Friday, 15 May 2009

In The World That's Coming-We'll Need--OMAC!


I'm gonna stick my head over the parapet here, and say that my absolute favourite point of Jack Kirby's career was his early '70's stint at DC.
See, we british fans of The King were pretty lucky throughout that part of The Bronze Age. At exactly the time Jack jumped ship from Marvel to work for their Distinguished Competitor, we were also getting all of his classic '60's stuff with Stan Lee, like Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, X-Men etc etc. all in b/w reprints like The Mighty World Of Marvel. So we got the best of Kirby, all at the same time.
To us, it must've seemed like Jack was even more prolific than even he actually was.
By the time The Fourth World, Kamandi, The Demon, and yes, OMAC hit the stands, we'd been living with the Marvel characters for a few years, and were more than ready to see what Jack could do all by himself.
Me, personally, I still haven't recovered.

OMAC only lasted for 8 issues, and was one of the last thing's Jack did for DC during this period, as well as one of the best. It was a 100mph race through a benign police state of the future, in the company of the ultimate superhero, a cyberpunk Captain America, before cyberpunk was even invented.
If superhero's are, at heart, power fantasies (which, of course, they are) OMAC is the ultimate power fantasy. He can do just about anything, and there's absolutely nothing the bad guys can do to stop him.
This does make for some repetition in the series, as any trouble OMAC gets into, can usually be solved by his cybernetic satellite aide, Brother Eye. But that really doesn't matter. What you're witnessing is the astounding imagination of Jack Kirby, firing off in a million directions at once, with more concepts, ideas & way-out insanity in one issue than most writers manage in a whole series. Well, that is why he's called The King, after all.
Hold your breath, here's the first issue.





















And what the hell, this is Kirby we're talking about here, so since once is never enough, here's the Mohawked Marauder taking on a bloody great flying radioactive monster. In The World That's Coming, all comics will be this loud, crazy & exciting.



2 comments:

Felicity Walker said...

I’ve never had the chance to read that first OMAC story before. Thanks for sharing it. Jack Kirby is amazing.

pete doree said...

He sure is. I'll be going through all Jack's '70's work as we go along, and it's all unbelievable. Check out Mark Evanier's book on Jack BTW if you haven't already. It's awesome!