Who Are the Forever People?

Who's This? Space hippies.

The facts: Part of Jack Kirby's Fourth World, the group first appeared in Forever People #1 (February-March 1971), the first of those series to go, cancelled as of issue #11. Aside from a flashback in the last issue of the New Gods revival and a cameo in Crisis on Infinite Earths #10, they did not reappear until their 1988 mini-series by DeMatteis and Cullins, giving them a slightly different status quo. From there, they appeared in the new Mister Miracle book, the Superman titles, and eventually, other Fourth World books/appearances. They're murdered in Death of the New Gods, and they get their own very short-lived series in the New52, called Infinity Man and the Forever People (9 issues).
How you could have heard of them: The Forever People did appear on the Young Justice animated series, but have had a hard time making a go of it in the DC Universe proper. This blogger happens to be a big fan, but he's often alone on his little hill.
Example story: Adventures of Superman #495 (October 1992) "The Hand That Robs the Cradle" by Jerry Ordway, Tom Grummett and Doug Hazelwood
Since there's a limited supply of Kirby's Forever People from which I will pull my examples stories for the team's individual members (and their villains), I swam upstream to see how they were used in the larger DC Universe, for example, as guest stars. In this particular story, they're trying to find Superman and immediately have trouble parking the Super Cycle (no relation) in Metropolis.
They create enough of a commotion that the Man of Steel does show up, and as soon as he does, Beautiful Dreamer lays it out for him: Darkseid's kidnapped her child Maya, born in the 1988 mini-series. Kind of explains why Big Bear (the father) is so aggressive. Kirby played him as a gentle giant. Before Supes can call in the Justice League, Vykin makes Mother Box open a Boom Tube straight to Apokolips. The Forever People are Forever youths, so going off half-cocked is par for the course. Apokolips isn't so dangerous when the Super Cycle can phase out of existence, mind.
But once thrown out of the vehicle, the going gets tough, and the Forever Peeps need to combine into/summon the Infinity Man. It's their big shtick.
He and Superman fight robots and para-demons until Darkseid takes notice and captures both of them with his "finder beams". His omega beams even send the Infinity Man back where he came from and gets the group back... so he can tell them he DIDN'T order the Forever Toddler! Oh boy, Granny Goodness is in trouble now.
So Maya doesn't become a Female Fury, but Darkseid promises her that the child will be monitored and have a part to play in the downfall of New Genesis. Did she? Well, no. While Ordway is respectful of the '88 mini here, Maya wouldn't make another meaningful appearance, and none at all after 1994. Indeed, the John Byrne Fourth World series would imply she was wiped from continuity (I guess during Zero Hour). But that's the Forever People all over. Nobody seems to care, even the biggest Kirbyphiles in comicdom.

Who's Next? DC's anthology-housed heroes.


Dick McGee said…
I love the Kirby space hippy concept, but the actual execution of it has always been lackluster, even under their creator. Kind of sad really, but they're definitely the weak link in the 4th World books. Even Jimmy Olsen edges them out for sheer gonzo craziness...a shame they didn't get page time in that run where they might have fit better and benefit from the exposure. Heck, having them flat-out replace the dreadful Newsboy Legion would have been a major improvement for both books.