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Spragg (Monsterbus p.664)

Just a quick review: I only have 5 minutes. After the last post (the origin of Marvel) the Spragg story is a good opportunity to stand back and see what Kirby was doing with these monster stories.

Kirby said in interviews that he enjoyed thinking up strange new dangers, and then thinking up how to defeat them. This is an exercise in intelligence: what might go wrong, at an abstract level, and how could one person then then solve it? All simplified for children, and made symbolic through monsters. It is also a prophetic message: be prepared for all possible futures! Is this what we are causing through out thoughtless actions? (see my previous comments on the Internet as a monster that might enslave and replace us)

Spragg is a brilliant concept: if life evolved in a gas cloud, or in liquid magma, then it would make far greater use of electromagnetic fields. That is, what we call brain waves, or with more energy, magnetic or electrostatic repulsion. Such a creature would not need arms or legs.

This is a terrifying story because the ending is really clutching at straws. How likely is it that we could really redirect such a being's power against itself? pretty unlikely. I like the tinfoil hat angle, as a tinfoil hat is how we say "this thing would not really work". But what else can you do in the face of such overwhelming odds?

Note the final frame: a question is asked then ignored, and the final speech balloon has too many words. it looks like Lee (the editor) changed the final morel to be more upbeat. As he often did. I suspect that Kirby's original final comment did answer the question, but in a more worrying way, indicating how close they came to the end of the human race.

Finally, given that this story had to be for children, the highly unlikely ending (Spragg shoots into space and is somehow unable to return, yet he was originally a space being who can manipulate his surroundings) is probably a child friendly metaphor for what would have REALLY happened. Think of the hero as a resistance fighter and the dynamo as some giant Nazi death weapon he would really have rigged it to blow up, killing everyone.

Food for thought. Which is the whole point of the monster stories, and why Kirby is such a super writer.