REVIEW: “The Secret History of D.B. Cooper #1”

"The Secret History of D.B. Cooper" (w/a) Brian Churilla Oni Press 32 pages, $3.99
“The Secret History of D.B. Cooper”
(w/a) Brian Churilla
Oni Press
32 pages, $3.99

D.B. Cooper has remained on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for over 40 years. The perpetrator of the only unsolved air piracy act in American history, he has never been caught.

One might expect a book about this character to be an Ocean’s Eleven-style heist story, which would be huge fun.

The Secret History of D.B. Cooper is not this book.

Brian Churilla’s tale opens with a standard news broadcast regarding the hijacking, but wastes no time in leaping headlong into the ultra-bizarre.

We catch up with Agent Cooper in the midst of exploring a surreal landscape composed of disembodied human eyes, while being guided by a one-eared talking teddy bear.

I’ll give you a moment to digest that.

Far from being standard heist fare, it appears that Churilla will be exploring the oft-ignored but fascinating “psychic warfare” aspect of the Cold War.  Both the United States and Soviet Union invested a significant amount of manpower and resources into developing means by which agents could affect change from outside of the physical realm, but with real-world effects.

The manner in which Cooper’s psychic activities are reflected is both gruesome and telling. This is not a gentle man, nor a simple one.

The art is disturbing, particularly until the point when the nature of Cooper’s environment becomes clear. It seems bloated and forbidding, as if someone had taken the concepts of HP Lovecraft and melted them like so much candle wax. The creatures he encounters seem ripped from the worst nightmare you had as a child, the one that you have struggled for years to put aside.

I have no idea if this sort of escapade will become the book’s stock in trade. What is clear is that Churilla’s D.B. Cooper is a character utterly without limits. Set against the rich background of the Cold War at its peak, it’s hard to argue for a more compelling indie book this week.

So, if you have the stomach and strength of mind for it, jump into D.B. Cooper’s world. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Josh Epstein

Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville.

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