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Tag Archive: Satellite Sam


Review by C.J. Bunce

It helps to know upfront that Scottish comedian and personality Frankie Boyle always wanted to write comics.  His inspiration wasn’t from the decades of superhero comics, but Alan Moore, whose attitude, as Boyle sees it, was “that comics had sort of run their course.”  A fan of the writing of Ed Brubaker, David Lapham, and Jason Aaron, Boyle embarked on an ambitious project, asking “what sort of comics do you write after comics have been done already?”  The result was first published in serial format in Mark Millar’s short-lived CLiNT magazine, and with two new chapters to wrap up his story a complete, graphic novel-length story arrives next week from Titan Comics, called Frankie Boyle’s Rex Royd.

Ambitious is the key word to describe Rex Royd.  At its worst, Boyle has touched on Alan Moore’s outrageous depravity as seen in his Lost Girls.  At its best, Boyle has created a character that will appeal to fans of the disconnected and dispassionate Dr. Manhattan and the idiosyncratic and self-absorbed Ozymandias in Moore’s acclaimed Watchmen series.  With his protagonist, the Lex Luthor-esque supervillain scientist and CEO Rex Royd, Boyle has created a brash reflection of non-mainstream comics in the pre-Marvel Cinematic Universe era.  His “hero” is like Ian Fleming’s James Bond if you remove all the tropes that make us actually like Bond, all the fun things that keep us coming back for more and not just dismiss the character as a misogynistic, unexpurgated blunt instrument.  Boyle is fully in on this, as his lead female character Eve–as in the biblical partner of Adam–resembles Bond’s confidante Eve Moneypenny in the last two Bond movies.

And yet, Rex Roydthe book–is like a writing experiment.  What do we get if we take out all these good elements and swap in the dark outcomes?  So it sometimes reads like Neil Gaiman writing a 24-Hour Comic (I’ve read that, this is probably better), but then, as in the ninth and final chapter of the book, we’re surprised with a clever sort of play on Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, with some Harvey Pekar-inspired attempts at making some meaning of it all.  So there’s a lot going on.  If you find linearity and deep meaning in the book, well, the joke may be on you, as the author has said when the artists needed some of his script to be explained, his response was, “It’s supposed to be a joke.”

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Buck Rogers banner

There’s no rest for the weary, and one of borg.com‘s favorite writer/artists, Howard Chaykin, seems to be proving that, producing new stories and art everywhere you turn.  In 2013 he is working on two new comic book series that take a nostalgic look back to the middle of the 20th century.  Chaykin is serving as series artist on Satellite Sam, and artist and writer bringing Buck Rogers and the 25th Century back to comics.  Where the Buck Rogers monthly will be a straightforward classic take on the character, Satellite Sam will look at a TV serial character like Buck Rogers and the actor behind the role.

Satellite Sam Issue 1 cover

Chaykin and writer Matt Fraction (Hawkeye) take a dark look at the Golden Age of television with Image Comics’ Satellite Sam.  The innocence portrayed in 1950s television is contrasted with real life Hollywood when Carlyle Bishop, star of the TV series Satellite Sam is found dead in the not so glitzy part of town.  His son Michael finds a box of sleazy photos, which opens up a detective story into a life far different from that portrayed on TV.  It sounds a bit like it may reflect the type of short and complex lives of real-life actors George Reeves (The Adventures of Superman) and Bob Crane (Hogan’s Heroes) in a Sunset Boulevard setting.

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