American Flagg was one of the first indie books I ever read. It was 1983, and I had just become a teenager so, while I still enjoyed them, the “never changing” and somewhat sterile world of Marvel and DC weren’t capturing my attention the way they used to. So I took some risks with my money, buying Cerebus the Aardvark, Nexus, and … American Flagg. Creator Howard Chaykin’s artistic style is one of the most distinctive in comics–the only thing I’d seen that even approached its level of “being different” was Bill Sienkiewicz’s work on Moon Knight and New Mutants. At first, I found it off-putting, but soon I began to recognize how it fit with the unique story Chaykin was trying to tell. Immediately with issue #1, we were introduced to a world where people lived in shopping malls and advertisements were omnipresent. Where justice was dispensed slightly less violently than in Judge Dredd…But not by much. And the story was so complex–the first 12 issues had three story arcs going on simultaneously, offering none of the tight, completed narratives of the Big Two. I fell in love and hung in even after the party had lasted too long (by the time the series hit the #30s and #40s it was past its prime).
The book was so good, it was the first comic book nominated for Sci Fi’s prestigious Nebula Award.
Issue #1 hit the stands on June 20, 1983, as part of the launch of First Comics.