Friday, November 23, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust: Death of the New Gods

I caught wind of this late last month and I have to say I’m shocked and depressed over “Death of the New Gods.” I guess if I had to choose, I’d say I was more depressed, because it seems like after all these years the good folks at DC feel the only way to make any headway into the development of a character (or characters in this case) is to kill them off.

Now I know that maybe by killing off all (but one) of the New Gods, Jim Starlin is alluding that the characters in the Fourth World can be re-introduced or re-tooled or re-whatever’ed and then re-presented into a new series. But I’m just not sure that killing off the New Gods is the way to do it. I’ve never been a big fan of killing off any existing comic book character.

I certainly didn’t know Jack Kirby -- that’s not counting me meeting him at the 1975 MiamiCon (see my post below) – but from what I’ve learned and read from others like Mark Evanier, Jack Kirby was all about LIFE and not DEATH. So I have to wonder how Jack would have reacted to all this killing – especially the killing of a group of characters that continue to make money for DC and especially ones that were so near and dear to his heart.

Granted none of the re-launched series of the New Gods have lasted more than a couple of years each. Some even less than that. You’d have thought that maybe John Byrne could have done something special when he had the chance. Never happened. Mark Evanier had a fun go at it a few years back in a dis-jointed kind of way. I’ve always felt that maybe it’s the way in which the New Gods were presented. Beats the heck outta me what the secret is. I really enjoyed Walt Simonson’s take on the New Gods and THAT didn’t last either!

Anyway, Jim Starlin seems to think it’s time to do away with the Fourth World and he’s just the guy to do it. I’m not entirely convinced. I’ve always run hot and cold on Starlin’s art: loved him on Shang Chi way back in the day. Enjoyed his run on Warlock and especially Pip the Troll (which I recall was a homage to Jack Kirby -- cigar and all). I thought Cosmic Odyssey was o-k, but Starlin only wrote it and didn’t illustrate it (that was early Mike Mignola if I’m not mistaken). Not to mention that over time Starlin’s characters seem to gain weight. Kind of the same way Jack Kirby’s characters got bulkier over the years. Startlin’s version of Orion is the beefiest I’ve ever seen. And I don’t necessarily mean that as a compliment.

You can read an interesting interview with Jim Starlin regarding Death of the New Gods by clicking here.

Anyway -- so over the course of this 8-issue mini-series all the New Gods will bite the dust. Silly me -- I didn’t even realize LightRay got whacked in another series. And now Big Barda. And that’s just the beginning! Issue #5 is already being pre-ordered and I’m sure by issue #8 there will be more carnage and mayhem going on than even Orion can handle. That is if he’s still around by then.

My only solace: if they can kill Superman and bring him back I’m sure the New Gods can work their way back into the DC Universe. Hopefully it’s just a matter of a time.

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