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Long before he jumped from Marvel to DC, Jack Kirby was the king of comics. How could he not be? Kirby was the co-creator and visionary artist for the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and countless other icons. Yet Kirby wasn't recognized for his writing contributions until he received free rein to create his magnum opus at DC.
In the second part of this special edition of Behind the Panel, we're once again looking back at Kirby's Fourth World. In the '70s, Kirby's first projects for DC were an ambitious epic about a new race of gods from across the cosmos. The action unfolded in The New Gods, Mister Miracle, The Forever People, and even in the pages of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. Current DC co-publisher Dan DiDio is still astonished by Kirby's creative output four decades later.
"The most fascinating thing about Kirby's Fourth World is the fact that this is a guy doing four books a month," noted DiDio. "Think about it. Writing, drawing, editing, putting it altogether. Four books a month. How much thought do you put into that? And how much of that is pure emotion and id that's winding up on the page?"
As part of our retrospective, we visited the Boys' Club in New York where Kirby first learned to draw and acknowledged his time serving in World War II, which had a large influence on his Fourth World Saga. At the time, the Fourth World may have been too much for comic readers to handle. But in the intervening decades, Kirby's Fourth World heroes and villains have become an indelible part of the DC Universe. They may even get their own live-action movie in the near future.
For more Fourth World memories, check out the full video!