Day 31: The Boom Tube!

Here, on the first comic book story page Jack wrote and drew for his legendary ’70s stint at DC Comics (first, according to the job number assigned to it, X-100), on page one of The Forever People #1 [Feb.-Mar. 1971], is the transportation device he created to get his Fourth World characters from New Genesis and Apokolips to Earth and back again. A kind of hipster “rainbow bridge” [see Thor, The Mighty], the Boom Tube was used by both the children of Highfather and denizens of Darkseid in the Super-War that was only just now beginning between the new generation of cosmic gods, using our small green globe as battlefield.

The Boom Tube (a name coined, I reckon, because it sounds like the contemporaneous derogatory term Americans often used to describe their televisions, “The Boob Tube”) is an inter-dimensional tunnel that appears out of thin air — with a sonic boom heralding the arrival — in our world’s environs and, with its travelers safe on earthly soil, just as suddenly disappears with a thunderclap. It is also used between the two worlds of the new gods.

The question begs an answer: Just where do New Genesis and Apokolips exist in relation to Earth? Is it, indeed, in a parallel dimension or in or around the Promethean Galaxy, which we see Metron (the developer of The Boom Tube, by the by) teleporting to its edge in the opening of New Gods #5? It’s probably a silly question — where does Asgard or Valhalla or Heaven or Hell reside, for that matter? — but the deeper and deeper we read into the Fourth World saga, the more the connections between the three worlds matter…

Oh, never mind. I need to relax and enjoy the new story that’s only just beginning: Who or what is traveling through this Boom Tube and what adventures are in store? Find out tomorrow…

4 thoughts on “Day 31: The Boom Tube!

  1. John S.

    Finally, we’re getting to the good stuff!

    I never made the connection before between “Boom Tube” and “boob tube” (duh!), but now that you mention it, it seems quite obvious and very likely that that’s where Kirby got the name.

    I’ve always found the concept and imagery of the Boom Tube incredibly fascinating — one of Jack’s coolest ideas in a career of cool ideas. It sort of strikes me as a hyped-up version of The Time Tunnel, and I’ve often wondered if Kirby had that in mind when he came up with it.

    Of course, the imagery itself goes much deeper than that, probably being ultimately inspired by the tunnel-like passageway through which people who have had near-death experiences have reported passing in order to get to Heaven (or whatever they choose to call it).

    It’s an image which has found its way into other works of art over the centuries (like Hieronymus Bosch’s “Ascent into Heaven,” for example) and I feel it’s quite appropriate for Jack to have used it as the means by which people travel back and forth between Earth and the Heaven-like world of New Genesis.

    As to the actual location of New Genesis and Apokolips, my own feeling is that they are in a different solar system in our own Milky Way galaxy, perhaps not too far from us… relatively speaking!

    1. JonBCooke Post author

      Yes, being a big fan of the old ABC science-fiction teevee series ( which I recently viewed again and found better in memory than in reality… it’s so doggone humorless, thus hard to recommend), I did wonder if Jack was influenced, too… It’s interesting that Mr. Kirby did his own version of the show, where two protagonists are lost in time, dropping in and out of significant moments in the history of Western civilization, with the very group we’re now covering, The Forever People (sans poor (lucky?) Serafin), in the “Omega/Alpha Effect” storyline of FP #6-7, though I think Jack’s is infinitely more fascinating…

      The “Ascent to Heaven” angle is thoughtful, John, though given that allusion with the fact The Boom Tube connects Apokolips, as well, it also has to represent a “Decent into Hell,” too, right? 😉

      1. John S.

        Yeah, it would represent a descent into Hell, also. Not to go too far off topic, but there have been some published accounts of negative NDEs where the experiencer has gone through the tunnel and instead of emerging into a realm of glorious light and love, they’ve come out into a terrifying realm of darkness inhabited by exceedingly malevolent beings… somewhat like the world of Apokolips.

        Kirby’s use of religious imagery and themes throughout the Fourth World saga was something which added an extra level of depth and meaning that most other super-hero comics have simply never had.

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