Thursday, November 14, 2013

Philip K. Dick Influence on Kirby?

I've written before about the two-story arc in FANTASTIC FOUR 66-67. I won't go into how Kirby's story was all but ruined by the shenanigans played by his editor. But the issues are still intriguing and some of Kirby's writing still shines through, of course, just based on the power of his artwork and the strength of his sequential storytelling.

One thing that I have always been curious about was whether there was any influence on the character of HIM from outside sources. Particularly from the short story "The Golden Man" by Philip K. Dick. Anyone reading the story by Dick will understand that the lead character in that 11K-word tale bears a striking physical resemblance to HIM (later known as Warlock/Magus as written by Jim Starlin). PK Dick's character is statuesque, physically perfect, seemingly cast from gold, and aloof...all but separated from any contact with the world of Man.

Kirby's character spends most of the story slowly forming within a gigantic cocoon, bred by scientists to be the perfect and ultimate being. And when he finally does emerge from that cocoon, he looks pretty much as Dick described his own ubermann--perfectly formed, as if carved from golden marble, and caring not one whit for the humans who had created him.

I do know that Kirby read widely in science and in science-fiction, so he certainly must have read Dick's work. But did "The Golden Man" in part serve as an inspiration for HIM? It's something I would like to have asked Jack Kirby.

Philip K. Dick's "Golden Man".

Kirby's HIM.


Kirk G said...

I'm not familiar with PKDick's works, but never heard of this Golden Man book. Now that I have, it certainly sounds like a dead-ringer for the story that Kirby had intended to tell, or to springboard off. I always got the impression that the creature in the cocoon had only retreated there because either he had been attacked or injured by the scientists. I'm still not sure just what they expect Alicia to do for them, but then, the story played out as it did in #67...

James Robert Smith said...

I'm not saying HIM is a carbon-copy of The Golden Man. Just wondering if the story influenced Kirby's thinking in creating his own story. Cris, the protagonist of "The Golden Man" is a kind of autistic mutant. Beautiful and fearful to look upon, but possessed of abilities far exceeding that of a normal human, and cut off from full human contact, thus not looking at himself as part of the tribe of Mankind.

I think Kirby was influenced by the work, but I can't say for sure. FF 66-67 was not intended as a copy of Dick's work, but perhaps a variation on a theme.

Runciter Associates said...

Hi there.

Are you going to publsh my comment?

Thank you.

James Robert Smith said...

Yeah. Sorry. Was away from the blog for a few days.

It wouldn't have mattered if "Lee" was a PKDick fan, or not. Because "Lee" wrote nothing. He was a shill and only altered dialog (when he did even that) written by Kirby and Ditko and Ayers and Everett, etc. etc. etc.

Lying shills don't write. They just steal.