Replication turns into wonder in part two of the conversation series with Jack Katz. Replication, downfall, and steps into wonder are themes of human evolution. Katz is a comic book artist who began his career in the industry’s Golden Age. But, for many, it was his epic independent saga The First Kingdom where his creativity was unleashed.
Replication & Where We Left Off…
When part one of the conversation with Jack ended, a time traveler had arrived from the future. Only to find he was not far enough in the past as he had hoped. Instead, in the time period, he traveled to computers had taken over. Machines created by the ruling computers attend to everything humans need. It made humans weak. Things sounded grim.
Replication and Recurrence
A recurring theme in The First Kingdom is the rise and fall of civilizations. Catastrophic events bring about destruction. The desire for immortality is one motivation driving the creators and innovators of each age.
One solution created is a memory serum. It retains the entire scope of a culture’s knowledge. The serum shares knowledge with replicants called Humanoids.
Humanoids were made by a man whose near-death experience as a child changed him. He wanted to stave off death for everyone. Eventually, he takes the memory serum to prevent his own inevitable death.
“Art is the glorification of the human body.”
The Fiction We Know is Replicated
Even classic stories are replicated. According to Jack, there are no original stories. Tarzan is based on Jack in the Jungle and Jack the Lion Tamer were both written by PT Barnum. They are the basis for the Tarzan stories written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Philip Wiley wrote the Gladiator which Jack believes was the inspiration for Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel’s seminal Superman. Jack even shares a personal story about these two co-creators in the first part of our conversation.
People are Steeped in Ambivalence
Jack is exacerbated by people steeped in the same ambivalence. He believes people are terrified and need to hold on to something. Jack has found the god of Einstein and it has allowed him to focus on completing the Beyond the Beyond.
When Jack met Charles Clarence (C.C). Beck, who was the first artist assigned to draw the character of Captain Marvel, originally dubbed Captain Thunder by writer Bill Parker, “He knew I was supposed to do Captain Marvel Jr.”
Jack remembers Beck enjoyed designing swords and hilts, and that he was a “Wonderful little gentleman.” Maybe it has to do with his belief that Captain Marvel was better than Superman.
When Jack wrote his own story of a character with immense power he named it The Last Immortal. He then introduced a girl who was dying of cancer and asked, “What can superpowers do against cancer?”
Matt Baker and Mankind
Jack claims that Baker was the best example of an artist making it in the business. Jack made the mistake of pointing this out to Baker, and when it was overheard — “I lost my job when I said he was too good for this… I said he should be working at Playboy.”
“I loved Matt Baker – admired his ability to draw women. He had a bad heart, and he was a beautiful person.”Jack Katz
He is one of the many artists who inspired Jack to pursue his independent opus The First Kingdom.
“The Kingdom is like a silent mention,” he told me. “One day the world will be ready for substance.”
This includes a trial of the fantasy that we create. As Jack points out, “Mankind can’t handle the situation he is born into — it’s the vicissitude. during the trial the judge is Consciousness. Upon the suggestion that they are all fabrications, Consciousness learns she does not have the authority she thought she had
Our conversation is interrupted by sirens, and then Jack responds that he is unlike the fabricators because “I glorify the human body. It’s our temple. The registry of our identity.”
Cycles – Skywald – dick Giordano
The First Kingdom is 1070 pages. It tells the story of many advanced societies who are brought down by the problems they create.
“When I worked at Skywald,” Jack begins, he developed a jungle character raised by lions, not apes. Jack wanted to give credit to PT Barnum who he admires. Sadly, Barnum was a gifted writer who “took his intelligence to the worst possible places”
So, Jack honored him with the character Zangar.
It was Dick Giordano who visited Jack to make an offer from DC on a new project. Giordano had created the Charlton Comics characters known as the “Action Heroes. He later became the executive editor of DC Comics.
“The only thing interested in was The Imaginator,” Jack said. “(He) Loved the idea, but it never came off and then he died.”
“We are afraid to be original.”
“Society creates its downfall.,” says Jack. “Built-in from the first breath and the pain and carried through trace memories. You cannot get rid of memory. My desire must be rewarded with punishment. It all leads to our own self-destruction.”
“There’s a kind of evil or disassociation,” he continues. “Some people are born without a conscious.”
Hear the rest of the story in the podcast at the top of this post.
Subscribe to this website and the Storytelling with Seth podcast to make sure that you never miss a story.
To hear the first part of our conversation click here.
About the Storyteller
Tell yours with a Storyteller. Email him now about a writing or podcast project.Join my email list
By clicking submit, you agree to share your email address with the site owner and Mailchimp to receive marketing, updates, and other emails from the site owner. Use the unsubscribe link in those emails to opt-out at any time.