That is the ONLY way I can describe my reaction to the first issue of Brian Churilla’s new book from Oni Press. The Secret History of D.B. Cooper promises to shed some light on one of the greatest mysteries in U.S. history in much the same way that the X-Files shed some light on some supernatural happenings. The Secret Life of D.B. Cooper is an over-the-top adventure that is about as surprising as can be!
For those of you unfamiliar with the legend of D.B. Cooper, it goes a little something like this. On November 24, 1971 an unidentified man hijacked a Boeing 727 between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. On the ground in Seattle, he demanded $200,000 in ransom and two parachutes. When his demands were met, he ordered the plane to fly at a low altitude back towards Portland with the cabin unpressurized. Somewhere over Washington state, D.B. Cooper jumped out of the airplane and parachuted in to history. Despite an extensive manhunt and an exhaustive (and ongoing) FBI investigation, D.B. Cooper has never been located or positively identified. The case remains the only unsolved air piracy in American aviation history.
So who was D.B. Cooper? For people living in the Pacific Northwest, he is our own folk hero; the man who got away. So little is known about him that there are those who question that he even really existed. But not Brian Churilla. Brian Churilla claims that he knows exactly who D.B. Cooper was.
“The most infamous airline hijacker of all time, D.B. Cooper remains on the FBI’s most-wanted list almost 40 years after the crime. For the first time, the secret history of the man and the hijacking will be revealed. During the height of the Cold War, a fringe group within the C.I.A. wages a crusade on the deadliest battlefield of all: the mind. Aided by powerful psychotropic compounds, Cooper assists in a campaign of psychic assassination against the Soviets. But as he mentally and physically deteriorates, the line between two worlds blurs, and he goes rogue on his governmental overlords. “
Yeah. It is that awesome!
Churrila’s storytelling is tight. He moves the story along rapidly, never lingering too long in one place. He keeps us guessing what is happening until the last moment, then springs the revelation on us like steel trap! The story is fun, exciting, and everything a reader could hope for. Most importantly, it works as a single issue. There is enough story here to feel like I got my money’s worth. At the same time, there is still so much left to discover that I have NO CLUE where the Churilla will take it next! The last time I felt like this was when I first discovered Fear Agent!
Churilla’s art took a couple of pages to get used to. His figures are exaggerated and skew towards caricatures. However, when Cooper is in the world of the subconscious, that exaggerated nature makes the art sing! It is a surreal world akin to the kind of landscapes that Mignola creates for Hellboy. There are bizarre creatures and the sense that the laws of nature may not apply in this land.
This is the kind of book that I live for! It makes me excited to read comics and shows that there are creators who are willing to take risks and make the kind of comics that knock you on your butt. Today is New Comic Day. go to your LCS and pick up a copy of the Secret History of D.B. Cooper. You won’t regret it!
P.S. There is also a 5 page preview DeFillipis and Weir’s new book, Bad Medicine. Score!