Welcome to the four hundred and fifty-fourth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and fifty-three. This week is a special theme week! All of the legends involve Jack Kirby’s Fourth World! Did Kirby originally intend to conclude his Fourth World saga with the deaths of Darkseid and Orion? How did DC manage to find a way to give Kirby royalties for his Fourth World work? And did Jack Kirby’s Fourth World influence acclaimed musician Jon Hassell?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Jack Kirby intended to finish his Fourth World epic with both Darkseid and Orion killed.
STATUS: I’m Going With True
The Hunger Dogs was the conclusion to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World saga.
However, what we eventually saw as the Hunger Dogs was not what Jack Kirby originally intended.
Originally, Kirby was brought in by DC to do a conclusion to his Fourth World epic in a series of books reprinting his original comics with a new ending
and then a graphic novel to wrap things up (this also served to give Kirby new money as the books would be reprinting his older work).
The last issue of the reprint series would have what would ostensibly be New Gods #12 (as Kirby’s original series ended with #11).
Kirby and Mike Royer began work on this final issue, dubbed “On the Road to Armagetto”…
but DC ended up squelching it, while later then turning the pages that Kirby and Royer DID complete into parts of what became Hunger Dogs.
For instance, check out this spread from early in their original story…
It was later used in a different part of Hunger Dogs…
Now WHY did DC squelch Kirby and Royer’s plans for the original story? As Royer recalls, it was because Kirby intended to end the story with both Orion AND Darkseid killed (and other New Gods characters dead, as well)! And since DC had just decided to use Darkseid heavily in their Super Powers toy collection (as well as the cartoon series), they wouldn’t let Kirby kill off the characters, so instead they re-purposed the Kirby/Royer pages with new pages that Kirby wrote and drew and turned into Hunger Dogs and then Kirby wrote and drew a brand-new story for New Gods #6 (a NEW “#12”) that would lead into Hunger Dogs.
Now, to be clear, Kirby never actually wrote/drew the deaths of Orion and Darkseid. That would have occurred in the original plans for Hunger Dogs. DC said no before they even GOT to that point. What happened was that Kirby/Royer’s #12 would lead into Hunger Dogs, which was going to end with Orion and Darkseid dying. Here is Kirby/Royer’s original final page from The Road to Armagetto, which specifically notes that the story will continue in the Hunger Dogs…
It was just a matter of when DC decided to no longer let Kirby finish the series the way he wanted, they no longer wanted the Kirby/Royer story as the lead-in to it, so they instead re-purposed the Kirby/Royer story as PART of the new version of Hunger Dogs (which ends with neither Orion nor Darkseid dead) and then Kirby just wrote a new #12 leading into his re-written Hunger Dogs.
Mark Evanier has also written that Kirby intended to kill off Orion and Darkseid and DC said no.
Thanks to Mike Royer and Mark Evanier for the info!
Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!
Did Paul Anka Get the Publisher’s Rights for “My Way” for Free?
On the next page, how did DC find a way to pay Kirby for his Fourth World characters?
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