American Flagg! Volume 2 | Review


Published on Mar 17, 2018


The publication by the Editorial Cosmos, American Flagg!, the disruptive work of transgressive Howard Chaykin, is not an event of little account. As they know, in fact, those familiar with the author, this is not a comic book any but one of the most important works of the panorama of the independent american of the eighties. In that extraordinary creative period, many of the cartoonists stood in the light, creating a series that differed from those Marvel and DC. Were not based on the superheroes, and were characterized by a considerable dose of experimentation, both narrative and graphics.

From this point of view, American Flagg! became one of the most significant works, and had the merit to become Chaykin, who had already worked on several different things at Marvel and other publishing houses, a real star of the comics. The comic-book, a published time from the First, it is now proposed by the Dynamite, and with this volume, the Editorial Cosmos proposes the conclusion of the cycle opening.

Define the series is difficult. We may consider it science fiction since it is set in the Chicago of 2031, in a context similar to that of movies such as Rollerball and Blade Runner, and some of the novels diJohn Brunner and Philip K. Dick; but there are also elements of the then-nascent cyberpunk. The stories, moreover, are not without charm noir and spy story, with a pinch of irony, if not of the acrid sarcasm (typical of Chaykin).

The world he described is dominated by technology, advertising, obsessive, control invasive on the part of the authorities and by the multinational companies that impose themselves on everything, transforming even human beings in the products of the market. And there are reality shows that seem to anticipate the current media context in which we live. And’ here that acts the protagonist, Reuben Flagg. He obtained fame and success, playing a scripted but the producers decided to replace it with a hologram. Reuben, then, finds itself having to the sheriff, interacting with the strange character between them there is Raul, a talking cat).

Another essential element of American Flagg! it is symbolized by the feminine universe. The women of Chaykin are sexy, aggressive, and treacherous. The author is certainly not politically correct and tip-consciously on sexism, intended to be provocative and irreverent tone. Although the stories lack dramatic situations, the tones scornful of the dialogues (which seem to anticipate by several years the attitude of Quentin Tarantino) are the masters. Chaykin teases everything and everyone, and in this second volume takes aim at the jews, while having fun with a doctor at the nazi at the center of a conspiracy.
Flagg has to contend with street gangs, politicians corrupt, suprematisti lovers of violence, robots, farcical and, of course, the representatives of the institutions at the centre of some shady trades. The Plexus, in particular, the most powerful company of Chicago, the future imagined by Chaykin, is repressing individual freedom, controlling the masses with subliminal messages. This situation, however, creates the premises of a war between various factions fighting for power and the poor Flagg will remain involved in their deadly games.

American Flagg! it is valuable as well for the designs. In this sense, the series is one of the best works of the author. The characters reveal the influences of Gil Kane, processed in key personnel. What is most striking is the setting of the tables. Many cartoons are set between them. There are some large, that include within them other smaller ones. Abound with phrases from the typefaces huge, shrieks and slogans; not to mention the onomatopoeia that often take precedence over the figures (a technique similar to the one used with intentions that are different from the Walt Simonson).

Despite the diversity of style, Chaykin at times makes you think of the Jim Steranko Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD and many of the tables are stunning examples of pop art. In Short, American Flagg! you can't miss and can not miss in the library of a lover of american comic books. Do not make the mistake of ignoring it.

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