Kate (and Dan) read FOREVER PEOPLE: Crimespree on Comics

The year is 1970, and strange things are afoot in the world! New fashions, new social mores and paradigms!

New IDEAS.

No one had more ideas than Jack “King” Kirby. After partnering with Stan “The Man” Lee to usher in the Marvel Age Of Comics, Kirby found himself across town at the “Distinguished Competition,” DC Comics, and they were eager for his ideas.

While at Marvel, Kirby had his partnership with Lee to bounce ideas off of, and to write dialog for him. At DC, he was left to his own devices, and the result was the comic book equivalent of a locomotive running into a fire hydrant. Excitement! Drama! Pathos! Energy! And even more excitement!

The result was the FOURTH WORLD SAGA: three brand new books along to go alongside his taking over the established SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSON. The new books were THE NEW GODS, FOREVER PEOPLE, and MISTER MIRACLE. Kirby wrote and drew all of these books on his own. Today we set our sights on FOREVER PEOPLE.

Kate: ::walks into dark room, sees Dan dressed in bellbottom jeans, tie-dyed shirt and headband, smoking a cigarette:: Dan, why are you dressed like that? And since when do you smoke?!

Dan: ::hacking uncontrollably:: Don’t be such a square, doll-face. Just getting into character for our early ‘70’s visit.

K: Why are you acting like the lost actor from “HAIR?”

D: History, Baby. History. Now put on this “Cher” outfit. And feed your eyeholes with this glory!

::opens comic to the sound of a choir of angels and much exploding light::

K: ::eyes wide, hair sticking out at bizarre angels:: FOREVER PEOPLE? I must admit, it was far different than anything I’ve read up till now…

D: The old expression, “They don’t make ‘em like they used to” certainly applies. The problem is it’s almost impossible to spotlight a New Gods book without falling into hyperbole. I think your reaction lies in the fact the storytelling from 30 years ago is just so different than today. But if you read any other book from the era, and then Forever People, I think you’d still see the creative “gulf” between them.

K: Enough of the vague hyper-bole! Besides, how did you know “bole” makes me hyper?! Have you been spying on me again??? Let’s talk examples about this story telling golf. I like stories about golf. You know, like Masters Memories…

D: OK. If you read a, I don’t know… we’ll say a FLASH comic from 1970 you would probably be bored to death. The characters tend to be flat and the dialogue dull. If you read more of these NEW GODS books, you’d see a new idea or concept on every page: The Mother Box, the Super Cycle, etc. Today’s version of Kirby would be Warren Ellis or Grant Morrison.

K: Morrison? Like SUPERGODS Morrison?

D: That’s the guy. As I said, a new idea on every page.

K: The “Boom Tube” was a pretty creative device to allow for time and space travel. Kind of like the TARDIS but less British and boxy.

D: Hah! I can see that. But the TARIDS just goes “vorp vorp” when it travels. A little subtler than the BOOM tube!

K: The Super Cycle that the Forever People use to get around is also pretty cool, and very 1970’s to boot. But did he have to make it in hot pink? It looks more Josie and the Pussycats than Superhero posse.

D: I don’t know… it does have gold lightning bolts on the side. That’s pretty masculine. Hey! Do you like these love beads for my “Sonny” outfit? And is my paisley headband on straight?

K: ::Yeah… masculine…

D: I’m not gonna lie, it takes real work to get through these stories. One of the main criticisms of Kirby’s New Gods work is that without Lee, Kirby’s dialogue is pretty darn stilted. It takes real effort to chew through dialogue like:

“They’re from a place that men have sought, but never found—we’ve seen their like before—in different ages—in different guises—but never like this—yet, always like this—when man’s civilization faces destruction…”
K: I have no idea what you just said.

D: I read it, and I’m totally confused. And that’s from FOREVER PEOPLE #1, page 1.

K: Anyway, so we’ve got this intergalactic boy-band Partridge Family cruising on a giant motorcycle on their way to Supertown to save the universe from Darkseid in an alien battle-of-the-bands kinda thing, right? And Mother Box takes care of them, makes sure none of the guys are mean to Beautiful Dreamer, since she’s the only girl in the band? And at the end of each adventure, there’s a musical number right before the closing credits, right?
And Superman’s there too.

D: That’s… that’s gibberish. Did you even read the book? I mean, you didn’t even mention that one of the alien FOREVER PEOPLE is dressed like a cowboy from the American Old West, or that when faced with dire conflict, with Mother Box’s help, they can summon forth a Super-Alien called the INFINITY MAN to fight their battles for them!

K: That…that’s gibberish.

D: At least I didn’t try to add a musical number to each adventure.

Dan and Kate Malmon are a happily married couple in Roseville, MN. When not working, reading comics and mysteries or watching sports, they hang out with Franklin the dog. You can find both Kate and Dan on Twitter.