Mister Miracle may not be a household name when it comes to DC characters, especially since he’s part of Fourth World, which casual fans may not be familiar with; however, little do most people know, the inhabitants of that world, the New Gods, helped inspire the world of Star Wars. One of the New Gods, Mister Miracle–the master escape artist who was created by Jack Kirby–is getting his own mini-series, debuting this week, and it’s written by none other than Tom King (Batman, Vision).
King has a knack for developing memorable, engaging stories around underrated and underappreciated characters like 2015’s Omega Men for DC and 2016’s Vision for Marvel. The writer is now taking on Mister Miracle, but he has to be tight-lipped about the overall idea for the book: “I can’t give you the pitch for Mister Miracle, which is a stupid thing for a guy who’s pitching things to the media to say,” King told GameSpot. “I did a book called Vision, and the pitch for Vision was super easy. It was ‘Breaking Bad Vision.’ It’s just about a robot that goes bad, but I couldn’t tell you that beforehand because that’s the mystery of the whole thing. And the same thing applies for Mister Miracle; there’s a very easy pitch to what Mister Miracle is, but I can’t tell you because it’s a spoiler.”
Legendary creator Jack Kirby’s work on the New Gods back in the ’70s has inspired a generation of creators in their work: “It’s the inspiration for Star Wars. It’s where Star Wars came from. The bad guy’s literally named Darkseid, like the dark side of the force,” King explained. “So if you just think of it as Star Wars, it’s that big epic opera that inspired Star Wars. The idea to use that bigness and make a personal story about a man sort of falling apart appealed to me. And Mister Miracle himself appealed to me because Mister Miracle is a super escape artist. That’s his power. He escapes from things. And like I was saying before, it feels a little bit like we’re trapped in something right now, and we can’t get out. And the idea of working with a guy who’s an escape god, he’s an escape god who can’t break out of a trap.”
King did say that he and artist Mitch Gerads wanted to created a comic that reflected the times: “We had our next project, and we looked at Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, and New Frontier, like these great self-contained stories that were not only good comics, but they were good literature,” King continued. “They reflected the time. They said something. Watchmen says something about the ’80s. Dark Knight Returns says something about the ’80s. New Frontier says something about the ’90s. And we’re like, ‘Can we do that?’ And the answer is no. But we’d be stupid not to try, right? It would be stupid to give up the ambition because we found ourselves sort of in a moment of insanity. We found ourselves in this moment where you wake up every day, and the world doesn’t make sense anymore.
“The rules I was raised with don’t apply to current reality. And so we wanted to write a book about that, about this moment. Something that could be as good as Watchmen and that could sort of reflect our times in a book. So that’s what it’s about. It’s about the current insanity using Jack Kirby’s New Gods as a metaphor for the haunting of our times.”
While the New Gods aren’t as a familiar concept as Superman or Batman with mainstream audiences, King went on to that they will be as the DC cinematic universe continues, as the main villain of the upcoming Justice League movie–Steppenwolf–is one of the New Gods.
What many fans find so appealing about King’s work on past books is that his characters deal with a lot of relatable subjects, as King tends to put many elements from his own life into each story. “I’m a latchkey kid,” explained King. “You know my dad walked out when I was seven; my mother worked 15 hour days. So I’m not from sort of a traditional kind of family, but I’m trying myself to build a traditional family and to sort of correct the mistakes. I mean we all try to correct the mistakes of our childhood, right?
“Like that’s what life is basically. That’s like the easiest definition I know. And I think you see that constantly in my work, sort of this idea of constructing some sort of perfection and never achieving it. Because when you’re trying to do that, you’re trying to create an ideal with no definition of what the ideal is. You know, you’re rolling that rock up the hill–it’s gonna fall and the only way to sort of escape that is to accept the inevitability of the fall.
“That’s my everyday life. That’s the thing that I most care about–family and when you write, no matter what you do, you can try to escape it, but the thing you most care about–the thing that hits your soul the hardest–will always be in your work. So if you always look at my work, there’s always some guy who’s madly in love with his wife because I’m madly [in love] with my wife, and there’s some guy who’s always scared of what’s going to happen to his kids because I’m scared of what’s going to happen to my kids. And there’s always some guy whose kind of been a little broken down by either being in a bunch of wars or a childhood because I’m a little broken because of being in a bunch of wars and my childhood, so all that stuff just leaks in too.” For those wondering, Mister Miracle’s wife, Big Barda, is a big part of the series, no pun intended.
Artist Mitch Gerads, who worked with King on the critically acclaimed miniseries The Sheriff of Babylon, collaborated with King on Mister Miracle: “I knew that Mitch was my favorite military artist; I had no idea he was my favorite artist artist. I didn’t know he could get as good as he’s gotten. And it’s just, he’s mind boggling. He’s like one of my best friends and I’m almost scared of his talent. I don’t want it to stop.”
Gerads does interior art and colors on the new book, which you can check out above. Mister Miracle #1 hits comic shops on August 9. For more on Tom King, you can check out our interview about his run on Batman.