Time2: The Epiphany

Time2: The Epiphany

By Howard Chaykin, with Ken Bruzenak & Steve Oliff (First Comics)
ISBN: 0-915419-07-6

Do you like a challenge? Does superb art and design push your buttons? Can you fall in love with style even if the content is obscure, truncated or even possibly absent? Then you should track down Time2

Howard Chaykin has his own personal version of Wonderland. It’s usually night-time there, looks like New York circa 1955, is powered by magic and super-science and there’s Jazz music everywhere. There Gangster-Chic rubs expensively tailored shoulders with Corporate carpet-baggers. It’s always hot and so are all the characters who smoulder with Passion and Style. There’re hookers and bagmen and politicos and bible-thumpers. And then there are the Guys we’d like to be…

This is total-immersion comic-bookery. As Chaykin moved from producing his landmark American Flagg! series to explore other projects, he ended his run with a one-shot special that saw the jaded future-cop transported to another time and place just in time to celebrate a truly extraordinary Holiday. The concepts and characters of that special resurface in this unbelievably dense and intense thunderbolt of graphic bravado that is best inhaled rather than read. It is Chaykin’s ultimate personal expression of his interests to date. In an interview he called it “a magic realist-fantasy fiction of my life” although he might regret that now. It is utterly mesmerising, but it’s not an easy read.

In that up-tempo other place a serial killer is loose. He stalks the streets murdering the sex-robots known as Taxi-dancers. The human model for the pleasure-droids is that formidable Bitch Shalimar Hussy – who isn’t nearly grieving enough at the suicide of her latest husband Cosmo Jacobi, a nightclub owner with a secret stake in the super-profitable R.U.R. robotics company. Feisty reporter Pansy Matthias smells a scoop, but is startled to find missing gadabout Maxim Glory is back in town. When Cosmo was the hottest Sax-man alive, Maxim was his wing-man and her boyfriend, but now he claims he’s the executor of Jacobi’s estate with a Will no one knew existed. There’s going to be trouble…

In this super-charged world everybody and thing has an angle. Death isn’t permanent with Deja-Voodoo or Reincarnimation, and Good and Evil battle daily on the streets. Just ask the Demon Abshalimeth, currently occupying the fuselage of taxi-dancer #869, or even bog-monster homicide detective Chief Inspector Bon Ton MacHoot if you don’t believe me…

The pace is relentless with pictures and facts coming at you like bullets but beneath it all is the slick, sly skill of a cynical master story-teller at play, not work, and the result, if you’re prepared to go for it, is gratifyingly pleasing. Not the easiest of books to find; I live in hope of a collected edition (American Flagg! Special, this, and the sequel The Satisfaction of Black Mariah are less than 150 pages between them) and possibly one day, that fabled third volume. Still, if you are persistent and lucky you won’t regret seeking this out.

© 1986 First Comics, Inc. and Howard Chaykin Inc. All Rights Reserved.

One Reply to “Time2: The Epiphany”

  1. Ah, Time2… I remember discussing this with you way back in the Eternal Comics days. Truly superb graphic novels, with Chaykin firing on all cylinders — these are possibly his finest achievement in comics thus far.

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