#728 Kirby’s Fourth World: “Mister Miracle” #1-#6

Mister Miracle

Our journey through Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” books now takes us to the first six issues of Mister Miracle, a change of pace from the other three books, giving us a more straightforward narrative. How will Tim and Emmet react to it?

Kirby’s Jewishness on display in “Fourth World” (Forward.com)

Jack & Roz Kirby

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#727 Kirby’s Fourth World: “New Gods” #1-#6

Black Rider

While the Forever People are (mistakenly, in our view) seen by many as “cheesy,” Jack Kirby’s New Gods has been a relatively well-regarded member of the Fourth World stable — if only for its focus on Darkseid and similarities to Star Wars. This time, Tim and Emmet dig into the first six issues, laden with more symbolism (or attempts at it) than you can shake a ski pole at, great art, interesting ideas, and really clunky dialogue.

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#726 Kirby’s Fourth World: “The Forever People” #2-#8

After reading Jack Kirby‘s wacky Jimmy Olsen run, Tim and Emmet weren’t sure what to expect from the first six issues of his Forever People series. What we found was, yes, ideas and concepts by the bushel, but also some insightful social commentary that has us wondering: Why isn’t this book more highly regarded? We consider why it isn’t and explain why it should be.

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#725 Jim Rugg on “Street Angel” “Hulk: Grand Design” and more!

Street Angel

Jim Rugg is known for his indy hit Street Angel, for being half of the duo hosting the super-prolific Cartoonist Kayfabe videos series, and for illustrating other works such as Cecil Castellucci’s The Plain Janes. Now he’s about to be known for the Hulk retrospective Hulk: Grand Design. This time, Kumar talks with him about how the Hulk work came about, the development of Street Angel, his ever-changing artistic process, the making of Cartoonist Kayfabe, and more!

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#724 “Young Shadow”

Young Shadow

Superheroes are the stuff of kids’ fantasies. Who among us hasn’t fantasized about having powers, putting on a costume and fighting crime? Ben Sears’ graphic novel Young Shadow is a presentation of this fantasy: a costumed kid with no superpowers but excellent fighting skills and a neighborhood network that helps him patrol the streets – because the cops can’t be trusted to do so. Tim is joined by Ryan Cecil Smith to review this fun but potentially controversial all-ages book.

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#723 “EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest”

EC Comics EC Comics are most commonly associated with the horror stories that shocked parents and U.S. Senators in 1954. But EC Comics also had something to say about prejudice against racial or ethnic groups. How do these stories read today? How well did EC creators like Al Feldstein and Harvey Kurtzman get across their anti-racist message?

That’s a focus of EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest, a book by Qiana Whitted, a professor of English and African American studies at the University of South Carolina. The book won the 2020 Eisner Award for Best Academic/Scholarly Work. Kumar and Emmet discuss the book in this episode.

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#722 Kirby’s Fourth World: “Jimmy Olsen” pt 2


The second half of Jack Kirby‘s run on Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen continues to throw out idea after mind-blowing idea. These comics are crazy, and somewhat exhausting. But how do they stand up as stories? Tim and Emmet continue their walk through the Fourth World with visits to Transylvane, Scotland, and a volcano!

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Critiquing Comics #213: “Bric-A-Brac”

Bric-A-BracThis time, a Christmas-themed comic. Isn’t it a little late for that? A seasonal comic may be a rather odd choice, especially one that has more military maneuvers in it than good cheer. But it’s appropriate for kids, and looks great! It also raises the question “What makes a good cliffhanger?” Tim and Adam take off in a one-horse open sleigh to critique “Bric-A-Brac” by Ryan Haack, Rafael Sam, Toben Racicot, and Milton Aguiar.

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#721 Kirby’s Fourth World: “Jimmy Olsen” pt 1

By the end of the 1960s, Jack Kirby had had enough of Marvel. He felt that the company had not treated him well enough for him to justify introducing the new characters and concepts he’d been toying with. When he got the chance to try out the concepts at DC Comics instead, he jumped at the chance.

Thus, we have the Fourth World saga. After reviewing the Tom Scioli bio of Kirby, Tim and Emmet decided to read the Fourth World for the first time. So this episode, we begin with the early issues of Kirby’s run on Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: issues 133-139 and 141. The issues show us how Kirby was digesting what was going on around him in the late “hippie” era. But wait a minute — what’s Don Rickles doing here???

Mark Evanier on the Rickles appearance

Vulture.com article on Fourth World, by Abraham Riesman

The reading order we’re following

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Critiquing Comics #212: “Second Place”

Second Place

Weight training is very big in space. At least, on the planet Cankee, where Earth-style weightlifting has caught on like wildfire. That’s the setup for Second Place, by Ben Goldsmith, Ed Smith, and Jay P. Fosgitt. Ryan Cecil Smith joins Tim to discuss in which categories it gets the trophy, and in which ones it doesn’t even place.

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