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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

OMAC Lives... So that MAN may live

[For an enhanced version of this article, check out Jim's Illustrated OMAC Tribute over on his site!]

I'm sure by now all of you have heard the best news ever. But for those of you who I don't shout at on a regular basis, it is simply this: NEW OMAC SERIES FROM DC THIS APRIL!

The news was broken to me by Tug, who came out of his office and interrupted my reading this evening.

"Who's a writer you like a lot?"
I looked down at the book I had in my hands, A Gentleman's Game. "Greg Rucka?"
"And who's a character you like a lot?"
"No, another one. With a mohawk."
I stared at him blankly for a few minutes, then, "No way."

It's like DC heard what I said about their fine comics and decided to make it up to me by putting out a book that only I would have asked for. Melanie says I flip out about him more than any other character, and those of you who know me know that I flip out a lot.

OMAC, as you well know by now, has a special place in my heart. To me, he's the quintessential Kirby character, incredibly over-the-top, living in a world built of insane extrapolations of trends taken to their illogical extremes, creating an oddly prescient view. The world may not look like it does in OMAC, but we DO live in a time where full-scale war is unthinkably dangerous, where people can build-a-friend for horrifying purposes, and the super-rich probably CAN rent out a city, if they don't own it outright. Hell, there's even an issue where a guy holds all the world's water for ransom, and even HE probably doesn't charge a dollar a bottle for it! It's a great thought to think that one honest man could stop it all.

He's a character that I've wanted to write from the moment I first saw him. Maybe because you could throw anything into it and it'd make sense, but mostly because he embodies the spirit of comics. He combines Captain America's origin with a story that pits him against an entire bleak future (although bleak by Kirby standards is still pretty colorful), and he's just unstoppable.

He's also the star of the most oft-recounted issue around the Dragon since Sukzushtu saw the Rainbow--OMAC #2.

The only important parts of this issue are the first two pages, and what you have to understand is that OMAC is a bad motherfucker. I mean, he's a One Man Army Corps. At one point, he even fights a hundred thousand foes. A hundred thousand. ONE ZERO ZERO COMMA ZERO ZERO ZERO. And he WINS. So when this issue opens up with OMAC standing there being told that he can't get into a city, you know that some shit is about to go down.

Quick note about the structure of OMAC: One of the reasons that OMAC works so well is that when you read the stories, you can literally see the scope of the story. Each issue opens with a full-page panel, followed up by a massive double-page spread, with a few more full-pagers to set off each chapter. It all adds up to make OMAC seem bigger than Galactus and twice as strong, something which George Perez's art in OMAC's DC Comics Presents appearance didn't quite pull off, although that issue does have one of his best lines, spoken to Superman: "They thought they were dealing with one man... They didn't realize it was a One Man Army Corps."

Anyway, back in The World That's Coming, OMAC's standing there with a bunch of army guys--trained soldiers, mind you--telling him that he can't go into the city, as its been rented out for the night. OMAC's response? "I am OMAC. No city is barred to me." Translation: "Check yourself before you wreck yourself." According to a recent issue of the Jack Kirby Collector, OMAC holds the rank of "World General" and can give anyone orders. Despite this, Army Guy decides to cop an attitude, shoves his finger into OMAC's chest, and goes "Look, buddy..."

End of page one.

Page two is fucking chaos. OMAC is just plowing through about ten guys. There's one flying away upside down, hit so hard he's going the WRONG DIRECTION. There's even one guy whose arms are the only thing you can see, clinging desperately to OMAC's foot, yelling "I CAN'T HOLD HIM!" Yeah, no kidding you can't, he's frigg'n powered by BROTHER EYE. What did you THINK you were going to do to him?

He's a great character, and I'm glad--no, ecstatic--that he's coming back, even if this means I can't bring him back in my Suicide Squad run (the non-erotic version, for those of you keeping score).


Blogger J. Kern said...

Is it wrong to derive amusement from a comic cover that lauds its hero by saying "He is special!" as he flies in on his wheelchair?

1/19/2005 12:12 AM

Blogger Jim Shelley said...

Hey Chris, I reposted your Omac Tribute with some pictures - Enjoy:


1/19/2005 10:42 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Jim, that's awesome! I love it, thanks so much for taking the time to do that. It's one thing to read about it, but to actually see the pages adds a lot to what I said.

You rock!

1/19/2005 11:11 PM

Blogger John Seavey said...

I have trawled back through your archives, all the way from the far-flung world of 2008 ("The World To Come!" as it were), and I must weep for your past self and the enthusiasm he must have shown before Dan DiDio crushed the life, hope, and soul out of you with the OMACs as they were conceived on that blighted day.

I read your words, filled with joy at the return of OMAC! And what did you get?

...oh, you poor man.

7/16/2008 10:47 AM

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