James Robinson is the writer of this latest attempt to update the old Golden Age hero Airboy after the Eclipse Comics effort in the 1980’s, but it’s not quite as simple as you may think as this synopsis makes clear.
Worlds and minds explode in a brand-new series! When acclaimed comics author JAMES ROBINSON (Starman, Fantastic Four) is hired to write a reboot of the 1940s action hero Airboy, he’s reluctant to do yet another Golden Age reboot. Just what the hell has happened to his career-?! His marriage?! His life?! Hey, it’s nothing that a drink can’t fix. It’s after one such night of debauchery with artist GREG HINKLE that the project really comes into its own. Quite literally. Because Airboy himself appears to set the two depraved comic book creators on the straight and narrow. But is the task too much for our hero?
Robinson wrote Starman, one of the best superhero comics of the last 25 years but since then his work has been, well, patchy at best. Airboy though starts by dealing with this right away.
Right away I’m hooked as it’s rare in mainstream comics for writers (normally vain creatures that love their ego’s massaged) to expose themselves and acknowledge criticism so publically. Airboy is something a bit more than a writer trying to be overly meta or moaning that their houses in the UK and US are such a chore. It feels like Robinson letting loose a lot of repressed agony of where he’s been placed in the US comics market.
The above couple of panels tell a real truth. I know of comics writers over the years that have jealously guarded their ideas and locked out an artist purely to stay ‘on top and keep the power as after all, the artist isn’t going to get paid until they finish the script sent to them by the writer. So seeing this in print is quite amazing as it’s one of mainstream comics dirty little secrets.
So Robinson tells a story not about the creation of a comic, but about his place in the industry and how he sees it in often brutally honest dialogue that will raise a few eyebrows, especially at DC Comics, but also among fans who get skewered more than once, but the main target of Robinson’s venom is himself.
Airboy is remarkable. Even if the next three issues of this four issue series are terrible, this issue alone is going to give Robinson a needed career boost because of it’s honesty as I can’t remember seeing anyone produce a work about modern comics apart from Dan Clowes Pussey, and that was a while ago. I’d highly recommend Airboy not just for the writing but for Greg Hinkle’s superb art that captures every drug flecked detail of Robinson’s script.
In a week of some very good comics, Airboy is the best thing I’ve read, and that is saying something.