Chuck Dixon, co-creator of Bane for DC Comics, is returning to his run on Airboy in a new crowdfunded project from It’s Alive! Press.
Dixon will collaborate with artist Brent McKee (pencils and inks) and Jok (colors and letters) for a story that picks up with the grandson of the original Airboy from the Hillman Periodicals run of the 1940s. He says, “It’ll be a continuation of the series from the 80s. It’ll be, I think a five-issue… so it’ll basically be Airboy issue fifty-one through fifty-five, as if no time had passed, and we’ve got some awesome variant covers, and we’ve got a terrific artist working on pages now.”
Airboy was created by writers Charles Brio and Dick Wood and artist Al Camy. The character, aviator David Nelson, first appeared in Air Fighters Comics #2 (November 1942), which was renamed Airboy Comics in 1945. The title ran for eighty-nine issues through May 1953 and featured backup stories focused on other World War II aviators.
Dixon’s revival, published by Eclipse Comics, ran for fifty issues starting in 1986, and featured the son of the original Airboy. The title ran as a 16-page bi-weekly through issue 33, then changed over to a monthly title for the rest of the run. Dixon returned to the character for Airboy: Deadeye from Antarctic Press in 2012.
The new title appears to ignore later stories from Antarctic and Image Comics (written by James Robinson), and will feature David Nelson III, the grandson of the original and son of the character featured in Dixon’s run from Eclipse.
The crowdfunding campaign recently launched on Indiegogo, and it gained over fifty percent of the $10,000 goal within the first forty-eight hours. The campaign ends April 21st.
In an interview with the YouTube channel Sweetcast, Dixon talked about the current state of the comics industry and his motivation for delving into independent publishing and crowdfunded projects: “The page rates are generally higher. There’s a lot of support. We did Trump’s Space Force, and I was kind of stunned by what my end of it turned out to be. And Timothy Lim was apologizing that it wasn’t higher, and I’m like ‘No, this is more than fair compensation for the work I put into it’, so I’ve been happy with it. And also, the freedom to work on stuff that I’m interested in, because at this point, it’s gotta be something I’m interested in… As much as I love the DC and Marvel characters, and things like that, I’m not really interested in going back to work-for-hire. I want to either improve my own creations or help improve some of these small press creations, some of these guys just getting started.”
Dixon’s work on Airboy was one of the reasons he was approached by Denny O’Neill to collaborate on developing Tim Drake, DC’s third Robin. “He liked how I wrote a younger character.” Dixon says back then, working with O’Neill on Batman stories, politics never figured into the story-telling process. But those circumstances have since changed.
“I was basically outed as a conservative twenty years ago, and paid the price as the regimes changed and personal politics mattered. But it isn’t all politics. I was no longer part of a clique, because my clique was gone. They went on to other careers or retired, and there was a new clique in town and I wasn’t part of that. But politics played a part in it. So I was the first guy to take the slings and arrows. And again, it was all personal politics. I didn’t put politics in my work. They just didn’t like what was in my head.”
The Airboy campaign perks include variant covers by artists Dalibor Talajic, Don Perlin, Emma Kubert, Graham Nolan, Matt Kindt, and Paul Gulacy. Issue 51 will be thirty-two pages, and publisher Drew Ford promises, “Dixon has returned to this world and these characters with one hell of a story that is sure to blow your mind!”
Assuming the project reaches its goal (it’s on the “all or nothing” setting), the new book is set to ship around October 2019.