Not many readers will remember Erich von Daniken, but his “Chariots of the Gods” made his case for the influence of aliens on human civilization. It’s clear that his work had a huge influence on Jack Kirby, who must have used it as the inspiration for The Eternals.
It’s often been said that there were few inkers able to capture the raw power and majesty of Kirby’s pencils, so we’ll never know how this series might have looked in more capable hands. But the King’s work still inspires awe with the sheer magnitude of his imagination.
But is there an actual story? You’d better believe it. Here, the cameraman, an “Ike Harris” has just made a pronouncement that what they’re looking at could be the origin of the human species. And Kirby wants you to know what a bold statement it is, judging by the awkward dialogue here and in the next panel.
The text in the Eternals never quite lives up to the Shakespearean potential of the New Gods series, but in its scope, it’s equally magnificent.
Suddenly, we jump to these grotesqueries, who were responsible for shooting the hapless jet out of the sky. We’ll learn more about them in a minute.
The treasures that Kirby just drops on the page are simply incredible. And notice that he rarely, if ever, draws the same structures twice… so he never has to reproduce the outlandish and fiercely-detailed creations he renders. Because how COULD he?
Now we’re getting to it. The “gods” are responsible for manipulating the genetic structure of apes, resulting in the evolution of three distinct branches:
This textbook-like retelling of history is a bit staid, but it serves to set up the backdrop of the weird story Kirby is trying to tell.
I don’t know that Ikaris (“Ike Harris”, remember?) ever does this again, but just know that he CAN when he wants to.
Some textual weirdness here, in Kro’s abandonment of the exclamation point in favor of a simple period. If any statement deserves a “!”, surely it’s his?
And what’s with the weird typeface used for “Celestials From Space”? It looks like someone else put it in there at the last second.
At any rate, join us on Friday for a look at The Eternals #2!