Oct 11, 2021 • 1HR 26M

Podcast: The Eternals, or, Return of the Gods

Charles Hatfield on Jack Kirby’s last theological space opera epic

Open in playerListen on);
Episode details
Jack Kirby, cover of The Eternals #1 (1976)

The next Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, The Eternals, is coming out on November 5th. Like many previous Marvel movies, it takes inspiration from the work of Jack Kirby. But The Eternals, a series Kirby wrote and drew from 1976 to 1978, is much more obscure than many of the other creations the cartoonist created or co-created (Captain America, The Hulk, The X-Men, The Avengers, Thor). I personally love Kirby’s The Eternals; I see it as a summa of his repeated attempts to merge science fiction with theological speculation (the original title of the series was “The Return of the Gods”). But the series was controversial in the 1970s among Marvel fans who saw it as a falling off from Kirby’s earlier work. 

With the movie on the way, it’s a good time to revisit the series. I couldn’t think of a better person to talk about it than Charles Hatfield, author of Hand of Fire, the best book on Kirby. Among the topics we take up are Kirby’s life long interest in stories about gods, the pseudo-science of Erich von Däniken, the possible influence of Kirby’s work on the movie Alien (1979), the apocalyptic 1970s, and the way Kirby’s untrammelled imagination ran up against the brick wall of Marvel’s editorial concern for continuity. 

I loved talking to Charles about Kirby, who I regard as one of the major imaginative artists of the last century. This will be the first of a series of podcasts on Kirby’s work, and the work of allied cartoonists. 

(Post edited by Emily M. Keeler)

Gallery of Eternals art

Jack Kirby, The Eternals #1

The Space Jockey from Alien (1979). Designed by H.R. Giger.
Jack Kirby, The Eternals #1

Jack Kirby, The Eternals #3. The Celestials

The Deviants from The Eternals #1

Share and Subscribe

If you like this post, please share:


Or subscribe: