Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Secret History of D.B. Cooper #1

by Brian Churilla

I really didn't know what to expect going in to this comic.  I tend not to read solicitation information for books I know I'm going to buy, and Oni Press had my interest with the title alone.  I was a bit skeptical though, because the only other comic I've read by Brian Churilla (The Anchor) wasn't really my thing, but I decided to keep an open mind and give this a few issues based on originality of concept alone.  And that's when I just thought it was going to be about one of the first successful skyjackers.

As it turns out, this book is about so much more than that.  DB Cooper is known for taking over an airplane in 1971, receiving $200 000 in cash (how quaint a number like that seems today) and a pair of parachutes, and then jumping out mid-flight and disappearing forever.  This comic takes place a week before that event, and we learn that Cooper is a Federal Agent who apparently is part of a remote assassination program.

We spend most of the issue in a strange landscape, where Cooper's only companion is a one-eared walking teddy bear.  He gets into a fight with a monster, and we see the consequences of that fight in the real world.  It's an interesting concept, and I'm curious to see how this job (he's been an agent for about three years we are told) leads to his moment in the spotlight.  I assume most of this series will take place after the highjacking, as there is only so much that can be fit into a week, even in comics.

Churilla is having a good time designing the monsters and strange landscapes of this book.  His art is a little reminiscent of Mike Mignola in his attention to shadow and use of dark colour, but is also more cartoonish and loose.  His Cooper is a pretty complicated and unlikeable guy, and it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. 

This is definitely worth taking a look at if you are in the market for an intelligent independent comic.

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