Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
American Flagg! is a comic book written by Howard Chaykin and published by First Comics in the 1980s. American Flagg was one of the first influential comic series that took mature subject matter into the mainstream and still remains one of the quintessential comics of the independent publishing boom of the 1980s.
It was first published in 1983 and ran through 50 issues, ending in 1988. A second series was immediately started up by Chaykin called Amerikan Flagg! but ended after 12 issues. Chaykin has been considering a new series, a reimaging of the first series, after adding new content to a republished collection by Dynamic Forces. The first two trade paperback volumes, covering issues 1-6 and 7-12 of the first series, will be published by Image Comics sometime in 2005, along with a hardcover collector's edition compiling the first 12 issues.
Chaykin frequently divided the series into three-issue story arcs and the first three volumes originally collected where the first three arcs. Chaykin mostly worked on the series by himself, but occasionally other artists and writers helped Chaykin or penned backup storylines. The most famous of these backups was done by British comic scribe Alan Moore, the plot of which a wealthy and insane pornographer (described as a "pornocrat", indicating some government influence as well) nicknamed "Daddy Fleshbucks" taking over Kansas with subliminal messages and subjecting the supporting cast to a series of increasing sexual indignities that are insane even by the standards of that decadent future world.
The story takes place in the year 2031, after a series of worldwide crises called the Year of the Domino (1996) has forced the U.S. government and the heads of major corporations to relocate to Hammarskjold Center, on Mars ("temporarily, of course"). In the wake of the American government leaving the planet and the Soviet Union collapsing from Islamic insurrections, there was a power shift throughout the world, with Brazilian Union of the Americas and the Pan-African League becoming the new superpowers on Earth.
However, the exiled American government, its corporate backers, and a group of technicians in the defected Soviet lunar colony of Gagaringrad form the Plex: a giant, interplanetary union of corporate and government concerns that conduct commerce and govern the United States from its captial on Mars. Many population centers are grouped around massive, fortified arcologies called Plexmalls and the law is enforced by the Plexus Rangers, the absentee Plex's Earthside militia.
The Plex has formed the Tricentennial Recovery Committee, to get America "back on track for '76", but the TRC is in reality a plan to sell the United States off to the new superpowers and to leech off the remaining inhabitants before gaining true self-sufficiency. As a result, the Plex has outlawed non-combat related education, organized sports such as basketball and personal aircraft, restricted media to only one outlet, the Plex itself (although it has multiple channels), and advocates and glorifies the use of political violence amongst independent policlubs by providing money and firearms for its hit TV show Firefight All Night LIVE!, and covertly sterilizes the population by using a combo contraceptive and antibiotic called Maņanacillin to reduce the population.
This all changes when former television star Reuben Flagg is drafted and transfered to Chicago's Plexmall to replace the local Ranger Hilton "Hammerhead" Krieger's fallen partner. He witnesses widespread graft and corruption throughout the Plexmall, but also a series of subliminal messages implanted in a television show that are causing outbreaks of gang violence. After he uses his emergency powers to interrupt the broadcast, he not only ends the violence, but also brings forth a series of events that causes the Plex to send in covert agents, the death of Hilton, and the unveiling of a secret pirate TV station owned and operated by Krieger that opens Flagg's eyes to the nature of the Plex.
- Reuben Flagg, born in 2000 at Hammarskjold Center, Mars, to Axel and Rebecca Flagg, was a stand-up comic and popular television star of the show Mark Thrust, Sexus Ranger. After he was made superfluous by CGI technology, he joined the Plexus Rangers and emigrated to Earth, being stationed in the Chicago Plexmall. Flagg is Jewish, and his parents' "undesirably bohemian" attitudes have given him a idealistic view of the United States that runs contrary to the Plex. He has a desire to set things right again, and through inheriting Q-USA, begins to set on that path.
- Raul the cat, an intelligent, talking orange tabby housecat. With the exception of his intelligence and his ability to speak (an ability whose origin is never explained), he's appears to be otherwise a normal house pet. However, he has a customized set of cybernetic gloves, designed by Mandy Krieger, that give him opposable thumbs.
- Hilton "Hammerhead" Krieger, was Flagg's superior at the Chicago Plexmall. A founder of the Genetic Warlords motorcycle gang, but after his 13th arrest, the Plex drafts him because of his criminal experience. Intending to take advantage of the fledgling organization, he meets his future wife Peggy and stayed with the Rangers. He doesn't trust anyone, not C.K., the mayor, not his wife Peg, not his daughter Mandy, and, while he was a Plexus Ranger, he especially did not trust the Plex. He ran a underground pirate television station called Q-USA that broadcast illegal sports, pornography, and pre-collapse movies and television shows. He is killed by a Plex secret agent, and gives Flagg the station.
- Amanda "Mandy" Krieger, daughter of Hilton, she is the air traffic controller for O'Hare Chicago Plexport. However, since the O'Hare Plexport only receives two flights a week, Mandy spends her time tinkering with electronics or getting into mischef. She later becomes a deputy to Flagg.
- Jules "Deathwish" Folquet, captain of the Skokie Skullcrushers basketball team. Despite his punk appearance, his hulking size and the extreme nature of the sport he plays, Jules is quite intelligent. He is referred to as the "king of the two finger lobotomy." He first teams with Flagg to resolve a hostage crisis, but later forms the Video Rangers auxillaries, and then becomes a Ranger deputy. He also later hosts a talk show with Raul called the "Him and It Show". In the second series, he renounces his violent ways, and, through a remarkable series of events, becomes Pope.
- Charles Keenan Blitz, a.k.a. The Honorable C.K. Blitz, a co-founder of the Genetic Warlords along with Hilton Krieger, also ended up getting drafted into the Plexus Rangers, but ended up leaving to become mayor of Chicago. Blitz has his hand in every deal, regardless of how illegal it may be; is extremely wealthy and corrupt; and has killed political opponents. As a side venture, he runs the Skokie Skullcrushers blackmarket basketball team. He is usually flanked by his two robot bodyguards, Bert and Ernie, named after "a private joke no one under 40 understands". He has had affairs with Mandy Krieger and with Peggy Krieger, while Hilton was fighting a brushfire war in Carracas, which lead to her being kicked out by Hilton and giving birth to...
- Medea Blitz, the offspring of C.K. and Peggy. Early in the series, Medea is a wild child and hangs out with Cyril Farid-Khan, gang leader of current Genetic Warlords. She has a secret affair with Hilton Krieger, but after his murder, is considered a suspect and is involved in a traffic accident, which causes her to miscarry Krieger's child. In order to clean up her act, C.K. Blitz has her join the Plexus Rangers to straighten her out. As the series progresses, Medea is shown to become more and more accepting of the Rangers and becomes a decent team player in Flagg's group.
- Sam Louis Obispo a.k.a. Ned Beaumont, a.k.a Tom Slick. A hustler Reuben meets in Havana while escorting the Skokie Skullcrushers, he later partners with Flagg for most of his time in South America. He has an affair with the wealthy daughter of the Brazilian ambassador, which causes all sorts of problems for Flagg and himself.
- William Windsor-Jones, but his best friends just call him Bill. Bill is the youngest member of the Witnesses, a gang of octogenarian rebels. He helps Flagg out from time to time, giving him intelligence and technical support. He later has becomes a newscaster for Q-USA.
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