Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg

American Flagg

I wouldn’t be lying if I said that Howard Chaykin changed my life. Although I knew him from before, the splendid Black Kiss, it was on American Flagg that he opened my mind to a world of possibilities. Graphically, he was by far ahead of everybody else in the time – he uses a lot of newer graphic design concepts in his comics. Conceptually, also. He had a ‘cast’ of ‘actors’ which would re-appear in all his stories. So Reuben Flagg was played by the same ‘actor’ that appeared on ‘Black Kiss’. It’s a bit confusing, and it’s genius. And the stories were incredibly mature, even for a graphic novel. Sex wasn’t treat as a big deal, and every character had shades of grey. The future described in American Flagg is incredibly chaotic, corrupt and exciting! He predicted loads of cultural phenomenons, like censorship over things we would never imagine, and the video generation. Also, coined the term Tromplography™, used a lot in the 2008 american presidency election, with Obama and McCain being superimposed in CGI over other people’s bodies. Mañanacillin™ – the penicillin for the day after, antibiotic and contraceptive, it kills every disease you may have gotten the night before, but its extensive use leads to sterility. I wanted to live in this world. The Jews for Jesus, interspecies romances, subliminal messages, hot babes selling machine guns, bootleg sport videos, illegal cable channels, it was all there. And there was this particular episode, when Reuben is surprised on a stakeout, whilst watching a meeting he wasn’t supposed to… the henchmen ask: Who are you??? – when he replies: I’m Pete Zarustica, a Russian jewellery smuggler…

Crystal Gate Marakova