Recent Dorkiness

THE WORLD THAT’S COMING! (Eew!)

I just started my first-ever read-through of Jack Kirby’s OMAC, the One Man Army Corps! Arguably Kirby’s freakiest creation, OMAC is set in THE WORLD THAT’S COMING, an undefined future time whose customs Kirby extrapolated from the direction he saw society heading in 1974. It’s one of those books you have to see to believe.

Which is, of course, the perfect excuse to run the image the series is best-remembered for…

Kirby OMAC 1 Lila

…as well as the even-more-nightmare-inducing splash that followed it:

Kirby OMAC 1 Splash

click to embiggen

Heh. That’s pages one through three of the first issue. After that, you KNOW you’re in for quite a ride.

And yes, though it’s presented in a kid-friendly manner, this scene is depicting pretty much what you think it is: a factory that manufactures living sex dolls (some assembly required). Now, sure, their real scheme is assassination: people pay them to send these things to men (lonely men, presumably) who the customer wants dead. Once assembled, the Build-a-Friends explode, taking the victims out with them. And I guess that’s why Omac’s been sent to destroy the factory. But he really seems more bothered by the same sordid implications most adult readers of the book get squidged out by…

Kirby OMAC 1 Mockery of the Spirit

There’s more going on here than the creepy commodification of women, though. OMAC, you see, was originally a nebbishy office boy named Buddy Blank. Buddy was transformed into the One-Man Army Corps, without his consent or consultation, by the Global Peace Agency via the remote genetic alterations of the GPA’s god-like satellite computer Brother Eye. So when you put the above panel into the context of the ones around it…

Kirby OMAC 1 Omac Lives

…OMAC is revealed to be just as much a product of science gone mad as Lila. That the psychic death of Buddy Blank serves the greater good ameliorates things only slightly. I could go on about how this origin story parallels the military draft, and Kirby’s experiences in World War II. And I may yet once I’m done with the series as a whole. For now, though, I’ll just say that OMAC may now be my favorite Kirby work, and cements my opinion that his 70s work outstrips what he did at Marvel in the 60s by a wide margin. OMAC is the Real Stuff.

 

(Forgive the uneven quality of the scans this time out. My scanner’s acting up, so I culled the panels I wanted from a wide variety of sources on-line. And thanks to everyone I stole pictures from, too.)

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About Mark Brett (400 Articles)
Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at http://reportsfromthefieldblog.wordpress.com/. Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at https://dorkforty.wordpress.com/.

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