Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mindbomb, Part 3: We are the Night People

A pack of gluttonous, raccoon-eyed paranoids drunk on consumerism, Calvinism and overstimulation.

An expert diagnosis of Bush-era America? Well, that's a bit outside of the Secret Sun's province. Here, it's a description of Jack Kirby's "Night People," whom Captain America tangled with following the Madbomb Saga. Christmas is probably still fresh in your memory, so this montage should ring true....

Firmly ensconced in the endless ocean of the Dreaming Mind, Kirby foresaw the future of America and only got a few of the details wrong. The Night People have indeed come, only the Elite wasn't defeated and the Madbombs keep going off all the time.

Foreseeing the Bush Administration's policy of "Shock and Awe" or the constellation of control techniques Naomi Wolf catalogs in her book The Shock Doctrine, the Night People's Inquisitor turns the Horus-resonating Falcon and his lady into one of them using their sacrament, the "blessing" of electroshock treatment. In addition to the Egyptian stand-in superhero, we have Leila, whose name is Arabic for "night."

The Night People have their heaven, only it's not on Earth. It's in another dimension and they use their own homemade Stargate to move back and forth. The only problem is their dimension is the dwelling place of demons- their heaven is actually a Hell. Devising their own interpretation of the Rapture, the Night People concoct a plan to transport all of the demons through the Stargate to Earth, so their dimension can be Heaven once again and Armageddon will befall the fallen world they left behind.

This kind of prophecy must leave a semiotic trail to its fulfillment and here we get hit after hit.

You see, the Night People had their own Mega Ritual, transporting their asylum on Zero Street to another dimension, along with a healthy chunk of Manhattan's bedrock. Zero Street is now a fenced-in Ground Zero, its native soil replaced with alien atoms.

Which brings us to 2001. Two pages before Captain America enters the Stargate, we see this house ad for his adaption of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which draws our attention by using an early, superior cover layout. Drawing our attention even further is the 17-17 hovering above it, drawing our attention back to the Falcon.

No Ground Zero/ Stargate ritual drama would be complete without a Texas oil millionaire with patrician facial features, and here Kirby delivers the goods. Taking the role is Texas Jack Muldoon, a rootin' tootin' hellraiser jes' a-rarin' to jump on through that Stargate to the madman's heaven and kick some Ausländer ass.

Kirby gets the ethnicity a bit off but the semiotics down pat. Muldoon is an Irish name meaning "commander of the fortress." The crotch-hugging straps are a nice, prophetic touch. The twin Roman numerals need no explanation.

Nor does that reverse-Madbomb/Kong pose mirroring Cap as he emerges from the other side of the Stargate.

Ironically, fans were right when they labeled Kirby's 70s work "irrelevant." Kirby was looking through the prism of the Collective Unconscious straight into the 21st Century. The Night People saga is a pitch perfect foreshadowing of the orgy of paranoia, materialism and self-righteousness that befell America circa 2002- 2004. In many precincts, the Night People still reign triumphant.

Ironically, "The Night People" came out smack dab in the middle of America's Bicentennial but had nothing to do with 1976. It was about the next 100 years.

To Be Continued