Does anyone remember there used to be this mystic character in a chair who would appear and give sage advice to heroes and characters in old DC comic books in the 70s? I am pretty sure he was called ‘Merton’ after Thomas Merton, but an internet search is proving fruitless. Can anyone shed any light on this, or did I imagine it?
Metron was one of Jack Kirby’s"New Gods" characters of DC comics. Was he hased on Merton? I dont know. He was a passionless character who sought knowledge. He used the chair to travel around time and space.
I loved the New Gods characters and how they interacted with the regular characters, Superman, etc. They killed all of them off a while ago and are now bringing them back. I know the old stories are in a colllection. Something like Jack Kirby’s Fourth World or something.
How was he supposed to be based on Merton? So cool.
Metron is a character created by Jack Kirby for his Fourth World series in DC Comics. He was “based on Leonard Nimoy as Spock,” and designed as a character who “would frequently change sides [between New Genesis and Apokolips].” He first appeared in New Gods #1 (February-March 1971)
Although he possesses the powers of a demigod (at least), Metron is typically depicted as a passive observer in the DC Universe rather than an active participant, somewhat akin to Marvel Comics Watchers. He wanders in search of greater knowledge beyond his own, riding on his Mobius Chair, which can traverse time and space instantaneously. Metron is of neither New Genesis nor Apokolips, and usually avoids the struggle between the two worlds almost entirely. As he states in New Gods #7, “The Pact,”: “I have no link with the Old Gods – or New!! I am something different! Something that was unforeseen!! – On New Genesis – or here!!”
Metron has invented the ‘Boom Tube’ technology used by the New Gods to teleport vast distances. 
In 1989’s Legend mini-series, Metron confides in Darkseid about the Anti-Life Equation. Apparently, Metron holds the key to the Anti-Life Equation, however he is a seeker of knowledge and so will tell no one of his knowledge. In a 1983 DC/Marvel crossover, X-Men / Teen Titans, Metron tells Darkseid that Dark Phoenix is a part of the Anti-Life Equation. Recently in the “Death of the New Gods” miniseries the Source explains the origin of the Anti-Life Equation to Metron.
Metron helped contact most of Earth’s superheroes in order to gather them during the Zero Hour crisis. During Extant’s return, he fought alongside the Justice Society of America in defeating Extant after he gained control of the omnipotent Worlogog.
He observed the events of Kurt Busiek’s JLA/Avengers comic, giving Iron Man a Mother Box to balance the power given to the Justice League by Grandmaster. His main role during the miniseries was to observe and investigate Krona’s actions, refusing to deviate from his non-involvement at the end when Krona demanded his aid. At the end, Metron kept guard over the newly formed Cosmic egg.
In the 2005 Mister Miracle miniseries, Metron contacts Shilo Norman (the current Mister Miracle) during a stunt gone wrong, making him aware of the Fourth World. In his first appearance in the book, he looks like he has before, but later he disguises himself as an epileptic man in a wheelchair.
During the events of Death of the New Gods, where the mysterious deaths of the entire Fourth World accelerated, Metron tracked and discovered the mastermind: the Source itself, which has in truth been lurking in the backgrounds for millennia trying to reacquire its original powers and reunite with its other half: the Anti-Life Entity. In true form, Metron sought not to stop the Source, but rather to stand by the Source’s side and watch & learn as the Fourth World of the New Gods came to an end.
Eventually, after the death of Mister Miracle at the hands of the Source, Metron grows disgusted, and demands his own death. The Source complies, and kills Metron before going to confront Darkseid.
Although the New Gods didn’t stay dead long (how surprising…) as when DC rebooted everyone of it’s titles recently Darkseid and co. came back to life in the New Continuity.
Frankly with regards to the New Gods I feel that most people after Kirby didn’t handle that whole set of properties all that well. Kirby had a particularly personal vision with the whole New Gods mythos. Given Kirby’s style of writing and art which was rooted in the Golden Age it was occasionally a little naive or melodramatic but he had a scope of vision very few in the comic book field have ever come close to.If you read Kirby’s Fourth World titles there is a feeling that is particular to them. Kirby never felt like he was just trying to be a ‘cool’ older guy and get ‘down with the kids’. Rather he really did have a genuine vision of man improving (although struggling to do so) which comes through in his work. He never became jaded or bitter in his outlook and there is a truly cosmic sense in some of his work that is still uncommon in comic books.