Take flight with Propellerman

Sometimes, you really want to like a comic. No matter how bad it is, you just hope that it is good.
Such is the case with “Propellerman,” a comic produced by “Heavy Metal” artist Mathias Schultheiss and released by Dark Horse Comics in 1993.
I came across it recently as I was filing some of my more recent purchases and said, “Boy, I ought to check this out again!”
So, I pulled the four issues I had of the series and sat down to enjoy them.
The premise of “Propellerman” is oh-so typical one for comic books: A mysterious individual is sealed inside a suit of impenetrable dolphin skin, straps a giant fan on to his back to fight a rocket-footed devil man.
Okay, it’s a little weird, but damn, he looks totally amazing. He’s a mix of the Rocketeer, Nausicca and Robocop. An inspired idea, if you ask me.
 And boy, I can just hear the sound of his propeller kicking on as he prepares to takes off.
And his glowing green eyes and crab-red armor? Awesome!
His sky sled? I’d like to have one!
 Hell, even his logo was slick.
But for all the originality in the look and feel of the character, this comic is just terrible. As written by Schultheiss, it’s dragged down in practically every panel by horrid expositionary dialogue that describes every thought pouring outof each character’s mind and explaining every on-panel action in detail.
It’s a comic that could have been great. It could have been something amazing if a more skilled writer or editor took control of the book.
It’s a shame really, because, man, does that character concept have something to it.
It’s a weird world that Schultheiss presents, I can see it transformed into a kick-butt adventure cartoon or even an oddball sci-fi flick that would instantly gain a huge cult appeal. I can just envision a lengthy and jawdropping chase scene as Propellerman jets through the futuristic city with Black Hawks on his tail. It’s an awe-insipiring visual that makes my imagination soar.
But alas, it will never happen. “Propellerman” has slipped deep into obscurity. In fact, it diddn’t even last long for me. Back when I was buying it in 1993, I stopped at issue No. 4, half way through the run — and back then, I bought everything that could remotely keep my interest. Yep, even back then, in the heyday of the comic-book speculation craze, I gave up on the awesomeness that could have been “Propellerman.”


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2 Comments on Take flight with Propellerman

  1. Dude, I will agree with you on this one. I have the first 7 books and I love them so much BECAUSE they are just awful. I love how stupid it is–everyone randomly talking to themselves in this ridiculous melodramatic prose. But I am still gonna follow it if I can. That is, if these are even AVAILABLE anywhere anymore…

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