Day 39: Rocky the Champ!

Yikes, it’s been a little over a week covering the characters, concepts and contraptions of The Forever People #1 and we’ve hardly alluded to the actual plot of the comic book. Allow me to play catch-up for those anxiously awaiting an opening synopsis:

The four male members of The Forever People arrive on Earth via Boom Tube aboard their Super-Cycle, in search of the fifth member, Beautiful Dreamer, who has been kidnapped from Supertown by Darkseid’s minions.

A young motoring couple, Bobby and Laurie, swerve to avoid the team, crash through a guard rail and off a cliff, only to be saved by the miraculous technology of Vykin the Black’s Mother Box. Reassured by the New Genesis kids of their peaceful mission, Bobby grabs his camera and takes a picture of The Forever People. Bobby notices an eerie light in the distance, which Vykin identifies as an oncoming Boom Tube, and he and Laurie, sensing a scoop, rush off to investigate, the latter mentioning that their pal “Jimmy Olsen will eat this up!”

Suddenly Serifan, making telepathic contact with Beautiful Dreamer, collapses in an open-eyed coma, as the unwitting crew is in the gunsights of Inter-Gang agents. The henchmen connect with Darkseid, who orders them to follow — and not kill — the kids.

Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, Clark Kent (alter-ego of Superman) is interviewing Rocky the Champ, a stereotypical boxer, one who laments he can never be the best “with Superman in the picture…” and, while we never again see the pugilist in the series, he serves as an important catalyst for the Man of Steel to ruminate about the loneliness being a super human in a non-super world.

10 thoughts on “Day 39: Rocky the Champ!

  1. Rob D

    The scene with Rocky also serves to illustrate the plight of humanity in a world of Gods and Supermen. What happens to human achievement? Why strive to be what is essentially the world’s best one-legged tap dancer? Would our second class status lead to hatred, and resentment? There’s a lot of meat in this seemingly small scene.

    1. patrick ford

      Rob, Kirby talked about some of these subjects in a 1970 interview with Mark Herbert.

      Kirby: “I would hate to be a super-hero. I really would, because my neighbors would kill me. They would find some way to do it, because they wouldn’t be able to stand me. I’d be perfect in my way, and they would hate me for it.”

      Kirby himself being super-creative suffered from occasional resentment directed towards him.

      1. JonBCooke Post author

        “Occasional”??? Resentment of Kirby was a cottage industry in the comic book field! Even the slavish imitators were expressing a resentment of sorts, in my not-so-guarded opinion.

  2. patrick ford

    Jon, That scene with the champ, and the earlier scene in JO where Clark is run down are two prime examples of Kirby’s Superman.

    Even on first reading they both gave me pause for thought.

    The scene where Clark is run down is interesting because it shows us Superman can wander into a crosswalk lost in thought just like any of us. It isn’t an instance where super hearing or vision would make a difference, Clark is so focused on what he’s thinking that he “doesn’t hear or see” the Inter-gang car until it’s too late. I’d suppose many of us have had similar close calls. Kirby’s heroes and villains didn’t typically have special weaknesses like Green K or wood; they had the same human weaknesses everyone does. The scene with Rocky and Superman’s unsettled feeling brought on by it are another example.

    BTW, the brand-new TJKC has a Kirby colour guide for the front cover of The Forever People #1 printed (sadly in B&W) on an inside page. Anyway you can get John to publish that as a front or back cover in the future? And, in the interim, maybe he’d allow a colour presentation right here?

  3. Rob D

    Patrick, I don’t know how you always manage to come up with a relevant slice of Kirby commentary, but keep ’em coming! Your observation on Kirby’s ability to infuse his characters with simple humanity is one I concur with. He often said these characters were real to him, and I believe they come across that way, moreso in his solo work, than in the overwrought soap-opera stylings of the earlier Marvel years.

  4. patrick ford


    I’ve long felt Kirby’s interviews are almost as interesting as his art. I’ve collected everyone I could find.

    Kirby has often been described as a “poor interview,” perhaps in the sense that he doesn’t have slick sound-bite answers for every question tossed his way.

    I love it when Kirby almost ignores a fairly inane question he’s been asked 100 times before and uses the opportunity to expound on the very same themes which run deep in his work.

    It’s also my opinion that Kirby had a true gift for words. His turns of phrase on the comics page or in an interview are a delight.

  5. Jon Marvin

    Interesting that you post this one just as the Superman vs Muhammad Ali reprint is hitting the stands.

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