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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Who Are the Global Peace Agency?

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today we look at a notable OMAC retcon by Jim Starlin…

In Jack Kirby’s OMAC #1, we learn about the Global Peace Agency, who created OMAC…

In #3, we see them again…

Years after the series ended prematurely after less than ten issues, Jim Starlin revived the feature as a back-up in Warlord during the early 1980s. Along with the new strip came a new origin for the Global Peace Agency, abandoning and forsaking the old one (I like that Starlin even flat-out CALL it a new origin)….

Kind of an odd change, if you ask me.

19 Comments

Wow. Really pointless convoluted change

I found Starlin’s reworking fun–more entertaining than most of Kirby’s work on the series (I know it starts off convoluted, but once it got going it improved). The original started off well with its portrayal of future society, but it ran out of steam (endless shots of big weapons, big monsters,big explosions, minimal plot or character) after about four issues.

Thanks Starlin. Your obsession with intergalactic saviours and villains misapplied yet again…

I’ve been thinking of potential bits of history for this column, and have been wondering: back in the days of Action Comics Weekly, Peter David wrote a Green Lantern bit starring Hal Jordan. In it we discover that Hal Jordan is literally fearless because the ring has tampered with his psychology, and that Corps members were never supposed to be truly fearless.
I’ve long assumed that David’s whole run was simply abandoned, but this was also the run that ‘fridged Katma Tui, so that can’t be right. Was this ever addressed again.

Wow, I knew DC had brought back OMAC in Warlord, but I never realized Starlin was behind it. I’ll have to hit the back issue bins for those.

Of all the revivals of Jack Kirby’s DC creations, I like Jim Starlin’s the least. He never seemed to “get” Kirby the way guys like Mark Evanier, Steve Rude, Walt Simonson and John Byrne did.

…Wasn’t Starlin the guy who first introduced the notion of OMAC being Kamandi’s grandfather, though? I did think that that was a clever bit.

…Wasn’t Starlin the guy who first introduced the notion of OMAC being Kamandi’s grandfather, though? I did think that that was a clever bit.

I think Kirby did that in either his final OMAC story or his final Kamandi story, but it COULD have been Starlin. I don’t recall exactly, to be honest.

John: That was established in Kamandi #49-50, written by Elliot S! Maggin and Denny O’Neil, respectively, which was before Starlin’s OMAC stuff.

In fact, Starlin’s OMAC backup started with a big splash in Kamandi #59, but then Kamandi was cancelled abruptly after that issue, so Starlin’s story found its way into Warlord sometime after that.

Thanks, buttler, I knew it was pre-Starlin, but I thought it was by Kirby. So okay, it was by Maggin and O’Neil? Sounds good. Thanks!

Thanks for the clarification, buttler. I was pretty certain it wasn’t Kirby. :)

Another vague OMAC-related memory: Didn’t Grant Morrison do something that established a link between the Global Peace Agency’s cosmetic spray masks and the Question’s psuedoderm mask?

Re: John Trumbull — I can recall the specific mention, but I’m 100% sure that was intro’d during one of the Final Crisis series.

Speaking of which, any chance of the Final Crisis use of the GPA making it on this list? I’m curious as to what Morrison used and discarded when he brought OMAC into full-on DC continuity.

Have a good day.
G Morrow

Kirby was basically Manichean in outlook; Starlin was sort of oddly holistic. One is about the clash of opposing forces, the other is all about the idea that there are not absolutes and that dualities are usually just unities.

Starlin villains tend to be monomaniacally or romantically devoted to single concepts, like death or conquest; they’re not wrong because they embrace these things, but because they embrace them to the exclusion of all else, all balance. His heroes, in turn, tend to be Byronic types who embrace light *and* darkness and struggle with internal and cosmic balance as a result. Thanos’s path from villainy to antiheroism, as well as Warlock’s path to “true” heroism, both occur as the characters abandon their single-minded ideas of life and death for am embrace of contradictory, opposing forces. Warlock’s signature act in Starlin’s later work was to exile good and evil from himself, to externalize the clash of absolutes and find something else instead. His cosmos is post-moral, in a way.

Kirby, though, is nothing if not a moralist. His villains tend to represent things that really can’t be embraced, like narcissism or the end of free will. His heroes tend to represent what Kirby saw as the cosmic potential of the human spirit: peace, art, love, freedom, and so forth. And the way of the universe, in Kirby’s works, is less an uncaring ad fragile balance of forces than it is a long arc towards the shining cities of the gods.

To work on Kirby material, then, Starlin usually has to turn the big concepts into the little halves of a largely It’s why Starlin’s take on the New Gods and OMAC were both “off” from the perspective of Kirby fans, and why he does things like make both the Source and the Anti-Life Equation into big sentient monsters when they were portrayed as transcendent and unknowable facts by Kirby.

They do good work on neglected or original concepts, but Starlin is terrible for Kirby’s stuff…just as Kirby likely would have been terrible taking over Starlin’s signature characters.

Omar, that’s an excellent analysis.

Interesting analysis, Omar. Yeah, it’s not surpising that I don’t care too much for Starlin’s work on Kirby characters, as Starlin’s work in general just leaves me rather cold.

I love Warlock and Captain Marvel and I like the Omac stuff. But most of his more recent stuff (going back as far as the Infinity Gauntlet mess) doesn’t work for me.

Well, I certainly haven’t liked any of the stuff Starlin’s done for DC in the last decade. I wanted to like Strange Adventures but really, really didn’t, Death of the New Gods was flat-out dreadful, and he managed to screw Hawkman up even more than he’d been screwed up before, which is saying something. I’m still a fan of his cosmic Marvel stuff, but now I approach anything new by him with great trepidation.

Yes, that scene in the last Strange Adventures (or whichever series it was) where he announces “You’re not Carter Hall/Khufu, you’re really Katar Hol!” had me saying bad words.

Chaim Mattis Keller

February 18, 2013 at 5:05 am

What’s missing from this article is that John Byrne in his prestige-format B&W OMAC mini-series explained why there are two origins for OMAC – OMAC was caught in a time loop, where the actions of the OMAC created by origin # 2 brought about origin # 1 of OMAC. Until, at the end of thart mini-series, Buddy Blank/OMAC figures out how to break the cycle, which (if I read correctly) results in only the Kirby origin happening in the final (?) time line.

So it wasn’t ENTIRELY abandoned, after all.

I was much amused by Byrne’s text page in that where he discusses how horrified he is at writers who will overturn everything that’s gone before them just so they can take the character in a new direction.

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