|Satellite Sam #1 by Fraction and Chaykin|
New Today from Image
It's 1951, and Satellite Sam is a live television television show on the Le Monde network. Issue one, page one, panel one, and we are live on the air and Satellite Same is nowhere to be seen on Satellite Sam. Alliteratively named Director Dick Danning is holding things together, and this isn't the first time star Carlyle White late-showed his own show. Live teevee in the fifties was the wild west, if the wild west was strapped to a home-made rocket and everyone was watching. Everything from on the fly last-second rewrites to malfunctioning equipment was the norm. The action is intense and overlapping and we are in the very thick of it, the entire densely packed issue taking place over the course of the filming of one episode, about fifteen minutes or so. And there's a ton going on here. Subplots amongst the cast and crew weave in and around the behind the scenes scrambling endemic to all live television, the constant level of controlled panic slightly heightened by the missing star and, oh yeah, the investors who decided to show up in the middle of filming.
A crew-woman (an assistant director, I reckon) hurries out into the streets of Manhattan, down 8th and Astor and St. Marks to an apartment she has the key to and where she is pretty sure Carlyle may be. And he is there, after a fashion, and certainly can't make filming in time. Back to the studio and Carlyle's adult son, Mike, is straddling a catwalk, changing a blown light bulb while below someone stretches a live commercial, wringing whatever time he can for the star to show up ("And Kids, do you love your Cream of Wheat? I mean, do you REALLY love it?").
There's a last second casting change to cover asses and a revelation of dark secrets brought to light after a murder to bring it all home. It's clear Fraction researched the bejeezus out of this. The whole thing feels authentic, the chaos of the production, the details coloring every interaction. And Chaykin's black-and-white art is perfect - I reckon the only artists better suited for the material might be Rian Hughes or Darwyn Cooke, until you get to the revelation of a secret drawer's contents and then there's the splash page of a woman on the streets of New York and, yeah, this is perfect Chaykin through and through. The fashion of the 1950s was invented so Howard Chaykin could make a comic with people dressed in it someday.
Satellite Sam is engaging nigh-on riveting stuff, and I can't wait for more. Issue one drops today, 25+ pages of story for a paltry tree-fiddy. And while you're at the shop, check out Casanova by Fraction and Moon & Ba or the modern classic American Flagg by Chaykin. Your brain will thank you.