Review: Satellite Sam, Vol. 1; by Matt (overworked and undersexed) Fraction & Howard (I remember the days of black and white so I don’t use colour) Chaykin

Satellite Sam, Volume 1Satellite Sam, Volume 1 by Matt Fraction
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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Ugh. Seriously, I see what Image did…they showed you the flashy stuff (Saga, Walking Dead, Sex Criminals) the big writers (Fraction, BKV, Aaron) and they got you to pay for that, while also unloading on you a ton of mediocre stuff and some downright turds. But…I’ll still buy the next Humble Bundle, just for the value alone of the great stuff. I’m willing to suffer the shit to get to the gooey nougat centre.

Between successful/popular Matt Fraction writing, and old dog/well-known/respected Howard Chaykin doing the art, you figure Satellite Sam would be a winner.

Well, you’d be wrong.

I’m also starting to think that Matt Fraction is becoming a little obsessed with sex in comics. Sex Criminals had humour and a balance of lightness and more serious stuff, a mixture that goes down easy. This is just the seedy sex of the depraved behind closed doors 1950s.

I never watched Mad Men, but this seems like Mad Men the comic, in a TV producing environment instead of an Ad Agency.

I also have to admit a secret…while I respect Howard Chaykin, and can tolerate his stuff, I don’t really LOVE his style of art. In black and white, it’s hard to tell some of his characters apart, and frankly, between that and the storyline, I didn’t make much effort to.

Satellite Sam is a TV show, and the star is found dead in a flophouse with tons of dildos and lingerie all over the floor. His son discovers that he’s also got boxes and boxes of photos he’s taken of all the floozies he’s fucked over the years…including the Female Co-Star of the show (who’s a born again Christian!). SCANDAL!

But this book goes for titilation over substance, and fails. Yes there’s a kind of lurid, dirty appeal to the forbidden sex acts that we all now take mostly for granted (I mean most people are going to see 50 Shades of Grey for Valentine’s Day FFS), but at the same time, it’s kind of tired.

I don’t really care much for the head of the studio trying to expand his network, or his appeals to the FCC to get a bigger audience share, or the technology of early TV. It is interesting material for a proper history/biography book for sure, but it falls nearly as flat as the Superhero Union Contract Negotiations of COWL.

The son, Michael is a raging alcoholic, yet somehow, the murder of his father seems to spur him on to discover who he really was (other than a raging horndog). There’s lots of sex here, but no connections, just the equivalent of sad handjobs from homeless hookers. (Lono’s fave!)

No one is happy, everyone has vices, and there’s always positioning for power. Yawn. It’s obvious Fraction finds the early age of TV fascinating, and in this digital edition, we also get a conversation between Fraction and Chaykin about the 50s and early TV, which is more interesting that the whole of the first Volume.

Sex, booze, broads, TV, lies, scandal, coverups, somehow this all just falls pretty flat for me as a reader. I’m not really emotionally connecting to any character, they all seem pretty useless. Then as a reason to continue the series, or prolong it at least, they throw in the angle that it wasn’t a random crime of passion, but a murder that killed Michael’s father….DAA DUHHH DAAHHH!

I’m sorry, I would have liked to enjoy this, but it just feels like it’s pandering to a teenage audience who hasn’t figured out how to use PornHub yet. This would have totally worked on me at 14, for sure, but now it just comes across as cheap and makes you feel like taking a shower.

I think that might even be the aim, so ya, we get it, the 50s were just as depraved as today, but people felt the shame of keeping things under wraps and to themselves. I guess it’s up to you to decide if that’s better than nude celebrity selfies going viral or not.

I’ll be missing the rest of this on purpose, and I think maybe if Matt Fraction is so interested, he a Howard should just have a nice long sit down chat, and put out a podcast or something…

Sadly disappointing, again, like a sad handjob…2 in 2 days…not a good start to the week…at this rate I’ll have to start reading FF.


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About Gavin

I'm a lover of pop-culture, from movies to music to books to TV shows to well...comics, and just about everything in between. I'm also a history buff, and spent 4 yrs getting a fancy BA in it. When I was at said University, I got my learn on AND spent all my money on CDs and VHS (yup, I'm THAT old.) However, I'm happy to discuss any topic really, as I love a good debate or just to be proven right. I'm Canadian, so I wear shorts and flip flops 9 months of the year, but no, I am NOT fanatical about hockey (I actually prefer baseball, thank my American father for that!). I love the outdoors, but don't get out enough... I've got a sick twisted sense of humour (hence why I'm friends with these Shallow folks) and believe that laughter is the best medicine...except penicillin...cause laughter won't cure the clap.

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