Satellite Sam by Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin is a 1950s whodunit by way of Cinemax. Soft porn was never this sleazy and dirty and well, compelling. Satellite Sam Vol. 1 combines the first five comics in this black and white series. It exposes, in writing and artwork, the underbelly of live television and what the men and women will do to keep the show going. The price often paid in the currency of flesh and blood.
The matinee idol star of a daily television serial “Satellite Sam” is found dead in a dirty room full of hidden secrets. The police rule it a heart attack but his son Michael thinks there is more to it. If only he can stay sober long enough to figure out just what happened in that room.
The lingering clue is the room full of photos. Still photos of various women. In various stages of undress. In various positions. And of course the room was also littered with sex toys. Of every shape and size. Just what was his father doing with all these women and why take all these photographs? As the star of Satellite Sam, he had ample opportunity and access to women, but this stank of something else. Something worse. Michael is determined to find out just what. The only way to do that is to find the women in his father’s photos.
Matt Fraction writes a serious whodunit. A noir peace that is reminiscent of Chinatown and a Raymond Chandler novel before the censors had a chance to cut it up. There is a lot of nudity and just off the page oral sex going on. Between men and women and men and men and women and women. At times, all this sex gets in the way of the story but Fraction reigns it back in to show that this is more than just a book with dirty pictures, but a real mystery as well.
The black and white artwork of Howard Chaykin is stark and defined. There is no blur here as he commits to every detail of every panel. There are clues here he seems to say, minute hints at what has gone on. Chaykin brings the sleazy world to television to the light and leaves just enough in the dark to keep you going.
Overall this is a daring and creative comic. Not one your mom would approve of but then again, she’s too busy watching 50 Shades of Grey to notice.
A real good read.