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CSBG Archive

The Comic Book Alphabet of Cool – O

We continue our tour through the alphabet, with a different cool comic book item each day, from A to Z!

Today we look at the letter O, as in “O man is this New God awesome!”

Orion is one of the coolest characters that Jack Kirby created on his lonesome, and he is one of the linchpins that the entire Fourth World of the New Gods rests upon (I’d say Darkseid and Mister Miracle are the other two).

Naturally, he appeared on the cover of the first issue of the New Gods.

Orion is the son of the evil Darkseid. In a pact to keep the peace, Highfather Izaya of the good New Gods of New Genesis swapped sons with Darkseid of Apokolips.

So Darkseid’s son, Orion, was raised on New Genesis with the other, much happier Gods.

Basically, he was a rottweiler who was raised with a bunch of poodles, so for the whole time, Orion has to worry about a couple of things.

1. He must defend his fellow Gods, because he is so much more awesome than they are


2. He must keep himself from embracing his heritage and becoming the dark God that he could easily be.

Walt Simonson played with this beautifully in his excellent Orion ongoing series from 2000.

He totally got that Orion was a larger than life character, so Simonson used all of his most bombastic drawings to depict Orion’s triumphs and tragedies.

At the same time, Simonson knew perfectly well the scarier side of Orion, and had that be a frequent plot point in his series.

Man, that series was great – DC should collect it all in trades.

John Byrne also did some great fill-in art on that series.

More recently, Orion was left the “last God standing” in the lead-up to Final Crisis, but Darkseid killed him.

It is yet to be seen if Orion will return, but I sure hope so!


I have that whole Simonson ORION run but I would gladly repurchase it in a series of trades. I was hopeful that DC would reprint it in the lead-up to FINAL CRISIS when they issued theTALES OF THE NEW GODS collection of backups but no such luck.

Having recently re-watched Justice League Unlimited and re-read the Fourth World books I’m increasingly struck by how amazing a New Gods tv series would be with Mister Miracle and Orion as contrasting leads.

Keep it on Earth, with Turpin & either Shiloh or Oberon as human level POV characters, end the first season with a mash-up of the invasion of the Hive, the death wish of terrible Turpin & the secret and BAM, viewers for life.

You’d just have to get the title past the religious lobby.

“You’d just have to get the title past the religious lobby.”

I think you could just circumvent that by calling it “The Fourth World.”

The Mad Maple

May 21, 2009 at 7:33 am

You know how to get around that? Just call it “Orion”. Works for me.

How dare you! How dare you put anyone with Qusaar in the Q spot? How dare anyone disrespect the aw-shucks Avenger?I’m gonna–

Oh, wait. That’s an O. thought it was a Q.

Carry on.

Orion was a great Kirby character; New Gods is one of my favorite comics of all time. Oddly enough, so is Simonson’s Orion series, which was literally the only comic I was purchasing for a stretch there. Kept me interested in the medium. Walt’s probably the only one who managed to successfully succeed Kirby on the Fourth World concepts.

Who’s Qusaar??

Clay Quartermain would know.

And I would love to see a showdown between Orion and Lady Quark!

That reminds me, I really need to find a full run of Simonson’s Orion on ebay. That seems like it would be more cost effective than his Thor, and I like the Fourth World better than Asgard.

Oh, and Dunc; you’ve seen the Superman: TAS episodes with the Fourth World characters, right? Those were pretty damn good, I thought, although I haven’t watched them since reading Kirby’s Fourth World hardcovers. If nothing else, they did a great job with Turpin.

@Jeff Ryan: Your Quasar advocacy has got me reading the ’90s series. So you’re not only funny, but an effective proselytizer! (It helps that I really like Mark Gruenwald, too.)

That reminds me, I really need to find a full run of Simonson’s Orion on ebay. That seems like it would be more cost effective than his Thor, and I like the Fourth World better than Asgard.

It depends– I got a full run of Simonson Thor on ebay for under 30 bucks! And they published a lot more copies of Thor than Orion.

Honestly, I want to see Jeff QRyan in the Q spot.

Good old Orion. Not nearly as cool as Big Barda, but still all kinds of Kirby cool.

Tom from West Chester

May 21, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Orion is an awesome choice for “O.” I love the Kirby Fourth World Omnibi. I’ve never read the Simonson “Orion” series, but I’d buy the trades in a heartbeat.

Also, Q is for the Quantum Leap comic. Licensed comics need some love.

@Brad –
Haven’t seen them yet but I’m trying to track them down. If they’re as good as the JLU stuff then I’m very excited.

I do think “the fourth world” would be a great series title but can you imagine it opening any other way than, ‘There came a time when the old gods died’?

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