Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #127: OMAC

Jack Kirby, often called the King of Comics, is at least partially responsible for a slew of recognizable characters from both DC and Marvel.  Not everything Kirby whipped up was necessarily worth its metaphorical weight in gold, and even he knew the sting of cancelation while he was still working on various titles.

For example, his original concept for OMAC ran for a full eight issues before the first storyline could even be finished the way he envisioned it.

OMAC is the one in the middle.

Who, or what, is OMAC?  The name is an acronym standing for “One-Man Army Corp,” and Kirby’s original concept was a futuristic Captain America that he never quite got around to creating over at Marvel.  Instead, at the tail end of his DC contract, just as the New Gods were being canceled, he gave the world OMAC.

At some point in the future, a faceless-but-benevolent organization called the Global Peace Agency (you know, the ol’ GPA) had an agent named Buddy Blank.  Buddy himself wasn’t overly impressive, but with help from the satellite/computer A.I. called Brother Eye, he could transform into OMAC, and, as OMAC, he possessed great strength, speed, durability, and some sort of explosive energy powers.  Brother Eye could, as needed, give Buddy additional powers like self-repair, but he had a baseline to work off.  OMAC had, for one thing, a rather distinctive haircut compared to regular ol’ Buddy.

This is what a middle-aged man working in the 70s thought the future would look like.

And…well, that’s that.  As an agent of the GPA, OMAC fought to keep the peace for those faceless agents who worked for all the countries of the world.

Not kidding about the faceless part…

Now, it’s probably worth noting that the 70s were the beginning of the period when old creators would get the respect they deserved for their work, and as anyone who’s seen the documentary Batman and Bill can attest, unless you had a good agents (which most comics creators didn’t), you probably didn’t get much of anything for your creative work and Jack Kirby wasn’t immune to that any more than Bill Finger was.  Point is, DC had no problem canceling Kirby’s books.

Now, OMAC didn’t quite disappear.  He would get various back-up features here and there from other creators, but maybe the most interesting thing about OMAC is that there is something of an OMAC legacy.  When the Infinite Crisis came around, the general concept was revived somewhat.  Batman, of all people, had created Brother Eye as a final protection against metahuman threats, but then the twisted billionaire Max Lord got ahold of Brother Eye and created a new breed of OMACs, this time known as either the Omni Mind And Community or the Observational Metahuman Activity Construct, where innocent people were infected with nanites that could, under proper conditions, turn them into an OMAC, a mindless thrall to Brother Eye whose only purpose was to defeat superhumans and could adapt quickly to any powers or abilities thrown at them.

Like here where they easily manhandle a Justice League team.

Now, one of those guys might have been named Buddy Blank, but that would have been little more than a single panel Easter Egg.

More recently, the New 52 came up with another new OMAC, this time a poor dupe named Kevin Kho.

Seen here fighting DC hero Frankenstein.

It’s almost like DC wants to take a somewhat campy dystopian future character from the King of Comics and make it into something else that may almost work.

Then again, maybe we aren’t meant to remember a character with a name as silly as “Buddy Blank”.  I almost suspect Kirby just shrugged, said whatever, and went with that.  And this is the guy who gave us the Newsboy Legion.

Not everything is going to be the Fantastic Four, you know.

Some things, even in comics, might just be a little too weird.

tomk74

Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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