There are both good and bad things that accompany my work at my local comic book store. The good is that I get to be around comics all day, serving as a protector of sorts of my favorite art form. As for the bad, what makes the job suck is that I want to take everything home with me. While sorting through the new releases every week, I stumble upon titles that I didn’t know or didn’t think about reading, and I throw them into my pull. One of those shot-in-the-dark comics I tried this week was Matt Fraction’s Satellite Sam.
(WARNING: This galaxy is filled with SPOILERS.)
In this first issue, we are immediately thrust into the world of 1950s American television. Satellite Sam is a popular sci-fi weekly, starring Carlyle White in the role of the show’s namesake. Although he has been late before, he’s late enough on this day to make everyone in the control room nervous (if that’s what you want to call it). Dick, the show’s manager, sends his assistant, Libby, to Carlyle’s apartment to get him up and into the studio. But, when she gets there, she is horrified by what she finds.
Seeing that the show has stalled long enough (Dick had tried to stay in the commercial break as long as possible), the show’s writer, Guy Roth, comes up with a last minute plan — they’d use Carlyle’s son, Mikey, who works on the show’s production crew, to play Satellite Sam. And, in the last moment and with a small tweak to the script to explain the age difference, they pull it off. At the time, it seems like a great success. But, just as Mikey was enjoying his small moment of fame, he was slammed with some tragic news.
His father had been killed.
Mikey is now left to clean up the mess of his father’s apartment. It is strewn with women’s clothing, sex toys, and the like. While sitting in the room, Mikey, in what appears to be a rage, flips his father’s bed over, and discovers boxes upon boxes of photographs of scantily-clad women. He sits on the floor, rummaging through the boxes while wondering what his father was into.
Although I don’t follow much of Fraction’s work, it seems that I should. This book appeals to many things that I love in a story: nostalgia, sci-fi, sex, murder, and mystery. And, if those are things you’re interested in, you should try to pick up this book if you can (I’ve heard that this book is already sold out at the distributors).
I must admit that the art style and placement of talk bubbles threw me at first.
The art is very detailed and in black and white, which makes it command more attention, and sometimes distracts from the dialogue. But, that could be because I am more of a words man when it comes to comics. Seeing that I like to construct the story as if it were a movie in my mind, I use the panels more as cues to change images in my mind than anything else. If you’re like me, though, you’ll be able to push past that after a few pages, and find that the great detail in the drawing helps bring the comics to life much better.
Overall, I can’t wait until issue number two. I have so many questions: Who did it? Why? What was Carlyle into? Will Mikey become the next Satellite Sam? I would it is these questions, and my wanting to have them resolved that has made me an instant Matt Fraction fan. And, if you give this comic a chance, you may become a fan as well.