1 Jack Kirby’s Fourth World (New Gods; Mister Miracle; Forever People; Jimmy Olsen)
2 Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles
3 Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis
4 Grant Morrison’s Flex Mentallo
5 Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman
6 Grant Morrison’s Animal Man
7 Grant Morrison’s Multiversity
8 Grant Morrison’s JLA
9 Grant Morrison’s We3
10 Grant Morrison’s Zenith
I also have great affection for New X-Men, the best the X characters have been handled, but the series is not better than Zenith so it fails to make my Top Ten. I’m not going to wax lyrical about Grant Morrison’s contribution to the comic book industry his work speaks for itself.
I am however going to spill word after word about Jack Kirby’s Fourth World series which is of course his best work, in my opinion, though it must be said I absolutely adore Kamandi, The Demon, Captain America, The Mighty Thor, The Fantastic Four, Devil Dinosaur and of course the seriously years, and years, ahead of its time OMAC, the world still hasn’t caught up. Yet.
If DC Comics had allowed Jack Kirby to finish his vision for the Fourth World I would now own a 20th century mythology, a mythology that had a beginning, a middle and an end, this is unfortunately not the case but I still own an amazing comic book series that IS myth come to four colour life.
It begins in the pages of Jimmy Olsen no. 133 and it ends with Kirby’s brilliant The Hunger Dogs, some have been critical of Kirby’s The Hunger Dogs, I know not why, it’s still as big and as bold and as beautiful as anything else out there in the wonderful world of comic books.
In my opinion at least.
In his introduction to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus volume one Grant Morrison says of Kirby that he was ‘a master magician, a Renaissance intellect, a Beat philosopher, and a creative artist without peer’, to me growing up as a kid Jack Kirby was a comic book god, nay GOD, for me a comic book wasn’t a comic book unless it was a Jack Kirby illustrated comic book all other comic books looked somewhat lesser in my eyes once I’d seen a Jack Kirby comic book. He was a genius who left behind a vast body of work that I can pick at again and again finding something new, that was also old, for example at the end of July 2016 I bought Machine Man the collected edition the first part of the collected comic book edition written and illustrated by Jack Kirby and once I read his part of the book the rest seemed lesser, almost not worthy of reading.
If, dear reader, you’re not a comic book fan then you’ve never heard of Jack Kirby but if you’ve watched a movie from Marvel Studios you’ve seen Jack Kirby created characters, Captain America, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Nick Fury and SHIELD (though the original Nick Fury was a white guy), The Uncanny X-Men, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Doctor Doom, Magneto, The Inhumans, Black Panther, Ant-Man and The Wasp, HYDRA, AIM, Silver Surfer and though he didn’t create the Nordic Sagas he did create Marvel Comics version of Loki and The Mighty Thor, in upcoming superhero movies from both DC and Marvel characters like Darkseid and Ego The Living Planet have been hinted at both created by Jack Kirby, Darkseid is the greatest supervillain in comic books history and Thanos, having already appeared in the Marvel movies, is Marvel’s rip-off of the superior Darkseid character.
As a writer of comic book stories few have managed to transcend the ideas and themes Jack Kirby wished to express to his fans, and casual readers, his Fourth World series overflows with all kinds of deep, and sometimes dark, human thoughts and behavioural attitudes though Kirby’s stories centre around Gods capable of traversing the depths of space they’re also deeply human tales rich in heart and soul with lessons to teach those who read, and that’s something I find important in stories they should say something about us and have lessons that we can learn from or be inspired by.
Kirby written characters also possess distinctive, and real, personalities he didn’t write caricatures instead he created characters that had all kinds of believable idiosyncrasies and they spoke with distinctive voices their personalities positively leap from the page and though messages, particularly moral, are to be shared readers aren’t preached at they’re left to notice the message or ignore and just enjoy the fun.
A lot of fun is to be had the energy of a Kirby story sweeps a reader along in a seemingly non-stop barrage of fun, of action, there’s always something happening on every page, inside the confines of every panel, there’s nothing, in any other medium, like a Jack Kirby comic book and there’s nothing in comic books as good as Jack Kirby’s Fourth World.