• New Gods for Old: Jack Kirby and Classical Mythology from Mercury to The Eternals

    Author(s):
    Antony Keen (see profile)
    Date:
    2008
    Subject(s):
    Comic books, strips, etc., Classsical literature, Criticism, interpretation, etc.
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Marvel, Kirby, superheroes, Mercury, Eternals, Comics, Classical reception
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/hm71-pg30
    Abstract:
    In American superhero comics, there are few bigger names than Jack Kirby, who helped to make Marvel Comics famous. One of the earliest pieces of work he did for Marvel’s predecessor, Timely, was Mercury in the 20th Century. The themes Kirby explores, particularly the clash of gods and their presence upon Earth, would recur throughout his later work. This paper will explore those, addressing the following areas: 1 Influences from earlier strips such as Superman and The Flash to be found in Mercury, and their relationship to Classical reception. 2 Mercury’s anti-Nazism, in the context of the debate over American intervention in the Second World War. 3 Possible influence of Mercury upon other comics, such as Wonder Woman. 4 Recurrence of themes and visual motifs in Kirby’s later work, in Captain America, X-Men, and especially Thor. 5 Kirby’s use of Classical themes in the Fourth World books and Eternals.
    Notes:
    A paper I gave at a conference (the first half), and then in a longer version at an sf convention. I found a written up version in the files of a comics mailing list, where I had evidently uploaded it and forgotten it. I have since taken part of it for my superpatriots article.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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