As Jack Kirby’s centennial rapidly approaches, DC has been pulling out all the celebratory stops with one shots and specials — but easily the most ambitious and most anticipated of the festivities has been the Tom King and Mitch Gerads Mister Miracle limited series launch.
The twelve issue run brings King and Gerads back together after a handful of Batman issues and the grounded, modern day military drama of Sheriff of Babylon, released under Vertigo last year, and marks the “official” Rebirth reintroduction of the vast majority of Kirby’s New Gods pantheon.
CBR sat down with King at this years Comic-Con International in San Diego to get the very latest details, as the wait for issue one finally draws to a close.
So Tom, you’ve got a new book that’s coming out before this new [Batman] arc starts. Can we talk about Mister Miracle?
I would love to talk about Mister Miracle.
We’ve got some previews to work with now, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s kind of a dark book, yeah?
Well…, I mean, how many “light” books have I written?
That’s true! But this one looks kind of dark even for you, I would say — and I mean that in a good way!
Yeah, maybe. But it turns into like, a Game of Thrones-type story so there’s that. It’s an epic story that takes place in two different worlds, in Los Angeles and in a war on Apokolips, so…
I’m sure there are going to be some readers here who are meeting Scott Free for the first time in this series. It’s been a while since he’s had a starring role, and he certainly hasn’t had one in Rebirth, so what are you hoping readers take away from your take on this character?
This is the most ambitious thing I’ve ever done. Mitch Gerads and I were literally like — we looked at things like Watchmen, stories that are as good as that, that sort of reflect our time. They’re great comics but they’re deeper than that, they sort of get into the veins. So we were like, “Can we do that?” And the answer is. “No.” You can’t be Alan Moore, but you can try, right? You can be ambitious! What the hell, right?
So that’s what we said. So this is our attempt to do something like that. It’s our attempt to write a book that’s an epic, Game of Thrones-y superhero book, but it’s also about this contemporary moment. Not in terms of the politics, really. Not, “I hate Trump!” or whatever, because that’s boring. You can just read a Twitter feed and get better information. But in terms of this feeling we all have, this paranoia we all have. You wake up every day, and you’re not in the world you once thought it was. The rules that your parents taught you, the rules of life don’t make sense anymore, and you get this feeling that you’re just trapped here, like you can’t get out, no matter what you do. You’re stuck here.
And what better person to talk about this feeling we all have of being trapped in a place in a place we don’t understand than the god of escape?
You talked a bit about Scott being a sort of Jesus analogue when you announced the series, which is something that I had never thought about until that moment, and then realized made total sense.
Kirby’s genius was to take the epic Bible stories of his childhood, combine them with the passion he got from fighting in World War Two, and then add his own insanity and creativity from working in comics for thirty years… and all of that ended up creating the spine of our current pop culture. And so, with Scott — the classic context in Christianity is God giving his son to humanity, but in Kirby’s myth, God gives his son to the devil. That’s the twist on it. He’s the son of God, but he was raised in Hell, in a place where he was damaged in the deepest place a person can be damaged.
And here’s the thing: he’s a happy-go-lucky character! If you’ve read his book or seen my favorite modern interpretation of him in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon, he and Barda have this great relationship. They’re madly in love with each other. But beneath all that there’s this idea that there was this guy who was a child, whose father gave him to a torturer and said, “You have to suffer to make our world better.” He literally had to suffer for our sins. Not in a metaphorical way! He was literally suffering for the sins of his culture!
This is how that can break you, and how the laughter and the lightness might just be something you’re using to paste over the other stuff. It all might just be another trap you’ve stumbled into. There’s just a lot there. Kirby set the table for us all, we just get to eat, you know?
There’s a big moment in the preview with Orion showing up at Scott and Barda’s house, and a confrontation that seems pretty brutal. Can you tell me a little more about the Orion dynamic for the two of them?
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