Are The Hairies, the super-secret young scientific community on wheels, Jack’s take of the hopes he instilled on the iconoclastic and questioning-of-authority hippy culture of the day? Whoever they are, whatever they represent, the roving clan of twenty-something geniuses are a remarkable inclusion into the emerging Fourth World mythos… though I’m not totally convinced Jack himself knew what they were all about.
The longhairs drive around the Zoomway, avoiding enemies and scaring Wild Area residents in the monster-like “king-size mobile home,” the Mountain of Judgment, and they use their super-intellects and abilities to develop new devices and concoctions to advance the human race.
In his essay, “The Hairies — Super-Race — Or Man’s Second Chance,” in JO #135 (which I’m including, in its entirety, below), Jack says the Hairies are “literally what I call them — DNAliens!”
But isn’t Dubbilex — or his Apokoliptian counterpart, the Four-Armed Terror — aren’t they DNAliens? Hairies are “Step-Ups,” Jack’s designation for the next evolution of man, correct?
And, if as Jack’s essay indicates, they are compassionate, giving, connected people, who “fear nothing, hate nothing, worship nothing but their own compatibility with the rest of Creation,” why the heck are they working with a U.S. government complex that’s monkeying with the very essence of life itself, doubtless for the benefit of one nation over all? Isn’t that a huge contradiction?
I quibble. The Hairies represent hope dawning for the King, optimism under a persistent threat of nuclear Armageddon. That’s enough for me!
The Hairies — Super-Race —
Or Man’s Second Chance
by Jack Kirby
I don’t believe that I shall ever get to see a Hairie. Perhaps, that’s as it should be. Perhaps, all that’s owed to a man is hope dawning instead of dreams fulfilled. Somehow, I feel that the question with its ramifications is more exciting than the answer wrapped in organized, practical, well-defined reality.
In the “Now,” in the shadow of the atomic silo, when Apokolips and New Genesis race neck and neck for the fate of man, the Hairies are being born. Of course, at this stage they merely represent what stability and rationale still drive us to survive despite the widening seams and traumatic shocks that have rattled the underpinings of the Twentieth Century.
I choose this strange hope and fashion what reality I can give it from the code of life itself. I call it File 202 — “The Breaking of the Genetic Code”! In short, the Hairies are literally what I call them — “DNAliens!”
They are born differently, raised differently and mature with their own imaginative views and directions. They don’t accept the accepted. They are their own experience, and follow it where it leads them. Their minds are fresh and new, clean slates unmarked by rigid, hardening, conflicting indoctrinations. They cannot be pigeonholed, labeled in the context of all that has gone before.
Thus, they fear nothing, hate nothing, worship nothing but their own compatibility with the rest of Creation. That is their challenge — to find a way of living with what is around them without the mindless, merciless prerogative of inflicting destruction.
Of course, this makes the Hairies perfect targets for all of us! We’ve got to kill them! Wipe them out! They are not like us. We are pridictable, they are not. We recognize our enemies, they do not. We will kill to protect ourselves, while the Hairies find other effective ways.
The Hairies do not view the mysteries and wonders about them as we do. What we conquer, we impose our will upon and violate it for our own needs. Our behavior generates the problems that arise to confront us with equal menace.
The Hairies operate with foresight and viability with a pattern without rules or dogma. They wing it with a zest to live and learn and make existence an art form instead of a mad, grim march towards death. They exert no pressures on their fellows. They strive to give each other what they can — and that can be quite a bit, in view of the fact that each Hairie considers the other a most valuable and miraculous organism.
Are the Hairies nutty, naive, little idealists? Don’t they know that even we, who are spawned, are too carnivorous to stake our lives on a world filled with other men?
Well, that’s something we don’t know! We’ve lived with ideals, but when has man, as a species, disseminated idealism without destruction? When has man tried idealism as a viable, constructive pattern of living? When has “Get yours — and the devil take the hindmost” not been the universal state of things? On a world scale, man does not believe that idealism will work, and thus each division practices its own brand — struggling with it, exporting it and killing for it to protect its individual continuity.
The Hairies, by their own nature, do not accept this. They merely live in harmony with whatever and whoever they contact. Idealism is part of their make-up and they react to its shortcomings with intelligence and sobriety. They do not panic. They do not fear death. They expect the unexpected and are ready for it when it comes upon them.
To sum it all up, the Hairies are in trouble! The world of man mistrusts and fears those who live by patterns considered foolish and unworkable and clear of conflict. It isn’t natural! It has no strength, no obvious invincibility! The Hairies are weak, treacherous, unpredictable, little bleeding hearts! Someone had better take them in tow and stop them before they become a menace! After all, they’re not like us. Why take a chance onletting them grow larger, expand to the point of colliding with our power? Get them now! Kill the Hairies and kill our fear. It would be easy to do — now!
I felt great, writing that! It made me feel that all’s right with the world, that my place in it was secure. It made me feel like a man!!!
(I assume the above is ©1970 National Periodical Publications. Boldface emphasis on Jack’s original. This appears, of course, for research purposes only and is not intended as copyright infringement. — JBC)