Saturday, September 3, 2016

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.

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