Comicscape: Supurbia/The Secret History of D.B. Cooper - Mania.com



Comicscape: Supurbia/The Secret History of D.B. Cooper

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Comicscape: Supurbia/The Secret History of D.B. Cooper

Housewives and Hijackers

By Joel Rickenbach     April 25, 2012
Source: Mania.com

“What happens when the capes come off?” “Meet the Real Housewives of earth’s mightiest heroes!” These are some of the sensational tag lines Supurbia has been saddled with since its launch a few months ago. I say forget all that. Why? Because Supurbia’s characters have more depth and are more interesting in two issues than any Real Housewives cast member can muster in any amount of seasons or cat fight-laden reunions. It’s pretty clear Grace Randolph’s intentions are not to provide us with bitchy tabloid hollowness, but with well thought out situations and personalities that will keep us hooked for the long haul. 

In the world of Supurbia the Meta legion is the super team of choice, and for safety and solidarity reasons, they all live in the same, nondescript, suburban neighborhood. Of course, they have a giant underground base beneath their cookie cutter homes, but the charming exterior keeps things feeling normal and anonymous. All the members of the Meta Legion are analogues of comic book icons, but instead of just being stereotypes, Randolph gives them interesting quirks that make them actually matter, even if they aren’t the stars of the show. Capes and spandex are all well and good, but the focus of this book is actually on what would normally be the supporting cast- Spouses, Boy/Girl friends, children etc. 

Helen Hart is a reformed super villain, now married to Sovereign, the Supurbia equivalent of Superman. Helen is trying, but her attempts at being a supportive wife are falling on cold, distant ears. Ones that can hear a bus crash in Peru, and what the Pope mumbles in his sleep. Not to mention a very disturbing superiority complex that will undoubtedly create some major problems. Helen is also still a wanted criminal, and even if she’s under special protection from the government thanks to Sovereign, how long can this fantasy really last?

Alexis, described as a “Hitchcock Blonde”, comes home early to find her vigilante husband, Night Fox, dispensing some “justice” to his sidekick in their underground lair. Catching your spouse in the act is one thing, but when you’ve spent your life building up your husband’s persona as a global brand, that’s quite another.

Jeremy Metzger is an explorer and best selling author, he’s also married to Batu, a fierce warrior woman from an ancient culture. Batu insists on chasing and ritualistically slaughtering a hog in the morning for breakfast, and imparting all of this knowledge to her daughter is paramount, as she is “The first Bright Moon Daughter to be born of the flesh”. Her son? Well, he’s a male, and will not inherit any power from Batu’s tribe. He’s not worth a minute of her time, and might as well be invisible. How long can Jeremy laugh off the “Cultural differences” while his wife is completely alienating one of their children? It’s questions such as these that drive Supurbia.

There are more couples and dynamics to discover when you delve into the book, each with a nice twist to keep you coming back for the drama that is no doubt just around the corner. Russell Dauterman’s art has a nice winsome quality to it, with bright colors that help sell the fiction of the lives lead by some very delicate characters. Supurbia was originally slated as a four issue run, but the first issue proved so popular that BOOM! Studios has picked it up as an on-going series.  

Issues #1 & #2 are on shelves now, with Issue #3 coming in May.
 
 
The Secret History of D.B. Cooper
By Brian Churilla

On November 24th 1971 a man named Dan Cooper bought a one-way airline ticket to Seattle at the Portland International Airport. He boarded the Boeing 727 and took his seat in the rear of the plane. He lit a cigarette and ordered a bourbon and soda. After take off he slipped a note to a stewardess. She ignored it, thinking it was another guy trying to score a date. Cooper then leaned over to her and said “Miss, you’d better look at that note, I have a bomb”. Cooper opened his briefcase just enough to prove he wasn’t joking. Cooper demanded $200,000 in “Negotiable American currency”, four parachutes and a refueling truck standing by in Seattle. Cooper wasn’t angry, agitated or even desperate. By all accounts he was friendly, conversational and calm. When the plane landed in Seattle his demands were met. The jet was refueled, the money and parachutes delivered. All the passengers and most of the crew were allowed off the plane, and at 7:40pm the plane took off with just Cooper, the pilot, the co-pilot, a stewardess and an airline engineer. The plane was headed in the direction of Reno, Nevada and was being shadowed by two F-106 fighters and a Lockheed T-33. Midway through the flight Cooper locked the crew in the cockpit, strapped on a parachute, lowered the aft airstair and jumped into the stormy night sky.

This is not a made up plot to a comic book, this actually happened. What followed these events was one of the largest manhunts in US history, and a massive amount of theories, conspiracies, mystery and intrigue. D.B. Cooper has never been found, and the reasons for his daring airline hijacking remain shrouded to the world. New suspects emerge, small threads of evidence surface, but the FBI is no closer to solving the D.B. Cooper mystery 40 years later.

Writer/Artist Brian Churilla has taken this real life paradox as his jumping on point to tell a wonderfully bizarre story. The book opens with newscasts reacting to the hijacking, but then quickly jumps back to a week prior, and we find Cooper in a very strange place. I have to admit- at first I wasn’t feeling it. I have been intrigued by the D.B. Cooper mystery for a very long time, and the direction Churilla’s book immediately takes was not what I was hoping for. I wanted an intrigue-laden story as deep and mysterious as the actual events, not the twisted nightmare we are thrust into. If there’s ever an edict to comics it’s “Keep reading”, so I did, and I have to admit- by the end of the first issue I thought it was brilliant, and even more so after the second. That twisted, Lovecraftian world becomes fascinating, and serves a very interesting and clever purpose. What and who D.B Cooper is involved with a week before the hijacking makes for a set-up I just can’t wait to see unfold. I can hazard quite a few guesses as to how Churilla’s ideas and the real life event connect, but somehow I think there are some wonderful twists on the horizon. Churilla’s art is not what you would immediately associate with a story such as this, but as you get further into the story you quickly realize how much of a boon it is. Particularly his visual cues between the two realities, they are pretty damned fantastic. I’ve been hooked for years on the real life mystery, and now Brian Churilla has hooked me on his tale just as much, and that’s saying something.

The Secret History of D.B. Cooper is monthly from Oni Press. Issues #1 & #2 are on shelves now.

Anyone read anything interesting this week?

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 Joel Rickenbach is a curator of cult cinema at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and can be heard every week talking film, TV and other geekery on the You’ve got GEEK podcast. Follow him onTwitter and hilarity will no doubt ensue.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 8 of 8
1 
Wiseguy 4/25/2012 7:51:34 AM

This reminds me that I need to head to the comic shop and pick up my pull list, it's been 3 or 4 weeks. I just want to have more than 1 issue of the AvX series to read at a time and now that the vs accompanying series that should suffice.

 

That Supurbia sounds interesting but I already have my plate full. I hate to stray from the characters I have loved from childhood to experiment, I'm just set in my ways :(

joelr 4/25/2012 9:13:28 AM

@Wiseguy I don't blame you for having to go with what you know, we've all felt the financial pinch of the comic shelf. I'm looking forward to today's AvX VS as well, it has an old-school kind of feel to it.

I would say that sometimes you just have to let long standing books drop once they start giving you the runaround, and pick up something exciting and new.

shac2846 4/25/2012 9:30:46 AM

 Had heard a little about supurbia had no idea about DB Cooper being made into a comic. Both sound interesting, will definitely check out. Thanks Joel. Keep the comicscape coming.

RobertTrate 4/25/2012 11:01:46 AM

 Seriously Joel, you are hurting my wallet. Picked up America's Got Powers. Not a huge fan. Today's book looks to have a better hook. 

joelr 4/25/2012 12:28:49 PM

Bob... Interesting, I thought you would have dug AGP. Maybe a second issue...

@shac2846 Thanks for the kind words! Let us know what you think if you pick any of them up.

DaForce1 4/25/2012 10:22:52 PM

 I've been reading The Sixth Gun in TP only. I find it's much like The Walking Dead in pacing, where I can't read individual issues because it goes too slowly that way. Anyway, The Sixth Gun is probably one of my favorite reads right now behind the new TMNT and B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth series. It's easy for me since I dumped all of DC's titles except for Batman Beyond Unlimited (which is an awesome book because they don't have to deal any of the fucked up continuity problems of the main DC universe (which is going to change again very soon)). 

joelr 4/26/2012 9:07:07 AM

@DaForce1 I've really been meaning to catch up The Sixth Gun. You may have just motivated me.

millean 4/26/2012 3:13:15 PM

Great to have comicscape back.  I still miss all the TP jokes, though.  :)

1 

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