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Howard Chaykin


Brannon Costello

Publication Year: 2011

One of the most distinctive voices in mainstream comics since the 1970s, Howard Chaykin (b. 1950) has earned a reputation as a visionary formal innovator and a compelling storyteller whose comics offer both pulp-adventure thrills and thoughtful engagement with real-world politics and culture. His body of work is defined by the belief that comics can be a vehicle for sophisticated adult entertainment and for narratives that utilize the medium's unique properties to explore serious themes with intelligence and wit.Beginning with early interviews in fanzines and concluding with a new interview conducted in 2010 with the volume's editor, Howard Chaykin: Conversations collects widely ranging discussions from Chaykin's earliest days as an assistant for such legends as Gil Kane and Wallace Wood to his recent work on titles including Dominic Fortune, Challengers of the Unknown, and American Century. The book includes 35 line illustrations selected from Chaykin, as well. As a writer/artist for outlets such as DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Heavy Metal, he has participated in and influenced many of the major developments in mainstream comics over the past four decades. He was an early pioneer in the graphic novel format in the 1970s, and his groundbreaking sci-fi satire American Flagg! was an essential contribution to the maturation of the comic book as a vehicle for social commentary in the 1980s.>

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

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pp. vii-xiv

When Howard Chaykin first began drawing comics professionally in the early 1970s, his goal was to turn his childhood hobby into a way to make a living. The scope of his ambition was defined by the comic books he had grown up reading: diverting but uncomplicated action tales occasionally elevated by the work of artists such as Joe Kubert, Gil Kane, and Carmine Infantino. Yet ...


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pp. xv-xx

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Howie Chaykin Unmasked!

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pp. 3-13

Question: When did you first want to become a comic book artist? Howard Chaykin: At the age of four. And that’s about as interesting as I can get on that question. I decided at the age of four that I was going to draw comic books. It seemed like the only thing I was capable of doing. I’m not so sure about that anymore. I started at the age of four, drawing Tex Ritter...

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The Chaykin Tapes

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pp. 14-25

Howard Chaykin entered comics on the same artistic wave as Jim Starlin, Walt Simonson, Craig Russell, and Mike Ploog. His talent, however, has not been in any way overshadowed or subdued by these revered contemporaries. His career includes work done for everyone from Jim Warren to the Seaboard Periodicals group. Despite all this, Howard Chaykin maintains some semblance...

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The Howard Chaykin Interview

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pp. 26-38

CFF: Okay, what I’d like to talk about mainly is the way you approach your work as an artist. CHAYKIN: Okay. CFF: What first attracted you to comic art? CHAYKIN: I was aware of comics as something I really like a lot and wanted to do when I was about four or five. My cousin gave me thousands of comics...

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Howard Chaykin

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pp. 39-56

Dominic Fortune, Cody Starbuck, The Scorpion, Monark Starstalker, Ironwolf, Reuben Flagg. All recognizable characters that carry the hard-hitting art (and often writing) of Howard Chaykin. W it mixes with sex, violence, and soap opera to make American Flagg! one of the best comics around. Howard kindly talked to John Jackson and myself at the Brum Con last May...

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Howard Chaykin: Heading for Time[sup(2)]

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pp. 57-78

One of the most successful creator/artist/writers in comics, Howard Chaykin is only thirty-five. A Newark, New Jersey, native, he attended Columbia College in Chicago and the School of Visual Arts in New York. A professional comics artist and illustrator since 1971, Chaykin’s work has appeared in magazines from every major comics publisher. He has pioneered in the “graphic novel”...

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Howard Chaykin Puts It All Back Together Again

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pp. 79-108

At the age of thirty-seven, Howard Chaykin may be the oldest young turk in the comics business. A prolific, eclectic, and respected cartoonist since the early ’70s, Chaykin blindsided the entire industry in 1983 with the release of the first issue of his American Flagg! Inventive, fast-moving, erotic, bold, witty, profane, and above all funny, Flagg! instantly became...

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Howard Chaykin: Home on the Plexus Range

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pp. 109-115

Howard Chaykin is proudly waving his American Flagg! After creating the title for First Comics and working on it for more than two years, he says he tried to retire. But now, the writer/artist has returned to start again with Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! After years of absence, he admits it feels a little strange to be back. “It has been a while since I really looked at the book and thought about...

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pp. 116-120

Howard Chaykin’s twisted sense of humor crackles through the satirical farce of American Flagg!, which he has just exiled to a consumerized Soviet Union; Moscow gripped by an absurdist glittering neon-lit future. He grew up in New York during the Cold War, but now lives in the perpetual summer amid the jacuzzis and Valley Girls of Glendale, California. Howard Chaykin—Cowboy or Cossack? “I don’t mind, just so long as I can...

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Howard Chaykin

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pp. 121-129

Howard Chaykin sits in a Latin American restaurant on lower Broadway, leaning over the remains of a breakfast crowded with refried beans and plantains. Having finished eating, he’s trying to carry on a conversation, but competing with a salsa-blaring juke box. It was a losing contest until the owners—sufficiently bribed—consented...

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Writer/Artist: Howard Chaykin

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pp. 130-163

Having absented himself from comics for two years, Howard Chaykin returned. This event was chronicled in Comics Interview #3 where Mitch Cohn quizzed Howard about his then-upcoming series American Flagg! And now, sad to say, Howard is on the verge of leaving comics behind once more...

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Real World Bravado

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pp. 164-171

“Superheroes boil down to three myths—the Superman myth, the Captain America myth, and the Batman myth. Birth, re-creation, or revenge,” says Howard Chaykin. Now, the creator of American Flagg! and Black Kiss is trying to craft his own new superhero myth...

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An Interview with . . . Howard Chaykin

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pp. 172-180

Comic Culture caught Chaykin, awake since dawn, chomping on breakfast, full of nervous tension and angry at the world. He wanted to play two, but we only had enough in the budget for one interview . . . CC: Keith Giffen paid you the compliment of calling you the most cynical man in comics...

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Sting of the Scorpion

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pp. 181-187

One of the foremost designers in the history of comics, Howard Chaykin is also a helluva storyteller, having received numerous accolades for his fondly recalled American Flagg! series of the 1980s. CBA extensively interviewed the artist/writer in our eighth issue, so we just jump right into 1974, the year of his big break with The Scorpion. Howard is now producer of the TV show...

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Still Chaykin After All These Years: A Life in American Comics

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pp. 188-241

“A man in the middle.” That’s one way to look at veteran comic-book writer/ artist Howard V. Chaykin’s position in the field. On the one hand, he’s an accomplished mainstream chronicler of boffo superhero yarns and, on the other, the man is also a cutting-edge, smart storyteller, able to weave sophisticated tales that can appeal to the most adult and urbane tastes...

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My Lunch with Howard Chaykin

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pp. 242-249

At the 2004 Comic Arts Forum at the Savannah College of Art and Design in November, legendary comics artist and writer Howard Chaykin was a featured guest, participating in workshops and conducting portfolio reviews. Philip Schweier, a freelance writer and Chaykin enthusiast, interviewed him about everything from his early work in comics to his time in Hollywood to his...

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An Afternoon with Howard Chaykin

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pp. 250-288

Costello: I want to start by asking about class. In a lot of genre entertainment there’s often a kind of cheap populism, but not very much specific attention to the realities of social class. Your work is among the few instances of comics in mainstream genres that takes class seriously—beyond the romanticization of the common...


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pp. 289-301

E-ISBN-13: 9781604739763
E-ISBN-10: 1604739762
Print-ISBN-13: 9781604739756
Print-ISBN-10: 1604739754

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2011