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Howard Chaykin’s AMERICAN FLAGG! is Coming To TV!

By Blair Marnell

Howard Chaykin’s AMERICAN FLAGG! is Coming To TV!

Over thirty years ago, Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! creator owned series helped change the landscape of the comic book industry with its stylish and subversive take on the future. Now, Chaykin’s classic comic is heading to television!

Deadline was the first to report the news that EuropaCorp TV Studios is developing American Flagg! as a TV series, but it’s still very early in the process and the project doesn’t have a network or a streaming service lined up yet. But it sounds like Chaykin’s vision of the future will remain intact. The thing to remember about American Flagg! is that it’s satire that takes place in 2031 and it follows Reuben Flagg, a naive and somewhat unlikely protagonist as he finds himself forced into a law enforcement role in Chicago, a city that resembles a futuristic shopping mall. That was a big part of the comic’s brutal take on consumerism. 

In many ways, it’s almost as if Chaykin had a window to the future, as his series predicted the rise of reality TV, militarized police, tribal politics, and the return of neo-Nazism. If anything, that hits a little bit too close to home, given current events. But that may be why American Flagg! is finally getting its shot in Hollywood. Given the subject matter, it might actually be the perfect series to explore those issues under the guise of a sci-fi setting. For example, the American government is in exile on Mars, and the nation is under control of “The Plex,” an all-powerful corporation. 

American Flagg! was first published in 1983, with Chaykin as the writer and artist for the series, and it proved to be widely influential with its multi-issue arcs and storylines, which have become the industry standard. Chaykin’s original series ran for 50 issues, although he eventually turned the character over to other writers and artists who just couldn’t match his unique voice. 

Chaykin actually has experience writing for television on the original The Flash series for CBS, as well as Mutant X, Viper, and Earth: Final Conflict. It would be a missed opportunity if he weren’t offered a chance to write for the series that he created. If we can’t get an American Flagg! film written by Chaykin, a TV series would definitely be the next best thing. It may even be the ideal medium for the series, since it can actually adapt the long-running storylines and display the depth of the characters and the world that they inhabit.

We have to admit that casting Reuben Flagg is going to be a challenge. It’s going to have to be someone who can pull off action and comedy with equal skill. But that’s a discussion for another day. Hopefully this show will be on cable or a streaming outlet, so that Chaykin’s creation doesn’t have to be sanitized for television. If anything, the modern TV landscape could mean that the show doesn’t have to hold back on its mature content. Now, that’s worth waiting three decades to see!