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brilliant writing
art exceptional
historical bonus 2
score 10
american flyer 1 _ american flyer 2
American Flyer #1
American Flyer #2
American Flyer Funnies

1972-1973 / The Print Mint - Last Gasp Eco-Funnies
American Flyer is a kick ass pair of underground comic books, featuring three young creators at the top of their game. Except for a six-page contribution from Bill Go (who collaborated on a story script with Larry Sutherland), all 80 pages of American Flyer were produced by Larry Welz, Larry Sutherland and Larry Todd.

The first issue of the book is mostly Larry Welz, who provides a 19-page epic "The Holy Five," a three-chapter story about five human-like beings with supernatural powers. The Holy Five try to help people, but they get caught up in the machinations of the wicked secret world government, which tries to harness one of the Holy Five's psychic powers for their own evil purposes. Fortunately, the Holy Five are aided in their struggle by a group of militant hippies who want to take the government down by force.

Welz also contributes a science-fiction fantasy adventure with the 14-page "Wyatt Winghead in Outer Space," which features a character Welz memorably introduced in Captain Guts #3. This story has Winghead hurtling through space before being captured by a space ship with cops, but he easily overpowers the cops with his extraordinary brain power and escapes with a beautiful woman, who was also being held captive. Winghead helps her pursue freedom for her tribe of people, but the story ends as if it were a first chapter...and never resumes, though Winghead appears in another tale in American Flyer #2.

The first issue also features Larry Sutherland (with Bill Go, who I've never heard of before or since), who provides “The Right-On Squad,” which spoofs the type of hard-core hippies who don't take shit from "the man" or anyone else.

The second issue of American Flyer adds a full story by Larry Todd (of Dr. Atomic fame), who only provided the back cover art for the first issue. But before we get to that, the book opens with another Wyatt Winghead adventure from Welz, in which Winghead uses his amazing brain power to dethrone a dictator and thwart a hostile invasion of his adopted society (Earth!). Sutherland also brings back the righteous “Right On Squad” for another battle, this time with neo-Nazis.

But it is Larry Todd's “Star Wench on Mars” that steals honors for best of the best in American Flyer #2. Introduced as a "skin flick in a comic book," Todd's story features the Star Wench (who looks a lot like Billy Kropotkin's babe girlfriend Holly from Dr. Atomic), who crash lands her space ship on Mars and sets out to locate the rumored civilization on the red planet. She finds the civilization and joins them for a feast, but is rudely swept off by a couple of mutant monsters to the laboratory of Dr. Emil (the Evil) Ozone.

When Dr. Ozone prepares the Star Wench for a nefarious operation, his ultra-horny assistant Jocko suddenly rebels against the mad doc. Jocko turns the table on Dr. Ozone and performs his own abominable operation, transferring the Wench's most lovely body parts to the doctor. Ozone is none too happy about this outcome and while he tussles with Jocko, the desexed Star Wench escapes the lab and joins forces with her old pals from the feast. Reunited, they conduct a coup on the laboratory and try to set everything right...but everything doesn't quite piece together the way it should!

Raunchy, funny, sexy, and beautifully drawn; “Star Wench on Mars” is eleven pages of underground nirvana. It consummates a terrific two-issue series that deserved many more. Unfortunately, the Print Mint, which published all three of Welz's Captain Guts series, only published the first issue of American Flyer. A year later, the second issue went to Ron Turner at Last Gasp, which printed 20,000 copies that didn't sell out.

Regardless of why Ron Turner and/or the three Larrys didn't sustain the series, they all continued with successful careers (Welz's and Turner's success would never flag). So we are left with just these two gems from the golden age of the undergrounds. Fortunately for the uninitiated, both books are easily acquired for a reasonable fee on the internet.