CM Podcast 259 – American Flagg! (1983)

The future is now! We are continuing our discussion on future dystopian comics and this week we are cover the future of American Flagg!

American Flagg! was a comic written and illustrated by Howard Chaykin with letters by Ken Bruzenak that originally started in 1983 and was distributed by First Comics, an independent publisher at the time.

American Flagg! takes place in 2031 in Plex America which is the name of the former United States of America. It follows the adventures of former TV star, now conscripted Plex Ranger, Reuben Flagg. He is relocated from Mars, a planet of the wealthy to Earth, home of the dregs of society and in a constant state of conflict. It is up to Flagg and his Plexus Rangers to establish order and return Plex America to it’s former glory before the Tricentennial.

We review the collected trade volume one by Image. It collects the first 6 issues.

This comic is a dark, satirical take on America and it’s politics in the 1980s, but it feels as relevant today, more than ever. In Flagg’s reality, people have broken their political beliefs into fractured, radicalized cells and wage war on the streets with other political parties every day – and this is a normal day! Chaykin takes a philandering louse and makes him the hero of the story and it works! This comics gets you with humor and keeps you reading for the twists and turns of the plot. Netflix, HBO and Hulu – why are you not making this a series yet?!!

***Some slight SPOILERS in the Podcast***

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 259

CM Podcast 222 – Twilight

Back in 1990, DC editors allowed Howard Chaykin and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez to use some of their beloved 1950 and 1960s Sci-Fi characters to be used in a very mature and violent miniseries.

Twilight is quite an oddity. DC only has a few comics that were released dealing with mature themes up to this point and not many after Twilight.

Covers to issues 1, 2 and 3 of the Twilight miniseries

Chaykin and Garcia-Lopez use zany characters like Tommy Tomorrow, The Star Rovers, Star Harkins (now called Axel Starkins), Ilda and Jon Starkins and put them into a comic that deals with politics, religion, civil liberties and many more mature themes. Some of the characters are totally opposite of their 90s counter part like Tommy Tomorrow.

I don’t know who came up with the concept and pitch but I am glad this comic was made. It is a fresh and different idea for DC at the time and it still holds up re-reading it. This is Jon’s first exposure to it and he really had a good time talking about it.

We also talk about the history of the original characters from the 50s and 60s and how the atomic bomb influenced the creation of these characters and how the cold war impacted the imagination of writers and film makers during that time.

Jim

Comics Misremembered Podcast 222