Apr 23, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project: Day 58 - 2001: A Space Odyssey #1, December 1976

I'm not sure how much more I can say about this issue that wouldn't simply be a repetition of what I said yesterday about the treasury edition. The reason for this is that Kirby basically takes the story of 2001, the film, and retells it with a couple of different characters. For the first half of the comic we have "Beast-Killer," a proto-human who is in contact with the Monolith. His communion with the mysterious slab gifts him with the inspiration to make a knife and a spear, so that he becomes the most feared predator in his tribe. So it's basically the beginning of the movie, but probably pushed forward a few million years. That's fine, really. There are enormous temporal gaps in the narrative of 2001, and Kirby seems to have drawn inspiration from this to tell his stories. However, the vast jump to the year 2001 to witness the story of Beast-Killer's distant descendant, Woodrow Decker, and his subsequent transformation at the hands(?) of the Monolith is really just a reiteration of Dave Bowman's story at the end of the movie.

The art is, as with most Kirby stuff, lovely and dynamic, and, as I mentioned yesterday, strangely at odds with the general feel of his source material. I can only imagine that the reiteration of the original story in this issue is simply a device to demonstrate that Bowman's story, though seemingly unique, is but one of many stories of this guided evolution of humanity. I guess we'll see tomorrow.

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