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The REAL Link Between Superman And The Eternals

by Culture Slate 10 days ago in superheroes

Did You Know?

The release of Marvel’s Eternals brought upon the wave of discourse usually associated with a Marvel Cinematic Universe picture— a cycle as ancient and everlasting as the titular characters. One thing that did break the mold in the cacophony of hot takes was the film's unique connection to the DC universe, specifically the Man of Tomorrow himself, Superman. To a casual viewer, the name drop of the Caped Wonder in the film may seem like nothing more than a cute tip of the hat to Marvel's distinguished competition, but on closer inspection, it unveils a deeper bond between the two properties. Superman not only influenced the creation of the picture but may even be directly responsible for the Eternals’ existence altogether.

Eternals director Chloé Zhao has made it no secret that one of her key influences was 2013's Man Of Steel. She speaks with French outlet Pure Break about the inspiration.

You said it, not me! Superman is the Übermensch, the ultimate man, the superman, a concept that exists in all cultures. Of all modern interpretations of Superman, this is Zack Snyder’s with ‘Man of Steel,’ which inspired me the most because he approached this myth in an authentic and very real way. I remember thinking it was Superman by Terrence Malick when I saw the trailer. This film left a strong impression on me. But Ikaris is, of course, our own take on Superman.

Tasked with adapting super strength, speed, flight, and heat vision to the silver screen, Zhao definitely made the right choice looking at Snyder. Man of Steel's high-velocity feats of Kryptonian carnage still stand as the high mark in depicting super-being brawls on film.

RELATED: A Brief History Of The Eternals

The Eternals were not born in a cinema, however. Their comic origins lie in the mind of the one true celestial, Jack Kirby. For those unfamiliar with the King of Comics, Kirby was the architect of the Marvel universe. Alongside Stan Lee, he created the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Thor, The X-Men, and countless others. The relationship with Lee and Marvel grew sour due to Kirby not getting the credit he deserved, and then The King left for competitor DC in 1970 with the promise that things would be different. In the first step to the Eternals, Kirby got to work on Superman's pal Jimmy Olsen, and ushered in what would be known as the Bronze Age of comics. He began taking the wildest concepts of the previous era and giving them pathos without losing their insanity. In the pages of Jimmy and Superman's adventures, Kirby created a new cosmic saga of beings older and far more powerful than mankind. The New Gods became a new mythology to replace the gods of old, all under one man's pen. If this sounds familiar after watching Eternals, it was no coincidence. The ideas for what would become the Marvel group were forming in the shadow of Superman's cape.

Unfortunately for Kirby, but in a stroke of luck for Marvel, the relationship with DC became littered with broken promises. Bold exclamations of "Kirby is here!" were short- lived as Kirby's New Gods saga was cancelled before it could be completed. One of the many dangling threads was Superman's larger role in the epic, and a final confrontation with the Avatar of Evil Darkseid was never realized. Kirby returned to Marvel, still fueled by a burning desire to see his saga of gods and mankind reach its true conclusion. He retooled elements from his prior experiments with the New Gods to create the Eternals as we know today. Essentially, if The King had been able to reach the end of his story with this new pantheon and Superman at DC, we would not have the Eternals at all.

Kirby's high-concept science fiction yearnings did not meet his expectations at DC or Marvel. Sadly, the Eternals comic also reached an abrupt conclusion in the same manner as The New Gods. What we see in this tale of Superman and Kirby diverging and intersecting with each over the years is the endless struggle of artists trying to bring perfect concepts into an imperfect reality. What we should take from this is the true link between all of these stories. Jack "The King" Kirby's creativity was never dampened, despite these setbacks. If your work does not live up to your hopes, as a result of outside factors or those found within, don't give up. Try, and try, and try again. Even if it is not in your lifetime, your ideas may shine the brightest under a new generation. And, if you are as skilled as Kirby was, those ideas will be eternal.

READ NEXT: ‘Eternals’ Director Will Not Be Helming Kevin Feige's ‘Star Wars’ Movie After All

Written By Alfie Taylor

Source(s): Variety, Superman Homepage, Pure Break

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