride gets better.
Things are as they should be here. Flat colour for the most part, not the absurd misuse of computer shading so prevalent in most modern material (digital color can be done right, of course, but we rarely see it in mainstream comics). No "retro" fake halftoning here. Instead, an attention to subtlety, without jarring, attention-grabbing production techniques that have nothing to do with, and add nothing to the content. Asking for anything different is akin to wanting to "improve" black and white by colouring, or line art by painting. Let's get it straight: more "realistic" is not necessarily better. Slicker, glossier, thicker, more more more, is not necessarily better. It certainly wouldn't be here.
Among the blessings we should count: the collection is beautifully designed. with the dust jacket a different image from the actual cover beneath it. That's not lazy production.
And the contents, awesome as they are, will only get better in subsequent volumes as Vince Colletta is replaced as inker by Mike Royer.
Thank you, DC. This is a classy package.
In its time, Kirby's Fourth World was startlingly new. It had the feel of a novel, with vast scope, playing out across four books in an interwoven tapestry of chapters. It was also a hothouse of creative energy; Kirby's sweeping imagination had free rein here.
In the beginning, and on through its middle chapters, Kirby was equal to holding this vision together coherently. Sometimes his scenes had operatic power. His critics have endlessly pointed out the childish aspects of his writing, but the point here is not a gritty realism. This story was a modern reworking of the great myths, aimed at an audience of preteens and teens, and as such, it was a source of intense wonder.
For thirty five years the Fourth World has cried out to be presented properly. In color, in the sequential order of each chapter's release,
as a hardcover. This book gives us all of that.
Some of the reviews I've read are disappointed in the paper. I could not disagree more strongly. The newsprint-feel of the paper makes it seem as
if the original comics themselves have been purged of ads and assembled between hardcovers -- exactly the look and feel that is perfect for these works.
Kirby created a world in broad strokes, bursting with vitality. Reading these works is exhilirating, and kindles a sense that imagination is the greatest power of all.
It's clear in reading these stories now that Kirby was still at the top of his game despite many who claimed he wasn't. As I read through the book I could see a number of similar themes between Jack's work on the Fourth World books to work he did at Marvel Comics on titles such as The Fantastic Four and Thor. In fact, the twin worlds of the New Gods were created as a result of The Ragnarok, which destroyed the world of the Old Guys. This work rival's Kirby's work on Thor in the late 60's when Thor was going through his cosmic period, traveling in space and confronting Galactus, Ego the Living Planet, The High Evolutionary and more. Kirby was creating a cosmic mythology several years before Jim Starlin would make his name doing the same thing over at Marvel.
The stories in the Omnibus are a mixed bag. The Jimmy Olsen stories are the weakest as Kirby was trying perhaps too hard to sound hip with the 70's hippie vernacular. I'm not sure anything could ever make Jimmy Olsen "hip". The Olsen stories did allow Kirby to reintroduce the Newsboy Legion, those loveable street kids that Kirby had created nearly thirty years earlier. I think by far the best tales were the New Gods and Mister Miracle stories. In New Gods #1 we learn of the twin worlds of New Genesis and Apokolips...opposite sides of the coin...day and night...The Highfather and Orion seem to parallel Odin and Thor. Kirby starts things quickly learning that Darkseid is already on Earth, setting his plans conquer Earth, even as Orion attacks his forces on Apokolips. The fight continues to Earth...Later Kirby introduces us to The Black Racer, a character who flies about on snow skies...hey, we thought a silver guy on a surfboard was pretty silly at first, too, didn't we? With the whole New Gods saga there is just this powerful cosmic scope that was so far ahead of it's time back in 1970 that it doesn't surprise me that the titles we cancelled after only a handful of issues. Kirby would go back to Marvel and essentially recreate the New Gods as The Eternals. Even one of Kirby's final series, Silver Star for Pacific Comics, was another turn of the same themes as the New Gods and The Eternals.
Mister Miracle is a fun title and that is so involving. Scott Free appears to be any other ordinary human when he meets the original Mister Miracle, Thaddeus Brown. Free takes over the guise when Brown is murdered. Free is the Son of The Highfather, ruler of New Genesis but in a peace agreement with Darkseid, Scott is raised on Apokolips while Orion is raised on New Genesis. He was raised in one of Granny Goodness' orphanages, eventually escaping and fleeing to Earth and using the technology of the Mother Box to perform his amazing feats of escape. Probably my favorite of all the Fourth World titles!
Now I know some people have complained about this book being printed on newsprint paper as opposed to the heavier, glossy stock of the usual DC Archive editions and it is a valid complaint. At the same time, this book is nearly twice the size of the Archive books and would have either had to have the page count reduced or had the price raised over $50, to be released in this format. And I don't know, there's just something special about Kirby's work on newsprint, I guess. Five out of Five Stars.
REVIEWED BY TIM JANSON