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Eternals

Unearthed: The Eternals #1

Couldn’t get enough Jack Kirby cosmic madness? Neither can we! Today we’re looking at The Eternals, Kirby’s epic series for Marvel Comics!

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.

I mean, holy cats, LOOK at this.

Kirby’s aesthetic truly was unlike any other. His unique sense of design infiltrated every panel.

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.

Got to… fight it… must… warn… others…

But honey, there ain’t no escaping the Kirby Krackle™.

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?

Things like this. What a nightmare it would be to try to draw this again and again.

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.

Never let it be said that Kirby doesn’t know how to generate a sense of immense scale.

It takes a thousand years to learn how to recognize a piece of equipment?

I don’t know that Ikaris (“Ike Harris”, remember?) ever does this again, but just know that he CAN when he wants to.

CHEEZIT IT’S THE COPS

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!

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