American Flagg #1 cover at HA.
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Posted (edited)

I was really hot for this one at NYCC 2017, where it sold privately to the consignor (I would have bought it had he passed on it, but, I was otherwise not going to try and muscle in on his tentative deal) who I think bought it largely because Luc Besson's production company had just scooped up the TV rights for it. I guess that project has died on the vine, though, either because of Besson's sexual assault allegations, and/or, because maybe they realized that it wasn't going to translate well to filmed entertainment (I read the first 25 issues of the series and, let's be honest - it's a slog. If you don't believe me, try re-reading it now...)

A year and a half on, though, with my list of "must-haves" narrowing all the time, down to only the must-haves of the must-haves...I think this one now falls into the camp of a piece who's time has come and gone for me. It definitely pushes a nostalgic button, but, probably not a big enough of one to pay up for where it's likely to end up. 

Edited by delekkerste

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I was thinking it might appeal to you based on the 1983 date ;)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, delekkerste said:

I was really hot for this one at NYCC 2017, where it sold privately to the consignor (I would have bought it had he passed on it, but, I was otherwise not going to try and muscle in on his tentative deal) who I think bought it largely because Luc Besson's production company had just scooped up the TV rights for it. I guess that project has died on the vine, though, either because of Besson's sexual assault allegations, and/or, because maybe they realized that it wasn't going to translate well to filmed entertainment (I read the first 25 issues of the series and, let's be honest - it's a slog. If you don't believe me, try re-reading it now...)

A year and a half on, though, with my list of "must-haves" narrowing all the time, down to only the must-haves of the must-haves...I think this one now falls into the camp of a piece who's time has come and gone for me. It definitely pushes a nostalgic button, but, probably not a big enough of one to pay up for where it's likely to end up. 

EuropaCorp has like a $100 million loss (probably due in large part to the major flop that was Valerian). So, Flagg is probably a victim of that more than anything. They may sell it off to recoup their other losses. It’s too bad because I saw Howard Chaykin back in 2016 at a con and he was excited about this project. He couldn’t give details at that time (Deal probably wasn’t finalized yet), but he seemed positive on it. 

Edited by PhilipB2k17

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1 hour ago, delekkerste said:

(I read the first 25 issues of the series and, let's be honest - it's a slog. If you don't believe me, try re-reading it now...)

Absolutely.

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1 hour ago, delekkerste said:

I read the first 25 issues of the series and, let's be honest - it's a slog. If you don't believe me, try re-reading it now...

Curious, Gene, if you found the read a slog...why so hot for it in 2017?

For me, I had my shot in 2008, at SDCC. Very excited to hear that it was available, on the DL. But then seeing it in person was a bit underwhelming; it did not have the overlay at that time. So it was just the Reuben figure with the (very strategically placed) two circles/balls by his feet. Yes, I knew I could have just had the overlay done myself, but I also couldn't justify the price tag at the time. And to put that in context, flash forward to 2017, and my understanding is that the price hadn't moved that much in the intervening decade.

I have very fond memories of this book from its early-'80s heyday. No, not the most entertaining read. But it was still a must-read and Chaykin's creative peak. It wasn't meant to be a page-turner, but a platform for Chaykin's futurist ideas. Totally different from standard comics fare. People may have forgotten now, but back then, it was always mentioned along with SWAMP THING, and later DKR and WATCHMEN, as an example of how good mainstream comics could be. That AF has fallen by the wayside, does not bode well for its future prospects. I also don't believe that a TV show will make all that much difference, either way.

In the end, I'm like Gene: Whereas I might have really taken a run at this not that long ago, I just don't feel that same urge anymore. Maybe for the right price, but probably not for whatever this ends up. Congrats in advance to the winner.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Nexus said:

Curious, Gene, if you found the read a slog...why so hot for it in 2017?

For me, I had my shot in 2008, at SDCC. Very excited to hear that it was available, on the DL. But then seeing it in person was a bit underwhelming; it did not have the overlay at that time. So it was just the Reuben figure with the (very strategically placed) two circles/balls by his feet. Yes, I knew I could have just had the overlay done myself, but I also couldn't justify the price tag at the time. And to put that in context, flash forward to 2017, and my understanding is that the price hadn't moved that much in the intervening decade.

I have very fond memories of this book from its early-'80s heyday. No, not the most entertaining read. But it was still a must-read and Chaykin's creative peak. It wasn't meant to be a page-turner, but a platform for Chaykin's futurist ideas. Totally different from standard comics fare. People may have forgotten now, but back then, it was always mentioned along with SWAMP THING, and later DKR and WATCHMEN, as an example of how good mainstream comics could be. That AF has fallen by the wayside, does not bode well for its future prospects. I also don't believe that a TV show will make all that much difference, either way.

In the end, I'm like Gene: Whereas I might have really taken a run at this not that long ago, I just don't feel that same urge anymore. Maybe for the right price, but probably not for whatever this ends up. Congrats in advance to the winner.

I take great umbrage with your choice of the word 'always.'  ;)

Once in a great while, perhaps.   But the rank and file never saw this as anywhere near those other books, at least not in my neck of the woods 2c

I mean... I think this was more on a par with Stray Toasters or something.   An interesting book for some, and for some, a complete also ran.

Edited by Bronty

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Nexus said:

Curious, Gene, if you found the read a slog...why so hot for it in 2017?

1. Nostalgia. Even though I was never a huge fan of this series, back in 1983 and 1984, you couldn't escape this image if you were reading First Comics. 

2. An appreciation of its significance, as you described above, and what the book represents as one of the leading lights of the early-to-mid '80s indies (which are, as a group, very near and dear to my heart)

3. Being a fan of a lot of other Chaykin's work, but, recognizing that this represents what many would consider to be his pinnacle

At the end of the day, though, there is other indie art out there which I have more affection for, and which is also likely to be priced much lower than where this one is likely to end up. 

Edited by delekkerste

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34 minutes ago, Bronty said:

I take great umbrage with your choice of the word 'always.'  ;)

Once in a great while, perhaps.   But the rank and file never saw this as anywhere near those other books, at least not in my neck of the woods 2c

I mean... I think this was more on a par with Stray Toasters or something.   An interesting book for some, and for some, a complete also ran.

Back then, the acclaimed titles were more closely grouped together. It wasn't SWAMP THING above all others; AF, MAGE, NEXUS, and a few others were very much in the same conversation. Critical and commercial hits. Flip through any random COMICS JOURNAL from that time. It was only years later that DKR and WM, especially, really broke away from the pack, in terms of perception. Perhaps because they were the best, but staying continuously in print helped cement that status, too. Conversely, not staying in print consistently, has really hurt AF, MAGE, NEXUS, et al, in maintaining relevance. A shame, perhaps most especially for AF.

 

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One of my early phases in OA collecting, likely phase two for me, was narrowing my focus to Dr Strange, Grendel and Starman. Then I watched Grendel and Mage fade away from the discussion and become a shadow of what they once were. They just slowly but surely became less important in the minds of fans and faded away. Now it is happening to Starman as well! Well, I certainly picked the wrong horses in the race!

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I had heard about this changing hands back in '17 from the current consignor. Sight unseen I made an offer, which was rejected. I had kept an eye out for this cover for years; it's a nostalgic fave & Flagg was the hot indy title of '83-'84.The #1 is a noteworthy piece & would be a great addition to most of the 80s collections out there.

That said, I don't think I'll be the next caretaker for this one. For some reason I find difficult to articulate, the pics don't wow me. Maybe it's the overlay? I don't know, but I find it difficult to summon up the courage (& funds) it would take to bring this one home. I find that the more I think about the #1, the more I regret passing on the #2 when it was available on CAF for 5k, back in 2012. Maybe I'm just getting old, like Felix & Gene!

 

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9 minutes ago, DJRome said:

I find that the more I think about the #1, the more I regret passing on the #2 when it was available on CAF for 5k, back in 2012.

 

It was $7500. I actually met the owner at a local show a few years before that. He was a former collector who had been out of touch with the hobby/market for about 20 years. I liked the cover, but not enough to meet his price. Eventually, he consigned it to Clink.

To your point, though...#1 is #1, but there are other great covers from the run. It doesn't have to be #1 for me, either, I'd be happy with some of the other ones, too. But the marker (as Eric notes) and/or Craftint board used by Chaykin have put me off a bit, too. Again, for the right price, I can forgive just about anything. For top, top dollar, though, that sort of thing starts to matter more.

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54 minutes ago, Bird said:

One of my early phases in OA collecting, likely phase two for me, was narrowing my focus to Dr Strange, Grendel and Starman. Then I watched Grendel and Mage fade away from the discussion and become a shadow of what they once were. They just slowly but surely became less important in the minds of fans and faded away. Now it is happening to Starman as well! Well, I certainly picked the wrong horses in the race!

I think this is going to happen with Preacher too. 

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, Nexus said:

It was $7500. I actually met the owner at a local show a few years before that. He was a former collector who had been out of touch with the hobby/market for about 20 years. I liked the cover, but not enough to meet his price. Eventually, he consigned it to Clink.

To your point, though...#1 is #1, but there are other great covers from the run. It doesn't have to be #1 for me, either, I'd be happy with some of the other ones, too. But the marker (as Eric notes) and/or Craftint board used by Chaykin have put me off a bit, too. Again, for the right price, I can forgive just about anything. For top, top dollar, though, that sort of thing starts to matter more.

It’s also the first (First!) appearance of Ruben Flagg. And I do think a TV show is inevitable. Chaykin thinks it should be a dark comedy, rather than straight up as Sci Fi, though. 

I get what you and Gene are saying, but AF seems to be the cream of the OA crop for those great 80’s First books. I just picked up a very nice early Grimjack page by Truman for a ridiculously low price. I want a Chaykin Flagg page too, but those go for almost 10x as much.

And I agree that American Flagg was rated among the top comics at the time in terms of innovative and mature storytelling. I’d add Cerebus to that list, as well, because the early to mid 80’s were when that series was at its creative peak, IMHO. 

Edited by PhilipB2k17

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Nexus said:

Back then, the acclaimed titles were more closely grouped together. It wasn't SWAMP THING above all others; AF, MAGE, NEXUS, and a few others were very much in the same conversation. Critical and commercial hits. Flip through any random COMICS JOURNAL from that time. It was only years later that DKR and WM, especially, really broke away from the pack, in terms of perception. Perhaps because they were the best, but staying continuously in print helped cement that status, too. Conversely, not staying in print consistently, has really hurt AF, MAGE, NEXUS, et al, in maintaining relevance. A shame, perhaps most especially for AF.

 

I was very young but I worked in a comic store at the time. The way I remember seeing it back then- Mage, Nexus, etc were considered somewhat highbrow for a fairly niche market. But Watchmen and DKR were absolute monster hits, must haves, with all kinds of hype surrounding them. I'm talking about when these two mini series were coming out, not even completed. At least that's the impression I have from my experience locally.

Edited by Bill C

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7 minutes ago, Bill C said:

I was very young but I worked in a comic store at the time. The way I remember seeing it back then- Mage, Nexus, etc were considered somewhat highbrow for a fairly niche market. But Watchmen and DKR were absolute monster hits, must haves, with all kinds of hype surrounding them. I'm talking about when these two mini series were coming out, not even completed. At least that's the impression I have from my experience locally.

Yes, from a sales/hype/popularity standpoint, DKR and WM were major events. DKR #1 snuck up a bit on the audience, but it was a wall book before #2 even hit. WM, OTOH, was anticipated by nearly all upon announcement.

From a critical standpoint though, it was SWAMP THING, AF, MAGE, NEXUS, plus others like LOVE AND ROCKETS, which were considered the "best" current comics of that time. With DKR and WM later joining them.

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1 hour ago, Nexus said:

With DKR and WM later joining them.

Taking Swampy as the exception how much of "later" was Gary Groth's unwillingness to embrace any superheroish Big Two?

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7 hours ago, delekkerste said:

1. Nostalgia. Even though I was never a huge fan of this series, back in 1983 and 1984, you couldn't escape this image if you were reading First Comics. 

2. An appreciation of its significance, as you described above, and what the book represents as one of the leading lights of the early-to-mid '80s indies (which are, as a group, very near and dear to my heart)

3. Being a fan of a lot of other Chaykin's work, but, recognizing that this represents what many would consider to be his pinnacle

At the end of the day, though, there is other indie art out there which I have more affection for, and which is also likely to be priced much lower than where this one is likely to end up. 

Frankly, I will always consider it a breakthrough comic.

There was nothing like it beforehand--like a big flashing light yelling "look at me!" the way it mixed sex, violence, robots and talking cats (let's not forget the wierdness of Raul) and it really did pave the way for outrageous things to follow. 

I think the cover doesn't do some of the interiors justice. There were pages in the book that were amazing, particularly when color was added.

If I were going to toss my money on something in that range right now, I would probably take a shot. 

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6 hours ago, PhilipB2k17 said:

I think this is going to happen with Preacher too. 

The tribe has spoken.  Fire sale :flamed: this weekend to raise funds for Flagg #1 cover (or whatever this thread is about (shrug)

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