These days everybody seems to believe that Image Comics farts magical rainbows and comic book unicorns or whatever, but this time the publisher has gone too far. Too far, I say! The new Airboy reboot from James "Starman" Robinson is a tragic misappropriation of classic American popular culture and a clear argument for the indefinite extension of copyright protections.
To begin with, you don't need to know anything about the original Airboy to read this new comic. Instead of stuffing the book with detailed references to established Airboy mythology, Robinson has pandered to fans with self-deprecating meta-allusions to himself and the comic book industry in general. I don't understand what's so amusing about watching James Robinson and Eric Stephenson talk shop - why would a comic book fan ever want to read a comic book about comic books?
As a serious comic book fan, I only want my stories to be self-referential in a manner that allows me to show off my encyclopedic knowledge of esoteric characters and plot points. How will I prove that I'm better than everyone else if I can't drop sly references to Airboy and his magical airplane Birdie into my review? Am I supposed to go back to the old fashioned days of measuring my dick with a ruler?
Speaking of dicks, I thought that comics were beholden to a code of ethics precisely to protect the children from exposure to such inappropriate material. This book depicts the comic book creative team, Robinson (writer) and Greg Hinkle (art and lettering), behaving in a manner entirely unbecoming of the role models we expect comic book writers to be. These men engage in illicit behavior, repeatedly abusing drugs, women, and each other in the pursuit of something to build up their own egos while they flounder around for inspiration. My suspension of disbelief falters at the suggestion that comic book creators have enough disposable income to pay for such immoral activities. I shudder to imagine all of the untoward methods of funding these endeavors that were not explicitly depicted in the story. All of this debauchery culminates in full frontal male nudity for the sake of a gratuitous big dick joke which serves no artistic purpose other than "comedy."
Some people might say that the fact that there are visual jokes in the book at all prove how well the artist and the writer work together. Well, I say that Robinson and Hinkle are just doing their freaking jobs. I do not pay $3.50 per month to watch creators "do their best" or "struggle to meet deadlines." Just because you're all accustomed to reading shitty superhero books made from traced pornography doesn't mean that I'm supposed to be impressed by someone finally putting in a cursory level of effort. I want every comic book in my personal library to contain high-quality professional artwork in which the characters have detailed expressions and the layouts are unique but not obtrusive to the storytelling in manner which causes us to view the human condition in a new light. It's a shame that an artist like Hinkle who shows such promise, is stuck working on a dead end project which will certainly earn him no accolades for his comedic narrative illustrations.
In the end, I can't in good conscience recommend a book which sets such a dangerous precedent for our youth. Comic books are supposed to always be the same and never. Ever. Change. That is why Marvel is recreating sucessful events in Secret Wars. The very future of comic books as the exclusive purvey of basement-dwelling, trivia-swilling ubermensch is threatened every time Image releases an accessible, mature, engaging book that almost anyone can pick up and enjoy. Please, do not under any circumstances PRE-ORDER AIRBOY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. You will only encourage creators to step out and try new and unattempted concepts.