Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Classics - Airboy #1 and #5

In the summer of 1986, Eclipse Comics brought back an almost-forgotten hero from the Golden Age of Comics and presented his adventures in a bi-weekly comic.

I have to admit, I knew very little about Airboy. What little I knew was because of a chapter devoted to the hero in the excellent Steranko's History of Comics.

But Eclipse was smart - they turned the book over to an outstanding creative team, including co-writer Chuck Dixon, co-writer and artist (on issue #1) Tim Truman, and inker Tom Yates.

Together they crafted a hard-hitting saga that was dripping with manly adventure. They introduced the son of the now older Airboy, and turned the mantle, the costume, the supporting cast and the incredible plane known as Birdie over to the next generation.

Wisely, the action was kept at a fierce tempo as mysterious assassins try to put an end to the new Airboy before he gets started. Much mayhem ensues.

Then, just to balance all the macho activities, the creative team added a new wrinkle in issue #5 - sex.

Her name was the Valkyrie, and her popularity was locked in with this cover by the incredibly talented Dave Stevens.

I always loved Steranko's description of the character from the '40s (she started out as a Nazi pilot and, of course, an opponent of Airboy). He said she was wearing a costume that revealed vast amounts of enemy territory. Boy howdy!

The issue reveals that she had been preserved through the years, and she awakens to find Airboy fighting for his life.

The issue is jammed full of action scenes, including a brutal battle between The Heap (the original Swamp / Man-Thing) and the monster known as Misery.

The 13-page bi-weekly issues didn't offer a lot of elbow room, but the creative team managed to squeeze more action in each issue than many of today's biggest event books.

If you're looking for some entertaining, macho tales, you can't go wrong with this series. It'll put hair on your chest, boys.

Grade: A-



-> Ray said...

I still have a poster of that Valkyrie cover on my wall, after all these years.

Chuck said...

Sarge, you have good taste! I own the poster too, but sadly it's not on display - just in the archives.

Kyle said...

This was an awesome series, thanks for showcasing it Chuck... I had never heard of Airboy before, but I can still remember seeing the first issue on the rack at the old comic shop, was facinated by it and had to pick it up... and only 50 cents too! I really liked the short-lived back up stories staring Skywolf, and I also seem remember it had one of the more intresting letter columns...

Anonymous said...

This is the first title I remember reading that was written by Chuck
Dixon. I didn't recognize the name but figured he was a seasoned pro
whom I just discovered. I mean, his
work was so good, he couldn't be a
new talent, right?

Sam Kujava

Chuck said...

Kyle, I think you're right about the letters page - I'll have to go back and read a few.

Sam, this is early Dixon we're talking about. I was lucky enough to interview Chuck and Tim Truman just before this comic came out, and they were pumped up about it. Now we see why!

Chuck said...

By the way, thanks to my amigo Chuck Dixon for mentioning this review on Facebook, and welcome to our first-time visitors! You're welcome here anytime!