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Published on June 3rd, 2015 | by Noel Thorne

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Airboy #1 Review

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What comes to mind when you think of “Airboy” – anything? And that’s the problem James Robinson has when he’s approached by Image publisher Eric Stephenson to write a new series of the long-forgotten, now-public-domain Golden Age character. How the hell do you make a WW2 aviator hero relevant in this day and age? Then out comes the inspiration(drugs) and Robinson and artist Greg Hinkle take off in their own demented Fear and Loathing-esque journey through the pages of Airboy #1, aka the best comic Image have published this year!

Airboy comes out of nowhere. From the name alone, I was expecting a kind of Rocketeer-type adventure yarn and instead got James Robinson sat on the toilet complaining about his problems with DC! Right away it’s Robinson announcing visually he’s going to be naked to the world – on the page and in his script.

Did anyone expect Robinson to use Airboy as his very public conversation about the state of his career? That surprise, and the searing honesty with which Robinson talks about himself, is what makes this not just an unputdownable comic but possibly the best thing Robinson’s ever written because it feels very real. It’s certainly unlike anything out there at the moment.

Airboy01_Page1

Here’s a line of that honesty from Robinson after he’s had a few:

“Truthfully, I’m pissing my life away. I’m not happy and I don’t know why. My career at DC is going nowhere. I’m in my decline. I know it, people reading my books can tell, from the quality of my work slipping, I’m sure. So, I drink and do drugs and pretend it’s glamorous and wicked when it’s actually pathetic and sad.”

I’ll say right here that I don’t know anything about James Robinson or Greg Hinkle but I’ll say that what we see them get up to in Airboy #1 is probably mostly fiction with sprinkles of reality dusted on top. Because after Robinson and Hinkle meet up for a brainstorming session on the comic and come up with nothing, they decide to get drunk, do cocaine/ecstasy/heroin and double-team a large bar slut in her apartment (not a euphemism)!

This is my first exposure to Greg Hinkle in more ways than one – that’s one of the benefits of drawing yourself naked in a comic, you can give yourself a porn-star-sized todger (and if that isn’t fiction, good for you Mr Hinkle and your enormous winkle)! The look of the comic is very distinct with mostly single colours covering the pages – green hues, purples, browns, mixed in with the black and white. That and the constant Californian bars setting makes Airboy almost noir-ish!

This is a superb first issue – fantastic script and art, original concept, and that final page makes me really interested in where this series is headed. Only somebody who’s had the career in comics that James Robinson has had could’ve written Airboy. Anyone else and it would feel fake and insincere. Airboy #1 is a fresh, unpredictable and genuinely exciting new title from one of the comics greats – James Robinson is back!

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Publisher: Image

Writer: James Robinson

Artist: Greg Hinkle

Noel Thorne

Probably reading comics as you're reading this.

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