FW Presents: Siskoid’s Mad Kirby Theories

In the wake of yesterday’s 100th Birthday Jack Kirby celebration, Siskoid takes to the microphone for an aftershow to go deeper into some of his theories about the King of Comics. What is the coded message of the Fourth World? Why start it all off with Jimmy Olsen? Did Battlin’ Jack somehow usher in the Bronze Age? Because one show about Kirby… simply couldn’t contain it all.

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Theme: “Mad Science” by MK2.

Bonus clips: Interview with Jack Kirby conducted by John Hitchcock during his 1985 Greensboro Comic Book Convention; interview with Alan Moore; “Jack Kirby: Story Teller” by Jacob Kurtzberg, featuring Walter Mosley and Mark Evanier; “The King (dedicated to Jack Kirby)” by Adam WarRock (with Jack Kirby).

Peer review available through comments sections!

12 responses to “FW Presents: Siskoid’s Mad Kirby Theories

  1. It would not have occurred to me to peg Kirby’s debut on SPJO as the end of the Silver Age. I’ve repeatedly seen Giant-Size X-Men #1 as the book that gets that honor, but there’d definitely an argument to be made. (Just how everyone says the debut of the Flash is the beginning of the SA, yet his fellow JLA member Martian Manhunter debuted a year earlier)

    If you look at the SPJO covers around that time, it appears that DC returned the book to its older, pre-Kirby style after Kirby left, as if the whole thing never happened.

    I always enjoy these Mad Theory episodes!

    1. Really! GAXM seems way too late for that (1975). The Superman revamp (with kryptonite becoming rarer and Superman depowered somewhat), Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul, etc. is all considered Bronze Age, and beats X-Men by 4-5 years. I’ve found a more compelling argument in Green Lantern/Green Arrow as alternate start point for the Bronze Age.

      As for Jimmy’s reversion, it didn’t take either as the book soon became Superman Family and none of his stories were ever quite Silver Age again.

  2. Loved this little episode, Siskoid!

    The Fourth World is something I need to deep-dive into when I get the chance (hah!). I’ve read about half of Kirby’s original MISTER MIRACLE issues and the first issues of NEW GODS and FOREVER PEOPLE. I need to either get the whole epic on ComiXology or get the omnibus that’s been solicited for this year. I’ve had the entire ’80s/90s runs of MISTER MIRACLE and NEW GODS that I acquired last year for a song but I haven’t wanted to start them until I’d read the Kirby stuff.

  3. I’ve heard and read of many ends of the Silver Age/beginnings of the Bronze Age theories; GL/GA, Fourth World, Conan #1. Heck, you can really say DC was out of the Silver Age when Infantino began to publish very non-Silver Age content like Beware the Creeper and The Hawk and the Dove in the late 60s, also around the same time Marvel got out from under the thumb of Independent News’ distribution (DC’s parent company!) and launched all their big characters into their own books.

    But Fourth World works really well because not only did Kirby usher in a new kind of comic mythology, he, the driving creative force behind much of what made Marvel…well, Marvel, left the company. It was so catastrophic to the company, even Marvel had to acknowledge his departure in dramatic fashion in a Bullpen Bulletins that ran during that time.

    Mister Miracle as messiah…now that’s quite a theory. But I dig it.


  4. A mad theory for your mad theory: Jim Starlin’s first Warlock cycle at Marvel. Everyone sees the Darkseid in Thanos, but if you squint just right you can see a lot of Mister Miracle in Adam Warlock and his partners Gamora (“the most dangerous woman in the universe”) and Pip the Troll. I can even imagine you might decode Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 into how Starlin would have ended the Fourth World Saga. Of course, Warlock already had a slightly messianic backstory when Starlin was given him, so there’s a question of coincidence or intention, or how much one triggered the other.

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