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Return of the Genie (Monsterbus p.217)

Compare this Kirby genie story to the non-Kirby genie story.* This is so much better. These situations seem bigger, more interesting, more vivid to me. But the biggest difference (to me) is the prophetic message. I find the ending is quite profound.

Superficially, the ending has the genie just learn his lesson.  But see how the dialog is squashed in the final frames. This is very common. It is usually because Stan Lee's job, he said, was to keep the comics very simple for kids, and you don't want them to leave confused. In this case the ending dialogue may also be an effort not to offend the Comics Code. The Code did not allow bad guys to win. So the dialog stresses how he learned his lesson. But that contradicts the guy's personality: this idiot never, ever blames himself or jumps to rational conclusions. He would be scheming about how to win better next time.

I think Kirby's original ending was more nuanced. I think the genie's experience in space would make him simply pause and wonder what he really wanted. He was going off into space to repeat the same pointless acts forever. Why? What's the point? Other planets don't care. Doesn't that just make him a slave to his own inadequacies, his own need to prove his power to himself?

Modern man is like that man. We have more and more power. But for what?  we evolved the need for power when we were hungry, we needed to grab scarce food to survive. What do we do when food is no longer scarce? Keep eating until it kills us? Surely there is more to it than this? And that question is the beginning of wisdom.

*Or if that was Kirby he was having a very bad day.