(Note: Read part 1 of this series here)
Kirby's 80's work may be generally overlooked, but that's not to say it isn't influential. I detail the numerous parallels between Captain Victory and James Cameron's Aliens in Spandex. And what is easily the nadir of Kirby's artistry, Super Powers, was in many ways DC's practice run for event books like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Cosmic Odyssey.
But let's look further into this strange, precognitive nexus between Silver Star and Destroyer Duck. So many of the thematic strands that we now see bubbling up from the conspiracy underground seem to hover around these books like a Lovecraftian spectre. It seems that nearly every major theme discussed in the more speculative branches of conspiracy research finds a synchronistic antecedent in three obscure Jack Kirby comic books. Granted, Kirby's work shows that he seemed to be very much immersed in the same themes that you see on conspiracy, UFO and high weirdness websites. But I'm not sure if that explains the...
9/11 was like gasoline on the smoldering coals of internet conspiracy research, which had been whipped up by Behold a Pale Horse, Art Bell and the"Patriot" movement in the 1990's. The image above was taken from Destroyer Duck #5, published by Eclipse Comics in 1983. It's important to note that Kirby didn't write this story, Howard the Duck creator Steve Gerber did. But it may well be what inspired Kirby to completely rewrite the end of Silver Star.
In DD#5, we see the set up for the unsettingly prescient 9/11-like scenario in this story. The CEO of "Godcorp" readies a 'suitcase nuke' (that favorite bugaboo of the neoconservative Right) to celebrate the signing of a oil drilling franchise in Hoqoom, an Mesopotamian theocracy based on Iran. The conflicts and tensions that played themselves on 9/11 are presented here in reverse, with the Islamic radicals suffering what becomes a (inadvertent) suicide attack at the hands of American plutocrats. The satirical "Pahkmani the Devourer" (yes, a Pac-Man parody) and the fundamentalists of Hoqoom find their counterparts in Darius Drumm and the Foundation for Self Denial in Silver Star.
One popular school of thought in the conspiracy underground is derived from an dyspeptic reinterpretation of the theories of writers like Zechariah Sitchin and Erich Von Daniken. It holds that human race is secretly manipulated and unconsciously enslaved by a cabal of evil extraterrestrials, who created homo sapiens as a slave race using their own alien DNA and the DNA of proto-hominids.
Sitchin was inspired by Biblical stories of the Nephilim, which are the offspring of human women and a race of "giants," whom he came to see as extraterrestrials. Kirby himself subscribed to these theories, which formed the basis of his 1976 Marvel series, The Eternals. Best-sellers like The Gods of Eden by William Bramley and Rule By Secrecy by Jim Marrs would later combine Sitchin's ancient astronaut theories with the occult conspiracy interpretation of history put forth by writers like Michael Howard.
Another popular strain in conspiracy research is drawn from James Shelby Downard's symbological interpretation of events like the Kennedy assassination. Downard collated details like place names and other geographical details to concoct an elaborate thesis that Freemasons were manipulating world events as part of a grand ritual to reorder the cosmos itself.
When I first read of Downard's theories I was deeply immersed in Jung and was astonished that this character seemed completely oblivious of the theory of Synchronicity. The types of conjunctions and correspondences Downard wrote about seemed par for the course for any neophyte Jungian. Downard's research isn't even all that impressive- others have come along and done it much better. An entire new school of thought has sprung up around a new synthesis of Jung and some of the post-Downard researchers - it's known as "Synchromysticism."
Concurrently, researchers like former BBC personality David Icke have recombined Bramley's and Downard's interpretations and taken them to the next level, claiming that the ruling elites of the world are devil-worshipping, shape-shifting alien reptiles who use symbolism as form of mind control-cum-witchcraft. In this view, popular media is a minefield of symbolic spells, created to manipulate the primitive human mind (which come to think of it, probably isn't that far from the truth...)
Which brings me to the backup story in Destroyer Duck #5...
Where the main story explored the theocratic and petropolitical motivations behind a 9/11 type event, Destroyer Duck #5's backup feature The Starling (written by Superman creator Jerry Siegel) offers a comic book foreshadowing of Icke's UFO theorizing. In florid, erotically charged language Siegel describes the origin of his character, which are identical to the modern theories of the biblical Nephilim (or The X-Files, for that matter). In turn, this human-alien hybrid who links us symbolically back to Mesopotamia, via the writings of Sitchin.
The story is filled with the brutal emotionalism that made Siegel's Superman so compelling. In this scene, the sweet-faced teenage boy learns from his mother (now a best-selling novelist) that his father was a shape-shifting alien who seduced her to create this new child.
In another foreshadowing of Icke et al, that sweet-faced boy is himself a shape shifting reptilian. Mind you, this was written by the creator of Superman, modern history's most iconic superhero.
MESOPOTAMIA AND MARDUK
Looking at the Starling in that scene with his mother, I'm struck by how much he resembles Kamandi, another similarly-clad, sweet-faced teenager from Jack Kirby's post-apocalyptic fever-dream from the 1970's.
The mystery deepens. Mirroring the later Destroyer Duck #5, Kirby wrote his own story of a suitcase nuke smuggled aboard in airplane. In Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth# 30, Kamandi and his mutant companion Ben Boxer discover a long-dead terrorist on an airplane that had been commandeered by a UFO. The terrorist is clutching a suitcase nuke, en route to some grim destination before the 'Great Disaster,' the nebulous Apocalypse that is the basis of the Kamandi mythology.
Remarkably, we are symbolically brought back to Sitchin's Mesopotamia by the giant statue of Marduk on the cover of Kamandi #30 (story is titled "UFO: The Wildest Trip Ever"). The desert sands of Mesopotamia (or Hoqoom) were the cradle of civilization and now this alien-made "sand pit" becomes its grave. This cover is not altogether thematically dissimilar to the Sitchin cover above, either. (note: The Angel of Death in Silver Star also reduced the landscape to desert).
This also ties us back to Jerry Siegel, since Marduk was one of Superman's mythological antecedents. Again, was any of this conscious? I can't possibly see how.
As if all of this weren't enough, the terrorist, the suitcase nuke and the airliner are all drawn into a gigantic Stargate, or interdimensional portal, that opens in the sky above the sand dunes.
Kirby writes: "Where do UFO's come from? How do they get here? Maybe they don't travel through the vastness of space, maybe they just come through things like the Door." I'm sure both Freud and Crowley would appreciate the blatant symbolism on that image- a skyscraper entering a Stargate, though for different reasons. Jake Kotzke would appreciate it for another reason altogether from them.
So would Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, whose landmark work The Stargate Conspiracy was published in America exactly one week before...
Since everything always ties back to The X-Files somehow, I am struck by how similar the image of the terrorist clutching the suitcase nuke in Kamandi is to this image of Max Fennig clutching a part of a highly radioactive alien generator to his chest in the episode "Max." Especially since both situations deal with an UFO taking control of a jetliner. I'm even more struck by the parallels between the plane crash in that XF episode and the contested fate of Flight 93. In the episode, the airliner Max is on is commandeered by a UFO and then shot down by a fighter jet. It crash-lands in rural, upstate New York, right next door to Pennsylvania.
I'm even more struck by the gematria encoded in the tail-fin of the Kamandi plane. 'N' and 'C' are the 14th and 3rd letters of the alphabet respectively, adding up to the mystical 17. G is the 7th- add the 2 and you have 9. And we already have the 11.
The two 9/11 airplanes- Flight 11 and Flight 175 struck the twin towers 17 minutes apart.
Kamandi #30 hit the stands in March of 1975.
This story originally started as a short '2007 in Review' post. But everytime I look at it, another link comes to light. Next, we will see Kirby's prophecies of the Iraq War and the Big Brother of all Conspiracy Theories...
To Be Continued...