Thursday, July 9, 2009

Why Mutates? By Jack Kirby

Why Mutates?
By Jack Kirby

Due to recent discoveries dealing with the secrets of DNA, a controversial wind has been blowing across the land- a wind called "genetic engineering." The hobgoblin fears of four-armed freaks and bug-eyed monsters have just begun to nibble at the public consciousness. And, perhaps, with good cause.

In a way, these days are reminiscent of the pre-atomic era. In the early forties, atomic blowups were a prime item in the sale of science ficion pups and early super-heroes. They were the stuff of spine-tingling tales that drew in readers by countless numbers. How we loved to play around with the atomics theme! I can remember utilizing an atomic cannon in one of my own stories to resolve some world-shaking incident. Then it was a more acceptable premise. HIroshima and Nagasaki changed all of that.

Of course, it goes without saying that the bomb is an over-whelming part of our lives today. In underground silos throughout the world, missiles stand grim and silent, waiting for the command to rise and start their rain of death and destruction. It's a fact we've somehow learned to live with.

Well, to compound that little fear, we may now look forward to the tampering and restructuring of the building blocks of life itself- the manufacture of living oddities from the test tube- by hands and minds beyond our control.

Smacks of melodrama, doesn't it?

Admittedly, I've gotten a lot of mileage out of the concept myself. No doubt I've even raised a few hackles with the more nightmarish visions that just naturally spring from such stories.

However, the truth of the matter is that the real thing is almost upon us. We may soon have our own Karkas and Tutinax as permanent guests. We might even find ourselves faced with the creation of a real-life High Evolutionary.

Yes, man is on the verge of producing actual mutates- living, breathing counterparts of our fantasy creations- beings with powers and abilities beyond our imaginations. We'll be sharing this planet with them, and perhaps even competing with them for its use.

How will we meet this challenging reality when it finally appears on our doorsteps? There won't be any super-heroes to help us out then. It will be a task for us!

Think about it, friends.

-Jack Kirby