The First Kingdom (JUN131283) is a tale that takes its author back to when he had the stamina and speed of youth. Its roots are in the idea of tall cities first seen by impressionable eyes. The eyes of a twelve year-old. Jack Katz’s eyes saw a lot, and this made him think a lot…with some thoughts that he knew were totally alien to people. That’s what made the idea of The First Kingdom so exciting.
PREVIEWSworld: For those not familiar with The First Kingdom, could you explain to us how the idea for the story was developed? What was the muse for such a tale? Were there other contemporary or past projects that helped shape your vision?
Jack Katz: It started when I was a very young man. I'd heard about the explorations, the North Pole, the inroads that were made by the Aviators, greater speeds, I was avidly interested in all of those things. Also the literature that I enjoyed such as H.G. Wells and later authors such as Edward Hamilton had an influence.
Because of the explorations, I began to realize that much was coming out about the potential of our destiny being in the stars. It became clear that we had three basic instincts, the instinct to survive, the instinct to replicate and the third instinct, though it's dormant in most and latent in some, is the instinct to migrate. When I was in first or second grade, one of my teachers was a pilot and she had known Amelia Earhart. I used to tell her some of my dreams about giant cities with tall white buildings and so forth and she took an interest in me, but then I ended up moving away from that school. We were always moving.
So, The First Kingdom has really been with me from a very early age. It started to crystalize when I was around 12 years old. I'd taken in the Sunday supplements, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers and this combined with following explorers and conquistadors really piqued my interest. Even then, I knew that everything replicates accordingly: wheat, grasses, fish - everything accordingly. It's a locked in system.
I do believe — and I know this won't sit well with everyone — that we are computers. Every component that invests itself into the String System, the Super Strings go about investing themselves into the subatomic particles, which act accordingly, with a specific purpose. It might become an arm, a leg, DNA and so forth, and it's always been this way. What happened is that I saw that we were no different from any other system. We're ambulatory vegetation. The cow eats grass and we eat the cow so we're getting vegetation once removed. Bigger than that, it is my belief that we are nothing less than super computers. Every system, every component is part of something that happened in the Universe. I've always been aware that this system is somehow flawed and damaged. It's been recorded since the beginning; nothing seems to survive.
So by the time I was 12 years old, the entire concept for The First Kingdom was in my mind. It was just a question of how to get it down and get it published. By 1973 I had written the entire 24 books and the additional books in the trilogy, The Space Explorer's Club and Destiny were also being introduced within The First Kingdom. Beyond all that is the driving force that put the whole thing together and that is yet to come. That is called Beyond the Beyond. Now going into that is very complex because it has to do with mankind before he could even talk. Prehistory is one of the most important things that I've read and studied all my life. This is way before The Bible, The Bhagavad Gita or any of those things, way before! A number of things happened back then and we are the result of it.
PREVIEWSworld: Our PREVIEWS readers learned from the solicitation of The First Kingdom Volume 1 that there are six novels in the series. Was this how the series was originally published? Or has Titan extended the series to six novels because of additional material that will be released in the series?
Jack Katz: Well, a number of people have tried to put this into print. One company, you can look them up, put together the first twelve books, but didn't complete the first 24 for financial reasons. It was a good attempt, but not entirely successful. But this point in time is very good, even though the space program has been murdered. By the way, I have close friends who have worked at NASA as well as eminent UFOlogists, so what I'm saying is valid. That being said, I do not believe we should have disclosure. I personally don't feel that we're prepared for it. We still have to keep tribal and live in what I call "bee hives." These include industrial bee hives, financial bee hives, educational bee hives and so on. This is just what's happening today. It's nice that we've created scarcities of food even though we could feed the world for years to come, but there are people in power or people who are unhappy that want to keep things this way. I once met a Guru that told me something fascinating. He told me that unhappy people were dangerous people. They're dangerous to themselves and to everyone else and that unhappiness is worse than jealousy. It is the one quality that people absolutely do not want to recognize in themselves.
PREVIEWSworld: Why is it the right time to put this project back into print? Who was behind the scenes making this happen?
Jack Katz: Well I met a gentleman named Peter Beren and he immediately saw the value of this particular thing and he contacted a number of places, there was an American company that was interested in it, but he decided to go with Titan Comics and I feel that was the right decision. Peter Beren is now my literary agent and I'm very happy with him. By the way, there's a whole team behind these decisions. I'd been in comic books most of my life. I'd worked for King Features Syndicate and Standard before that and in 1946 to '51 I'd met Alex Raymond and Hal Foster. Hal used to come over to my desk and he'd say, "Jack, you're not putting enough blacks in" and he'd put in the shadows. It was great fun and I met some great artists. To me, excellence is the only authority, and they had it. Sure they used assistants, but that didn't matter to me, because they could draw like nobody's business. As far as writing was concerned, that has to do with literature and I've always been involved in literature. The people who have helped me of late, besides Peter Beren are Bob Gill, Brian Miller, Darren Kessler and of course Carolyn Gold. The real miracle of this story is that all of the original art for The First Kingdom ended up in Brazil. There was no way I could ever hope to get it back, but the real miracle is that the guy who had the art's wife showed up at my doorstep with two big suitcases. It was all the original art, 15 years of my life. I gave her the biggest hug.
One more thing I need to talk about in terms of making this happen is music. I cannot draw or paint without music. And none of the contemporary music has the substance, the significance, the heart or the life of the great composers from 1895 to 1960. They did things that were remarkable. They were passed over and forgotten. It's like a wave came or like Atlantis that sunk or Krakatoa that exploded. Just off the top of my head, I'll name Kurt Weill, Rebecca Clarke, Amy Beach, Howard Hansen, Bernard Hermann and John Barry… there were just so many and I've kept those pieces of music, because now you can't even find some of them on the Internet. There's about 60 of those composers, some of them ended up in Hollywood, like Franz Waxman who composed the music for The Bride of Frankenstein. The part when they bring the monster to life, I played that over and over when I drew the part of The Kingdom when the Cyborgs board the ship. The H11s, the Human 11s, that's where the ideas came from, the music!
PREVIEWSworld: Is this publishing project part of a bigger publishing plan?
Jack Katz: Yes. All of The First Kingdom, Destiny, and The Space Explorer's Club are merely a prelude to Beyond The Beyond, how we will find our way through the Infiniteverse, how it will be possible to repair the damage in our own Infiniteverse and instead of wormholes, which are ridiculous, there are conduits. This is very important, because before mankind was able to talk, this time around, there was something else; there was a rift in the sky. I don't have my books with me here, but they tried to describe with sound what it looked like. It was perpendicular; it wasn't horizontal and from the information I've been getting, it looked like the convolutions on the red spot on Jupiter. Eventually the word kept getting translated and translated until the word became obsolete as the rift closed and then we were able to talk and somehow that initial sound was kept alive. The best that could be brought to bare today, is this word is DEHISCE and it sounds like SCHE. It's a splitting sound like what a rift in the firmament, in the sky would sound like and that's the best we have. According to Michael Cremo, who co-wrote The Hidden History of the Human Race, gold was found underneath Jurassic coal beds. Yes, the literature I read is very esoteric. We're talking maybe 2.5 Billion years ago. We've been around a long time! What can I tell you, the words were retained in enclaves by Cenobites, who were like monks, maybe the forerunners of Masons and so on that we have today.
PREVIEWSworld: Could you tell us how you feel about the project now that you have had time to see its impact on the reading public?
Jack Katz: Before I answer that I want to explain that this is an adult book; it should not be sold to children. Let me bring out a point. I think it was Alfred Adler that wrote about searching for the mystery of maturity for 50 years, and at the end of 50 years, he realized that there was no such thing as maturity. He wasted 50 years of his life! Now when I say, "adult book" it means I want them to be at least 18. There's nudity and so forth, but it has to do with the Earth being closer to the Sun at that time. The book is about a regeneration of man after an atomic holocaust. So it starts out very primitively, but eventually there is migration, that third instinct.
PREVIEWSworld: Would you have created the same book today as you did at its first conception?
Jack Katz: The book would never change. It's like replicating a human being. That's just what it is, replicating a cell, DNA, whatever you have. How could it be any different? It is what it is.
By the way, the reason this project is done in graphic form is that I looked at friezes of the Battle of Hastings or what have you and it came to me that the best way to tell this story was in a graphic novel form. It is my intention to elevate the potential culture that we could have. You can have interpersonal issues in exotic settings and it can be the future or the past, but the opportunity for people to really write, but not writing because they are hungry for money. Money is very simple. Gold is a metal and diamonds are stones. The greatest fantasy I know is that we believe these are valuable. What is really valuable is the untapped intelligence of human beings! To give you some idea, in Legacy, I wrote a forward that goes like this: We all owe our lives, and the freedoms we have, to the men and women who gave the supreme sacrifice on battlefields in different lands. They provided us with opportunities and chances that they themselves were denied. They gave us the privilege to live in a free country. I never forget this and I never will. It's because of those people that The First Kingdom had a chance to be born.
So, to answer your question, I harangued a number of publishers to try to get this published, but in the comic world, they keep doing super heroes because children are made to feel that they are completely vulnerable and that they need something that can't be destroyed. My heroes were Tarzan and Flash Gordon if you want to think about that. I wanted to elevate the medium. It IS possible. In classical music you have many ways to tell a story. You have duets, trios, single performers, symphonies, concerti, quartets and opera. So this is the only way to tell a story, to reach people where they live and so this was my aim, to elevate the medium. I talked to Alex Raymond about the idea of doing a pictorial novel and he said, "Oh Jack, I don't know if it's going to work." So then I spoke to Hal Foster and he said, "A visual novel, I'm doing a visual novel." But at that time, they were fortunate because they were working for newspapers and this was before comic books, so it was a little more serious and maybe had a wide age gap of readers. I just knew that comic type art could be combined with writing to make a serious attempt at stimulating more imagination. It's been difficult, very difficult to go through some of the things I did and I'm not a hero, but this had to happen!
What does one do with one's life? You can make money like all the millionaires that I've known, who are dead now, with all that metal and stones. They did nothing except to be jealous of their children's fresh start in life and to put everyone else down. They'd rather compete with everyone than to discover the unlimited intelligence and empowerment that are within everyone. We haven't even begun to think about what our potential is! I think this is important. If this was the 1880s and you and I were on the Misenmast and we're excellent sailors. But we're not educated at all. We can't even sign our names, but we're great sailors. So maybe you say to me, "There's something missing in my life." And I say to you, "You're daft lad, all you need is a 'alf n 'alf in your hand and a lass in your lap." Well that all sounds good, but suppose that you're a natural born computer theorist. It's 1870! You're born into dirt poverty. The avenues of expression for your potential aren't there yet! Well we're still doing it. We keep people dumbed down and trapped in front of computers and give them names and titles and stuff. We are lost! I know everyone has to make a buck and that we're the prisoners of conceit. But listen, thoughts, thoughts themselves have tremendous energy in them. Thoughts are more important than physicality because we can lose our physicality, but thoughts are still there. The energy that creates thoughts is something we haven't even tapped the surface of.
PREVIEWSworld: If you had the opportunity to work on a dream project, what would it be, and with whom would you collaborate to publish the final project?
Jack Katz: I could say it's a moot point. There's something going on and of course there's Beyond The Beyond, which is solidifying and incorporating a lot of stuff. I'd say I'm now associated with some very influential people who have esoteric perspectives and who have the highest degree of intelligence. It's not a question of whether they're vulnerable. Everyone is vulnerable, I'm vulnerable. The people that are trying to protect themselves, that have been given a sense of superiority and all this, really have no idea what it's all about. The shock of the greater realities would knock them off their feet. It is my hope that eventually a publishing house will look into new ideas and look, I knew Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster very well. I knew them all, but I'm talking about something that makes everything that's been created so far just sub space. I'm talking about something that will go beyond our atmosphere, through the stratosphere into space itself, into our Infiniteverse. And yes, I do have other projects and yes, as long as I'm alive I will continue to do these things. One of the things I've noticed is that people who give up on life early will get Alzheimer's and things like that. You must ingest and imbibe as much literature and as many new perspectives as possible. What I'm talking about now is like pre-kindergarten, there's so much more to do. There is so much great writing, great art and great music right now to be inspired by. There's always more to experience and to do if you're open to it.
The First Kingdom Vol.1: The Birth of Tundran hits stores on September 24, 2013. The First Kingdom Vol.2: The Galaxy Hunters will be available to order from August PREVIEWS.