Thursday, January 17, 2008

Silver Star, part 5- Iran, the CIA and the Lord of Light

Given Kirby's long history of prescience and myth-making, it was inevitable that those in the cloak-and-dagger community would eventually catch on to him. And when that day came it would be only natural that the collision would be a symbolically-charged as you could possibly imagine.

Having quit Marvel Comics in 1978, Kirby went to work in Holy-Wood, working in the animation field. One of his first projects was a gimme- the Kamandi-esque Thundarr the Barbarian. In this case, the Apocalypse was brought about by a Deep Impact incident, and the series itself was a grab bag of apocalyptic, occcult and Fortean symbolism.


Along the way, Kirby was hired to do design work for one of those post-Star Wars pipe dreams- a major motion picture based on Roger Zelzany's 1967 novel, Lord of Light. If the Luciferian title or the All-Seeing Eye there don't get conspiracy buffs in a lather, perhaps the book's premise will:

LORD OF LIGHT is a novel about a future world after the destruction of Earth, conquered by men who, through ultratechnology, give themselves godlike powers and set themselves up as the old Hindu gods to rule the common people. Called The First, they have achieved a kind of immortality by transferring their identities from old bodies to new ones. These deicrats (as Zelazny calls them) through centuries of "divine" rule, have become corrupt, and only one among them will openly oppose their tyranny. He is the hero, "who was variously known as Mahasamatman, Kalkin, Manjusri, Siddhartha, Tathagatha, Binder, Maitreya, the Enlight-ened One, Buddha and Sam."
Drawing on the same themes Kirby mastered with The Eternals and The New Gods, Lord of Light played directly into Kirby's greatest strengths as a designer and visionary. Kirby was also contracted to make designs for a multi-million dollar theme park, whose preposterous untenability boggles the mind. Sadly and predictably, the project ran around after a producer made off with the seed money for the project.

Then it gets weird.

One of the artisans signed on to bring Lord of Light to life was Planet of the Apes makeup maestro John Chambers, who doubled as a disguise maker for the CIA. A fellow agent contacted him, looking for an abandoned script to use to coax the newly-installed Iranian mullahs into signing on to a film project. The Iranians needed money and were looking to set up business deals to keep the revolution afloat. The CIA in turn was looking to sneak some hostages out of the country, and needed ideas. One enterprising agent was looking to cozy up to the mullahs by pitching a film project to them. In those days, Hollywood's eldritch power could soften the most hard-bitten theocrats. Wired delved into the episode in depth:
In just four days, Mendez, Chambers, and Sidell created a fake Hollywood production company. They designed business cards and concocted identities for the six members of the location-scouting party, including all their former credits. The production company's offices would be set up in a suite at Sunset Gower Studios on what was formerly the Columbia lot, in a space vacated by Michael Douglas after he finished The China Syndrome. All they needed now was a film — and Chambers had the perfect script. Months before, he had received a call from a would-be producer named Barry Geller. Geller had purchased the rights to Roger Zelazny's science fiction novel, Lord of Light, written his own treatment, raised a few million dollars in starting capital from wealthy investors, and hired Jack Kirby, the famous comic book artist who cocreated X-Men, to do concept drawings.

Along the way, Geller imagined a Colorado theme park based on Kirby's set designs that would be called Science Fiction Land; it would include a 300-foot-tall Ferris wheel, voice-operated mag-lev cars, a "planetary control room" staffed by robots, and a heated dome almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building.

Geller had announced his grand plan in November at a press conference attended by Jack Kirby, former football star and prospective cast member Rosey Grier, and several people dressed like visitors from the future. Shortly thereafter, Geller's second-in-command was arrested for embezzling production funds, and the Lord of Light film project evaporated.
Since Chambers had been hired by Geller to do makeup for the film, he still had the script and drawings at his house. The story, a tale of Hindu-inspired mystical science fiction, took place on a colonized planet. Iran's landscape could provide many of the rugged settings required by the script.

He (Mendez) removed the cover and gave the script a new name, Argo — like the vessel used by Jason on his daring voyage across the world to retrieve the Golden Fleece.
Talk about modern mythology. And I love the bit about Rosie Grier. Lord of Light empressario Barry Geller took a different view of the episode:
The Lord of Light material was stolen ("appropriated" ) by CIA Agent Antonio Mendez to form a phony Hollywood film company called Studio Six Productions. By using Geller's script and the Jack Kirby / Barry Geller production drawings from the Lord of Light project, the happy ending of the the operation (called an "exfiltration") resulted in the successful rescue of six Americans hiding in the Canadian Embassy during the Iran Crisis...

Unlike CIA asset Hank Ketcham (creator of Dennis the Menace) Kirby seemed to have no involvement with this caper. Geller himself says he didn't know what happened until he saw the agent in question telling his tale on TV in 2001 (of course). Check out Kirby's designs for Lord of Light here. If Geller is smart, he'll pitch this project to the newly-flush India.

It can't be a coincidence that Kirby's brush with Spookdom would involve Iran, of all places. Kirby's intersection with 9/11 foresight involved a parody of Iran, and Kirby's apostle Frank Miller would take his fantasy of an ancient war with Persia to the bank with the CGI extravanza, 300.

All of the promiscuous Luciferian symbolism is just the icing on the cake. Certainly not as striking as his 9/11 and Gulf War premonitions, the Lord of Light episode proves a bit of necessary real-world frission among all of the inter-media cross-connecting. Jack Kirby's drawings being pored over by the mullahs- I love it!


  1. We're synced up Mr. Knowles.. I'm just finishing a 'Reptilian' video of sorts - and I used some Thundarr footage. The same breaking up of the moon phenomenon happens in "The Time Machine" - I took it to be symbolic of a Planet X Passage - It's interesting how fast Martial law was declared in the film, almost prepping the collective mind for how it should react, in case of a 'Deep Impact' like event.

  2. Wow, an amazing story! I believe they've been replaying "Thundaar" on Boomerang, but I haven't caught any episodes yet. Loved it as a kid. Weird Dennis the Menace details.

  3. "We're synced up Mr. Knowles.. I'm just finishing a 'Reptilian' video of sorts - and I used some Thundarr footage."

    Hah! Excellent to hear. I was thinking when I posted this that one of my main goals in doing this blog is keeping that snowball rolling downhill- providing the same grist for the mill that I get from other researchers.

    It's almost as if the Syncromystix are building a parallel network to the internet in the Symbolsphere. I'm glad to be of service!