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What Makes Someone a 'New God'?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Mike M. wrote in with a fascinating question regarding Jack Kirby's Fourth World and specifically what it means to be considered a "New God."

I was wondering about the New Gods of Kirby's Fourth World. Obviously, Darkseid, Highfather, Orion, etc. are "New Gods," and display powers. However, numerous stories describe others on New Genesis and Apokolips (such as the numerous slaves of Darkseid), who appear powerless. Are these individuals considered "New Gods" as well, just for having been born there, or is there something that distinguishes who is a God and who is not?

As I noted, it's a great question, Mike. When we first see the Hunger Dogs of Apokolips in New Gods #1 (by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer) when Orion goes to visit that planet, they sure as heck don't seem very godly, do they?

However, at the start of the issue, when he gives the rough origins of the New Gods, Kirby is pretty explicit that the denizens of New Genesis and Apokolips are, in fact, populated by "new gods"...

He's ESPECIALLY explicit about New Genesis...

But note that there are "normal" people on New Genesis, as well, and they're still considered "celestials"...

So yes, oddly enough, despite the Hunger Dogs of Apokolips being in awful situations, they're technically ALL considered "New Gods." They're just new gods who are in a terrible situation. Weird, right?

Thanks for the question, Mike! If anyone ELSE has a question they'd like to see me address, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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