If you have no interest in Airboy you should probably read Airboy

Airboy01_CoverSo I got us a hotel to work out of” — famous last words.

Airboy is deliriously fun and I can’t wait to read the next issue. If you have no actual interest in reading a comic about Airboy (Airboy being a square, Golden Age hero), but would like to read a gonzo take on the creative process: you’ll love it. Airboy is James Robinson‘s meta comic about getting hired to make an Airboy comic, and the drugs that allow one to do so– starring none other than James Robinson and Greg Hinkle (this book’s creative team).

Henceforth, Robinson as portrayed in the comic will be referred to as comic!Robinson, and Hinkle as depicted in the book will be comic!Hinkle. Because they aren’t the same. If they were they wouldn’t be standing…

I adore The Golden Age– Robinson’s classic graphic novel that reimagined Golden Age heroes dealing with the fallout of WWII and their own myths. When I was too broke to spend money buying comics I’d already read, one of the few books I treated myself to was Golden Age.

The Golden Age does what we regard as the “James Robinson Thing.” Some people say he gives corny Golden Age characters new life. I say he takes Golden Age characters and excavates depth & emotional resonance we never knew was there. He’s the writer who brought us Hourman as a drug addict. In the past he’s been post modernist as all get out. But this new comic isn’t about being post modernist. And it’s sure as hell not an ironic take– ironic hipsters? “fuck the lot of them” as comic!Robinson says. What the book is gonzo.

This is his first foray into making gonzo comics. It’s not gonzo journalism– he’s not reporting on anything– but he’s still mythologizing his own creative process and he’s daring us to join him for the ride.

Comic!Robinson says “it has to be real for me to get vested” so to get real he goes on a Hunter S. Thompson worthy drug binge, dragging his artist along with a halo of drunk bubbles.

Airboy_Preview_PageI need to emphasize that the comic is very funny. One gag revolves around Hinkle drawing himself (comic!Hinkle) with a ridiculously huge dick– because of course that’s what you do when you’re the artist. And yes, it’s relevant because things get very naked on multiple levels.

I suspect that much like The Venture Brothers show, on some level this series will be about failure and self disappointment. Maybe the writer works his way through it, we’ll see. For now it all feels like a raw nerve. A hilarious raw nerve. So I can’t help but think of The Venture Brothers which is one of the greatest shows on TV.

The book’s strictly limited color palette keeps the scenes looking a little bit removed. They are in a bathed in a surreal haze, which I presume is pretty accurate. The panels are incredibly detailed yet cartoony and thoroughly peopled. Public scenes are downright crowded with humans who each look unique. You know I love that.

Note that the back of the book shows the covers of the mini-series’ three remaining future issues. These covers actually feature Airboy himself as if to reassure readers that yes, Airboy will in fact be a real presence in the book. I wasn’t worried, guys!

And maybe in the next issue comic!Hinkle will get to tell that story about his Dad…

Also, is Image Comics editor Eric Stephenson a mod? Or just comic!Stephenson?

And comic!Robinson, you’re the only one who thinks you are a hack, I promise.

Story: James Robinson Art: Greg Hinkle
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy!!!

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review