In the mid-1980s, we discovered Warlock. We’d been rocking out with Dreadstar and wanted to read more from this cat Jim Starlin. We liked the series, but it wasn’t until we got to 1000 Clowns that we realized Jim Starlin was talking to us. He was writing a metaphor about our lives. Yes, just for us, little Martians that we were.
In 1000 Clowns, Jim Starlin lays it on the line. The people telling you what to believe and telling who you are — they’re all tools. They’re clowns, and they are indoctrinating you into their ridiculous beliefs. Starlin further demonstrates the only way to overcome their programming is to confront the deepest, darkest side of yourself. Starlin cautions that although you will gain incredible self-awareness this way, it may also drive you a bit insane — this integration with what Carl Jung called The Shadow.
Jim, you just about drew the roadmap for our teens and twenties, and we’d like to thank you. It was a rough ride at times. But, like Warlock, we eventually found a way to alter our unalterable future.
– Originally printed in Strange Tales #181; Marvel,
– Reprinted in Fantasy Masterpieces #11; Marvel Comics, 1968.
– The complete Starlin Warlock epic was reprinted in 1982 as Warlock Special Edition and again in 1992 as the Warlock Limited Series. Both reprints are the same material, but with different covers.
Note: Starlin might have taken the title to this story about non-conformism from a 1962 play called A Thousand Clowns.