Marvel recently dropped the first trailer for the Eternals movie.
Created by the legendary Jack Kirby back in 1976, The Eternals made their debut in The Eternals #1 in July 1976.
Way back in 1970, Kirby left Marvel to work at DC. There he established the New Gods, a saga that brought mythology and science together. This is what established characters like Darkseid, Orion, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, and the entire story of Apokolips and New Genesis.
Following the cancellation of the title Kirby moved back to Marvel and began the tale of the Eternals. Thematically similar, yet different, the series was also cancelled without filling all the plot holes.
Shortly after writers Roy Thomas and Mark Gruenwald utilised the characters in Thor in an attempt to bring the story some closure.
Even though the Eternals didn’t have the longest of initial runs, the mythology that Kirby created seeped into multiple areas of the Marvel universe.
But who are the Eternals in the comic books?
Millenia ago, the race known as the Celestials visited Earth, performing genetic experiments on the early proto-humanity. Creating two divergent races, the long-lived Eternals and the monstrously grotesque Deviants. Experiments resulting in the capacity for super powered humans. They conducted similar experiments across the universe. The Kree and the Skrulls are also the result of the Celestials. Thanos is an Eternal with the Deviant Syndrome.
Despite looking like humans, the Eternals are long lived to the point of near immortality, when they perish they are simply reborn. Through the vast majority of time, they have fought to protect the human race, while trying to keep contact with them to a minimum.
After a devastating civil war, the Eternals chose a path of peace. Building great cities, advanced technologies, and aiding humanity from behind the curtain.
While there are a number of Eternals in the comics, the new movie from Marvel is currently set to showcase Sersi, Ikaris, Kingo, Sprite, Phastos, Makkari, Druig, Gilgamesh, Ajak, and Thena. Some of them have been gender swapped, but that’s pretty in line with one of the things they can do in the comic books.
The cast is looking interesting, with Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harington, Gemma Chan, Don Lee, Salma Hayak, and Harish Patel in the mix, along with a slew of other great actors.
But enough about that, lets get into the juicy parts. The comics.
The Eternals (1976)
There’s no better place to start than with the original run by the master himself. Jack Kirby’s run is available in two volumes that captures the 19 issues and 1 annual. You should follow this one up with Thor: Eternals Saga.
Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr team up for this beautifully written and illustrated series that properly introduces the Eternals to the 21st century. The seven-issue series (originally 6 issue) follows Ike Harris who begins to have memories of being an Eternal, however no one seems to remember who they are. Meanwhile someone is trying to kill Ike in an effort to ensure that the history of the Eternals remains a secret.
Eternals: To Defy the Apocalypse (2008)
Following Gaiman’s run Daniel Knauf and his son Charles took the reigns along with Daniel Acuna on art duties. The Celestials have returned, but what are they here for. Ikaris must awaken his brethren as they try to figure out if the Celestial is here to observe, or bring the end of days. This features cameos from Daredevil, Hercules, the X-Men, Iron Man and more.
The Eternals currently have an ongoing series that started in January 2021. Helmed by Kieron Gillan, Esad Ribic, and Matthew Wilson. It’s also worth checking out. For collectors, there are tons of stunning variant covers to choose from.
The Eternals movie, directed by Chloe Zhao, is expected to hit screens in November 2021. So you’ve got time to dive into the universe and learn all you need to.