The Great Bust-Out: Kirby’s Fourth World

Charles Hatfield

in Hand of Fire

Published by University Press of Mississippi

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9781617031786
Published online March 2014 | e-ISBN: 9781617031793 | DOI:
The Great Bust-Out: Kirby’s Fourth World

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This chapter examines Jack Kirby’s Fourth World and how it gave free reign to Kirby’s apocalyptic leanings. Combining old notions, a new scope, and, for costumed adventure comics, an unparalleled conceptual richness, the Fourth World offered an outsized approach to superheroes. Regarded by fans as one of DC Comics’s prestige properties, it consisted of three works, namely The Forever People (1971–1972), The New Gods (1971–1972), and Mister Miracle (1971–1974). The chapter considers two meanings of apocalypse within the framework of the Fourth World: revelation and cataclysm. It first provides a brief overview of the history of the apocalypse as genre before turning to a discussion of the values and the politics of the Fourth World.

Keywords: comics; Jack Kirby; Fourth World; superheroes; DC Comics; The Forever People; The New Gods; Mister Miracle; apocalypse; politics

Chapter.  14030 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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