Monday, September 5, 2016

American Flagg! #2

American Flagg!
#2 (November 1983)
First Comics

Written by Howard Chaykin
Art by Howard Chaykin

The adventures of former TV star turned Plexus Ranger Reuben Flagg continue in the second issue of this ahead-of-its-time series. Imagine Judge Dredd and Robocop's social commentary but set in Chicago. This should (still could) be an A&E series. Fantastic stuff and available for dirt cheap prices. I found my copy in the quarter bin at Half Price Books. Get it now before the price shoots up. These things are over 30 years old.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

1602: Witch Hunter Angela #2

1602: Witch Hunter Angela
#2 (September 2015)

Written by Marguerite Bennett
Art by Stephanie Hans
Cover A (standard)

I've got mixed emotions about this one. On the one hand, I'm screaming to myself, "What is this confusing nonsense?" I don't have the first issue so I'm not really sure what's going on in this issue. There's a medieval version of the Guardians of the Galaxy (portrayed faithfully) but they stumble upon medieval Venom's wedding. Like I said: confusing nonsense.

Then again, the art in this issue is really cool. I've never heard of Stephanie Hans before but I'll be checking out more of her work. Ultimately, I don't feel burned by taking a chance on the latest 1602 spin-off. Of course, I found this copy in the quarter bin. I'd be upset if I had paid the $3.99 cover price for this thing. Worth checking out only if you can find it on the cheap.

American Flagg 1

American Flagg!
#1 (October 1983)
First Comics

Written by Howard Chaykin
Art by Howard Chaykin
first printing

Like all good things in life, this whole scenario can be traced back to Star Wars; specifically the 1997 original. Marvel did the comic book adaptation of the first film and Howard Chaykin was the artist on said Star Wars comic. Needless to say, like everything Star Wars related during the late 70s, the comic was a massive hit. Basking in the glow of his Star Wars success, Chaykin had the pick of the litter when it came to choosing his next project. Instead of taking a low-risk gig with one of the majors (DC and Marvel), Chaykin inked a deal with indie start-up First Comics to produce a creator-owned series where he had total creative control. The end result was the futuristic, forward-thinking, waaaay ahead of its time comic series American Flagg!

American Flagg is set in the sort of dystopic yet familiar near-future that has hosted a million epic sci-fi showdowns but this one has a serious HST-gonzo gear to grind. Imagine Dr. Thompson inhabiting Bladerunner's version of Future America populated with Fry's smart-ass co-workers from Futurama. Howard Chaykin does not get enough credit as a visionary artist. He should be considered a peer of Alan Moore and Frank Miller but his name hardly generates any internet buzz these days. It's a crying shame.

I acquired my copy of American Flagg #1 in a lot of comics pulled from the quarter bin at Half Price Books. Besides being monetarily undervalued, American Flagg has become an obscure and forgotten book from the Reagan era when, in reality, everything in that book is still relevant today.

Witchblade: Origins (TPB Vol. 1B)

Witchblade: Origins
Trade Paperback Vol. 1B
Top Cow/Image

Vital Stats:

Published in 2001 by Top Cow/Image
Written by David Wohl and Christina Z.
Art by Michael Turner (pencils) and D. Tron (inks)
Cover B (TV photo featuring Yancy Butler)

Witchblade: Origins collects the first eight issues of Top Cow's 1995 series about Sara Pezzini: an NYPD detective who bonds with an ancient artifact that gives her superpowers. This particular story arc is the basis for season one of TNT's Witchblade series, hence the photo cover. Witchblade: Origins has everything you want in a modern comic book. There's a cool story with snappy dialogue coupled with the jaw-dropping artwork of Michael Turner (R.I.P.). This series is a crucial part of the second wave of Image comic books that solidified the company's place in history.

I acquired this copy from Half Price Books for $2. It's still in print, so you can get a copy for cover price or less. I highly recommend that you do.