Thursday, 7 March 2013

ARE YOU READY FOR OMAC?



OMAC - ONE MAN ARMY CORPS! According to former JACK
KIRBY assistant MARK EVANIER, Omac was based on an unrealised
idea for a futuristic version of CAPTAIN AMERICA that Kirby had come
up with around 1968 while still at MARVEL. Whether he decided to hold
off due to growing dissatisfaction with the company, or because he felt
the time wasn't right for such a character, we'll probably never know for
sure. However, the future Cap finally saw the light of day as Omac
over at DC COMICS when Jack jumped ship in the early '70s.

Unfortunately, it never really caught on - lasting a mere eight issues
before cancellation. If DC had expected Kirby to infuse new life into their
comic line due to their mistaken belief that Jack had been the main man
behind the fortunes of Marvel Comics (a rumour that was doing the rounds
back in the late '60s, early '70s), they must have been sorely disappointed.
With the exception of four magazines (JIMMY OLSEN - 15, MISTER
MIRACLE - 18, KAMANDI - 40, and THE DEMON - 16), his other
titles were all cancelled before they had seen out a dozen issues.

(Jack's tenure on THE LOSERS lasted for twelve issues exactly, but
the comic predated his involvement and continued after he left. None of
The Losers were Kirby characters, unlike the GOLDEN GUARDIAN
and the NEWSBOY LEGION in Jimmy Olsen's mag.)

So Kirby went back to Marvel - and failed to make much of a dent
there either on his second time around. The problem was that, although
Kirby was a solid and dependable storyteller in his own right, without the
input (one might say magic) of his former collaborator STAN LEE, his
stories were competent but uninspired, with leaden dialogue and an
increasingly abstract style of art.

However, even lacklustre Kirby is well-worth looking at, and I have
fond recollections of most of his DC output from this time. (Just a shame
he didn't use a scripter in the style of Lee to 'punch up' his stories a bit.)
Anyway, enjoy the covers of all eight issues of Omac, even if the
last one is by JOE KUBERT and not Jack himself.
     






19 comments:

Michael Perridge said...

There are a lot of things Jack Kirby didn't draw very well, but I didn't realise that bottoms was one of them! In the world that's coming Omac needs a proper arse ... if issue 4 is anything to go by.

Kid said...

You're right, but not being a person who looks at men's @rses, I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't pointed it out. No doubt your wife or girlfriend brought it to your attention. (I'm throwing you a lifebelt here - grab it.) Snigger!

Anonymous said...

Jack Kirby competent but uninspired? You must have read different Kirby Komix to the rest of us.

Kid said...

The rest of you? Where were the rest of you when Kirby's DC mags were dropping like flies because not enough readers were buying them. And I'd hardly call a reworking of Captain America inspired. That's the trouble with some over-zealous fans - they think that because they're easily pleased, everyone else should be also.

Michael Perridge said...

Gay or straight I know a proper arse when I see one :-)

Anyway stop posting all this gay porn. Or at least explain why Omac is 'pleasuring' himself in front of an army of phalluses on the cover of issue three. What is the subliminal message for young people on a comic approved by the comics code authority? Safe sex perhaps as there's a gun in the bottom right hand corner wearing a condom.

Just my gay imagination? Is it just me? I think not.

Kid said...

"Language, Timothy!"

It's just you, Michael - I don't see that even after you mentioning it.

(Hope you don't mind the mild editing. I don't want any youngsters who might wander into this blog reading anything too direct.)

And since when did condoms stop bullets?

Anonymous said...

They ended because Kirby's Koncepts were too sophisticated for readers of that time who were mainly kids. He was ahead of his time and in no way could his comics be called uninspired. Good Gravy, man, those comics were pure genius!!

Gey Blabby said...

Personally, I'm more disturbed by the cover of issue one. What's going on there?

Kid said...

Oops! I accidentally published the 'naughty' version as well as the edited one. It has now been removed to spare anyone's blushes.

******

Anon, Kirby was a solid, competent storyteller - with a tin ear for dialogue. The concepts he cribbed from the SF books he read may have been 'sophisticated', but there was nothing sophisticated about Kirby's application of them. His Captain America storytelling technique was regarded as rather simple when compared against the issues which had preceded them. His execution of stories, without the genius of Stan Lee, was often uninspired and, in fact, plain boring. His DC and later Marvel comics didn't sell because most readers didn't like them - plain and simple truth. They were regarded as too old-fashioned.

******

Gey, now you'll have to track down the issue on ebay (or buy the DC Omac Omnibus edition) to find out.

Anonymous said...

I remember the ads and blurbs in DC comics in 1970, proclaiming, "Kirby is coming!" As if one artist/writer would be enough to make DC cool and trendy. By the time the Fourth World series actually premiered, I had lost interest, having been put off by the hype. I don't think those comics were bad, but they were overblown and pretentious.

Kid said...

That's the best that can be said about them - they weren't bad. Trouble was, contrary to what we had been led to believe, they weren't great.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Kid and his Kronies have a clue about Kirby. The Fourth World were some of the best comics of the 70's. The art and ideas were incredible.

Kid said...

So it's the old "You don't like what I like, so you're wrong" approach, eh? What you're overlooking is that I'm (as are others also, I'm sure) a huge Kirby fan. I'm not comparing his 4th World series to what others were doing, but to his own previous accomplishments at Marvel. Measured against that, his stint at DC was underwhelming. The fact that his comics were cancelled seems to prove it, in my view.

You missed an opportunity - you should have rendered 'clue' as 'Klue'.

Anonymous said...

His last two year at Marvel wasn't as good as his Fourth World comics.

Kid said...

I'm not sure I'd agree with you on the last TWO years, but he was certainly 'treading water' in the last several months (up to a year, perhaps) before he left. He'd kept his ideas for DC, but his scripting let him down. Even his last issues at Marvel read as well as ever, because (with the exception of his Inhumans strip), Stan was scripting them.

baab said...

Klue.
brilliant.

Kid said...

I modestly agree with your assessment, Baab. It was a pure brammer!

Dougie said...

Surprisingly, for a 70s series, I actually read almost all of the Omac run, except for the first and last issues. I much preferred Kamandi however. I had never thought of Omac as a futuristic Cap but it makes complete sense.

Kid said...

According to Mark Evanier, the idea behind Omac sprang from a never-realized version of Captain America set in the future, that Jack had while still at Marvel around '68. It wasn't necessarily going to be Steve Roger's CA, but perhaps some other fella continuing the 'franchise'. Astounding stuff, eh, Dougie?

I'm amended the opening paragraph to include some of that information, which I gleaned from the introduction of my Omac Omnibus edition. I knew I'd read it somewhere.