I’ve been meaning to post this picture for a while, I came across it in a collected edition of Kirby’s Fourth World. Drawn back in the 1970s it seems to predict the tablet computer and also the return of the stylus as a means of writing. Someone is also holding what could be an ipod. Well we all know Kirbs was a visionary but its easy to believe this picture was drawn with a clear view into the developments of gadgets of today.
While I’m on Kirby, the Fourth World books make a stunning, flabbergasting read. Don’t expect any of the many storylines to get picked up again and resolved later – there are barely even any recurring characters, as his wild imagination pops one idea after another. Every page seethes not just with new heroes, but with new worlds to go along with them, new words and new dialogue. Believe me, pal, in the Fourth World people speak in a way no-one ever has, or will – it’s enough to give ya the whim-whams – whatever they are (Kirby knows).
Weirdly, the main heroes of the book, The Forever People are some of the worst characters Kirby ever came up with, a bunch of well-meaning hippies – Beautiful Dreamer, Serifan, Big Bear, Moonrider etc, they sound and look a bit like a lost Saturday morning cartoon from the early seventies, where their ill-fated show would have been sandwiched in between re-runs of Space Ghost and the Hair Bear Bunch.
But not to carp among such wonders. There are so many good ideas here it dazzles. Kirby gave us the Boom Tube for travelling, the anti-life equation – for controlling all thought – and he even gave us the Mother Box, an all-round life saving little gadget that pretty much does everything for us… come to think of it we’re back at the smartphone. Guess Kirby really did see everything!