Comics Ate My Brain

July 1, 2007

Sunday Soliloquy

Filed under: american flagg, howard chaykin, sunday soliloquy — Tom Bondurant @ 11:54 am
First, thanks to Shane Bailey for the mention in his latest “Meanwhile” column! If anyone else out there wants to show off their comics’ speechifying, please be my guest.

As for this week … well, how about a little civil disobedience?

In the dystopian future of 2031, the United States is run by a mega-corporation called The Plex, and idealistic, pragmatic Reuben Flagg is Plexmall Chicago’s newest lawman.

American Flagg! is twenty-four years old, but some sentiments never go out of style.

[From “Hard Times, Conclusion,” American Flagg! #3, December 1983. Written and drawn by Howard Chaykin.]

August 20, 2004

I used to be cool … right?

Filed under: american flagg, howard chaykin — Tom Bondurant @ 12:45 pm
Last night I pulled Hard Times, the first American Flagg! collection, off the shelf and started reading. I wanted to refresh my memories because I’d been thinking about a Flagg! essay.

Instead I found myself remembering, as invariably I will, the circumstances of finding and reading the original issues lo, those many years ago. Discovering Flagg! was like watching Stripes or Caddyshack for the first time — not necessarily a portal into the “adult, mature” world, but just something unquestionably cool. I’d never read anything like Flagg! before, and probably never since. I devoured every issue I could find, showed them to friends, took them to band camp (don’t snicker, you’d have done it too), and read them over and over. I read more independent comics then — Nexus, Cerebus, The Maze Agency, the occasional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (in glorious black & white, before they sold out), and every so often a Love & Rockets collection — but thinking about those halcyon high-school days made me realize the steady diet of superheroes I’m on now.

What brought me to such a state? It would be easy to place blame with my current comics shop, because the one I went to in high school (long since gone) was more indie-friendly. The comics magazine I used to read, Amazing Heroes, is also gone, replaced in large part by the more superhero-friendly Wizard. Still, with the Internet (and especially the blogosphere), I can get plugged into the indie scene pretty easily.

No, at heart I’ve always read superheroes and I probably always will. Last night I realized it was Howard Chaykin’s Shadow, done for DC, which led me to Flagg!; and likewise most of the other books I mentioned have some superhero connection. (Cerebus and TMNT both featured superhero parodies; Nexus was pretty much a superhero book; and Maze Agency was written by longtime Bat-writer Mike W. Barr. Love & Rockets I read out of curiosity.)

So have I ever been cool? Who knows? (Who cares?) All I can say is that American Flagg! makes me feel very cool indeed.

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