Monolith sent by Celestials? Really?

#1 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6836 posts) - - Show Bio

    As I become more and more familiar with this website I come to the conclusion that sometimes comic adaptations are just complete rip-offs of literary devices from best-selling novels.  Then again it is difficult to say that anything, whether comic adaptation or otherwise, is original anymore.  That being said though, I draw the line at the supposed "adaptation" Jack Kirby used in introducing The Monolith from Arthur C. Clarke's "Space Odyssey" series into the Marvel Universe proper.   
    It's not so much that I object to the Monolith's usage in the medium of comics, but what I do object to was completely changing the powerful object's history in its adaptation from Clarke's vision.  In the book, the Monolith supposedly is a cosmic tool used by a powerful alien race known as the First Born to monitor and perpetuate evolutionary progress among species in planets across the galaxy.  For those that were fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to come across it, it also became a virtual "Grand Central Station" to the galaxy that allowed FTL travel at a moment's notice.  Supposedly the First Born planted one not only on our own Moon but also within the Olduvai Gorge of Southern Africa in the attempt to push along the evolutionary process for humans.  For any fan of the Space Odyssey books, you will come to realize it did many other wondrous, and yet sometimes insidious, things as well.  
    Now, in Kirby's vision and Marvel Comics the Monolith served the exact same purpose.  The only problem was who created it and sent it to Earth.  In comics then, it was not the ever mysterious and ominous First Born, but instead the Celestials.  Now don't get me wrong, the Celestials are wonderfully powerful cosmic beings, but for some reason it seems to me to cheapen the wonder of the Monolith by stating that they created it and planted it on Earth for their divinely cosmic experiment.  Why should this be? Well simple.  Though the Celestials are powerful and amazing, they are still tangible entities that can be witnessed and measured.  The First Born are none of these things since, as an fan of the books knows, they started as tangible entities but soon evolved to the point of transferring their sentience into spaceships to span the cosmos; like Clarke would say "they no longer made space ships, they WERE the spaceships" (emphasis mine). Eventually, they learned how to not only store information into the very fabric of the vacuum of space, they themselves eventually discarded their "metallic" bodies in the ships and became one with with the cosmos, never having to be "under the tyranny of matter" any longer.  They became energies of pure energy and thus attained near omniscience and omnipotence.  Last time I checked in comics, the Celestials were none of these things.  They still exist within matter and measurable limits.   
    Maybe its just nitpicking, but to say that a powerful tool like the Monolith came from finite cosmic beings such as the Celestials in my opinion inherently weakens its prestige.  I can hardly slight The King for taking this route in comics, for in the end comics is still a visual media and maybe it would be hard for readers to try and relate to supremely powerful beings that are no longer tied down by the laws of matter.  Readers maybe need characters that they can see and appreciate for things like the Monolith to be successful.  Still, the intrigue for First Born created Monoliths is far more intriguing than Celestial creation, especially since the latter of the two seems to be an ersatz-adaptation of the former. Who agrees with me though? Who disagrees?  Comments welcome!

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