Jack Kirby's Fourth World

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"The Fourth World" is the popular name given to a metaseries of interconnecting comic book titles written and drawn by Jack Kirby and published by DC Comics from 1970 to 1973. The characters and concepts were later integrated into the DC Universe.


Publication history

Initial 1970s comics

Published as the newsstand distribution system for comics began to break down, Kirby foresaw a day when comics would need to find alternate, more legitimate venues for sale.[1] Toward this end, Kirby envisioned a finite series that would be serialized and collected in one tome after the series had concluded.[1]

The three original titles comprising the "Fourth World" were The Forever People, Mister Miracle and New Gods. The pre-existing title Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen was used by Kirby to introduce the Fourth World concept and characters.

Unhappy with Marvel Comics at the time, as he had created or co-created a plethora of characters without having copyright or creative custody of them, he turned to rival publisher DC Comics, with his sketches and designs for a new group of heroes and villains.[1] As author Ronin Ro described:

"The Fourth World" dealt with the battle between good and evil as represented by the worlds of New Genesis and Apokolips. Darkseid, the evil lord of Apokolips, seeks the Anti-Life Equation which will allow him to control the thoughts of all living beings. Opposing him is Orion, his son raised by Highfather and his enemies on New Genesis. Other characters caught in the deadly battle included the Forever People, an extension of the kid gang concept from the 1940s with a group of adolescents adventuring without an adult supervisor; Mister Miracle, a native of New Genesis raised on Apokolips who triumphed over a torturous childhood to become the world's greatest escape artist; and Lightray, the heroic warrior of New Genesis. Their adventures would take them to Earth where the war continued.

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