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Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, Vol. 1 Hardcover – May 2, 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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In 1970, DC lured Kirby, cocreator of the Fantastic Four and X-Men, from rival Marvel Comics by promising free rein on his imagination. The monumental Fourth World emerged from that promise. Depicting a cosmic struggle between the godlike denizens of the planets New Genesis and Apokolips, it unfurled in four separate serials: the flagship, New Gods; The Forever People, focused on a hippielike band of young godlings; Mister Miracle, featuring the super escape artist of that name; and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, in which Kirby linked Fourth World to the preexisting DC Universe. The ambitious project was soon derailed by disappointing sales, though many characters Kirby created for it appear in various DC titles to this day. The first of four volumes collecting the whole megillah presents Kirby at his least distilled and most unfettered, generating outlandishly inventive concepts and larger-than-life characters to suit his dynamic drawing and feverishly overwrought dialogue. His vast mythmaking at last receives respectful, hardcover treatment, something unimaginable when it first appeared in the days when comics were considered disposable pulp. Flagg, Gordon

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 396 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; First Edition edition (May 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401213448
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401213442
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
First Impressions:

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Kirby's move to DC after his incredible run at Marvel was one that had long range effects on DC comics. He introduced Darkseid and The New Gods, characters that DC has been going back to you for over three decades. This first volume introduces the characters of Kirby's "Fourth World," his concept of an epic battle between good and evil, where Earth is caught in the middle. It's uneven in quality and the ideas are not fully developed in the beginning but this is where some of comics most outlandish and fascinating stories began. One thing you'll find won't improve is Kirby's dialogue, which is often ungainly and at times painful, but the concepts and art move it all forward. And it all started with..."Jimmy Olson?"
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.
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Format: Hardcover
Jeez, some of you guys are scary. Sadly, not knowing what constitutes "newsprint" is only a symptom. The paper stock this collection is printed on is much thicker, and holds ink far better than newsprint. As a friend of mine said, you can actually read this book in daylight, because it's not as absurdly glossy and reflective as the usual high-end archival comics reprint collection paper. Kudos to DC for understanding and respecting the proper context for this material. Newsprint wouldn't keep, but this will. The blacks are solid, the colors are properly saturated, Kirby's story, not the paper, shines.

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.
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