AIRBOY # 1
Reviewed by Amy Brander 02-Jun-15
James Robinson’s “Lt. Mary Sue” leaves readers undecided whether the authorial voice is self-deprecatingly charming, or egotistically smarmy.
(From Wikipedia: Airboy is a fictional aviator hero of an American comic book series initially published by Hillman Periodicals during the World War II-era time period fans and historians call the Golden Age of comic books. He was created by writers Charles Biro and Dick Wood and artist Al Camy.)
My first impression? Airboy is a pretty ballsy move. Normally, I really appreciate ballsy, but in this case I wasn’t as impressed, so allow me to descend into a myriad of issues while attempting not to spoil the story’s happenings, whatsoever.
I appreciate the struggle of the modern writer, I’m not so certain I care all that much about the struggle of the modern male writer. You get this glimpse of the THEN devoted wife and the implication that she’s supporting her husband. Some of us know how that story goes all too well, supporting the dream chaser as they walk all over you… carelessly. But of course from this angle, the angle of the narrator, she’s cold hearted, cruel and unsupportive rather than fed-up, used and overlooked.
I feel like the narrator is trying to be self-deprecatingly charming, presenting all his gritty faults but it continually struck me as egotistical and smarmy. Maybe that was the intent? Whether Robinson is actually anything like the coke fuelled, alcoholic he’s translated himself into for this series, I don’t personally know. Perhaps he is the image of self control, celibacy and abstinence.
They say people love the asshole but the older I get, the less I care about the David Duchovny attitudes of the 90’s. The less I want to know alcoholics full of self-imposed tortures. These sort of characters worry me. We don’t need another High Fidelity. Nick Hornby’s book-turned-cult-movie High Fidelity followed a complete elitist asshole who worked in a record store. His stormy discontent, self loathing, laziness and shit attitude caused him to be unsuccessful in love and career. The movie created an entire generation of music elitists who treated women as horribly as the main character, simply because the viewers were too stupid to realize that John Cusack’s character was a fucking prick and not someone to aspire to. Incidentally, although the American movie with John Cusack is how most people remember the book, Nick Hornby is actually British, as is the author of this comic, James Robinson.
If you are unfamiliar with Robinson’s work, he’s been around for a couple decades, best known for his work Starman. You will most probably remember Robinson for his work with DC, including up to 2013 with his bits for the New 52 and Earth 2. Robinson expresses his deep lack of fulfillment working for DC in Airboy, leading this reboot to be less of an actual reboot and more of an exercise in some Grant Morrison-type-Reality-Meets-Fictional Character- from Story Book Universe. Image describes is as “Worlds and minds explode in a brand-new series!”
Whatever. Maybe it’s just supposed to be really funny, that um.. “hipster indie ironic” that Robinson pokes fun of. I suspect that he’s poking fun at himself although I don’t really consider this type of story to be new. Kind of reminds me of Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry but with the crashing of reality by a fictional character that wasn’t created by the author (and main character).
I think one of the things I found even more unbelievable about the issue was the quotes at the end. They were all from the new comic elite. Jeff Lemire, Brian K Vaughan, etc who all must be close personal friends. Unsurprisingly, none of them female. Ultimately, I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me. I know a lot of people are going to love this book and I know that a lot of them (if not all of them) are going to be men. Who was the book written for? I think it was written for James Robinson.
Airboy is available at a comic shop near you this Wednesday, June 3rd.Tags: Airboy, Greg Hinkle, Image Comics, James Robinson