In honor of Jack Kirby’s Birthday, I am dedicating this article to one of his unsung but fascinating Comics post Marvel. One in particular, was Omac so without further ado, enjoy this brief retrospective of not only Jack’s awesome short lived series but one of my favorites among the Kirby’s Katalog!
I’m a sucker for high concept comics and films. So it’s of no surprise that I have often wrote about subjects that may seem obscure to many, yet have a relative cult following.
OMAC created by legendary Comic Artist and Conceptualist-Jack “King” Kirby is a unique blend of Superhero and Sci-Fi. Published by DC Comics, the premise of Omac chronicles a “Utopian” future about a super-powered cop utilized for peacekeeping missions as opposed to dispatching an entire army that may lead to several casualties if not a global scale war. Instead, a One Man Army Corps is deployed (Hence the name: Omac.) to combat criminals, terrorists and extremists who are a threat to mankind!
Often plugged as “The World that’s coming”, the comic gave mention of futuristic yet bizarre concepts such as Electronic Remote surgery, Ocean compression, City Rentals, Vitamin Baths, Body Transfusions and especially Artificial Companions for sale??!?
Yes, that’s the World that came and went as the comic spanned for only 9 issues however, it was an unforgettable run that gained recognition throughout the decades.
Omac was an concept build on a futuristic Captain America according to Kirby, and instead of the patriotic theme of a certain Star Spangled Avenger, Omac is treated as a cautionary series of how dangerous technology can be should it fall into the wrong hands.
And that is when the titular character bursts into the conflict. His purpose is to eradicate the mad schemes of both corrupt political and military figureheads thanks in part, of his closest ally called “Brother Eye”- a huge satellite that hovers way above the Earth’s atmosphere.
Brother Eye, when summoned, emits a stream of energy that enables Omac superhuman capabilities such as Flight, Speed, Endurance, Strength and Detonating his targets.
And he’ll need them when going up against his opponents. In the 1st issue we are introduced to not only Omac but the organization he works for- Global Peace Agency, that is comprised of what was left of NASA. The agents’ faces are layered with a cosmetic spray that covers their true identity and are representatives of various races and cultures, however, the purpose that binds them together is to maintain peace via the God of War that is Omac!
Prior to becoming Omac, his alter ego Buddy Blank is some factory worker who stumbles upon a “Build a Friend” manufacturing plant whose sole purpose is for assassination.
When faced impending danger, the chosen Blank is transformed into a 6’4 powerhouse clad in blue, orange and yellow garb while sporting a Greco Roman Mohawk (Ares’ God of War aesthetic perhaps.)
After Omac takes down the “Build a Friend” Syndicate his peacekeeping mission continues as he battles body snatchers, underground mutants, power-mad dictators, assassins and an oceanographer extortionist just to name a few of O’s adversaries.
As a kid circa late 70’s, I enjoyed reading the back issues throughout its entirety only to fully realize that issue #8 was the last comic of this fascinating character’s adventures.
To my dismay, the ending was too abrupt and there were a few unresolved story lines that didn’t reach fruition let alone catharsis.
Kirby expanded his imagination in this series, thanks to far-fetched situations, action-packed fights and of course the protagonist having a talking satellite as a sidekick.
Without a doubt Brother Eye preceded computerized comrades such as Knight Rider’s K.I.T.T. And even Deathlok’s Puter!
As with many of Kirby’s Comics, there are those chapters with B-movie titles, i.e. Medi Mind or First stop on the Road to the Damned and despite being too campy even during that era, it somehow worked for his style.
Kirby’s art improved a notch from his previous work in the Fantastic Four and so on. Judging from the action panels, concepts and of course his infamous splash pages, DC gave Jack the permission to run wild with his imagination and boy, did he!
There are a few issues that lacked the action and impact of his others works such as the Avengers, New Gods and Fantastic Four, but Omac makes up for it thanks to a steady storyline and dialog especially between the namesake character, agents of the GPA and his partner-Brother Eye.
As for comics’ aesthetics, the pages are well handled and some of the panels practically leap at the reader with dramatic composition and intricate designs when it comes to high tech consoles and what lurks inside Brother Eye.
Most of this is thanks to Inker D.Bruce Berry who adds a very good polish to Jack’s rough pencils.
Anyway, for those who are curious about The King’s work outside of Marvel or if you like high concept Superheroes with a bit of weird, you can do no wrong with OMAC.
OMAC collection is available only on Amazon (Both hardcover and Kindle).