The Golden Age’s Sordid Side in SATELLITE SAM
Posted on March 4, 2014 by Jennifer de Guzman
Fraction and Chaykin explore sex and death in 1950s New York City
The Golden Age of television conveyed a mythologized, idealized vision of America to viewers: happy nuclear families, astounding adventures, manufactured innocence served up to a captivated audience. But was there darkness behind the glow of the small screen? In SATELLITE SAM, Matt Fraction (SEX CRIMINALS, Hawkeye) and Howard Chaykin (BLACK KISS, AMERICAN FLAGG) tell a story of what went on off the sets of 1950s television—rife with sex, death, and corruption. The series’ first collection, SATELLITE SAM VOLUME ONE, will be in stores in March.
In 1951, Carlyle Bishop, the star of the beloved serial “Satellite Sam,” turns up dead in a filthy flophouse. Carlyle’s son Michael has a hunch that his father’s death was anything but natural, but the only clue is a box full of photographs of women in various states of undress—and Mike can’t bring himself to stay sober long enough to make any sense of it.
For Fraction and Chaykin, SATELLITE SAM is a chance to tell a murder mystery while simultaneously divesting the 1950s of its mantle of moral purity.
“It's a detective story, a history of television, and a record of addiction, sex, and depravity during a time when the antiseptic shine off Ozzie and Harriet obscure what was really happening in the world,” said writer Fraction. “And these are just a few of the many joys that come from telling a story about television while it was being invented as a mass medium in New York City.”
The creative team researched television’s early days in preparation for the series, getting a feel for the era and for the people who lived real lives while inventing an idealized—and fictionalized—image of families and relationships.
“We’d been talking about SATELLITE SAM for a while, but what really got it going was a long Winter’s day Matt and I spent wandering New York, feeling the city’s ghosts, its lost and found architecture, ending up at the Paley Center, where we watched kinescopes of long dead men and women, acting out children’s fantasies, while living complex lives off-camera,” said Chaykin. “To say that I’m both having the time of my life collaborating on this project, and getting my ass kicked in the process, is to grossly understate the case.”
SATELLITE SAM VOLUME ONE by Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin
- ISBN 978-1-60706-852-5
- 144 pages, black and white
- Collects SATELLITE SAM #1-5
- In comic book stores March 3, bookstores March 18
- Available for pre-order now
Praise for SATELLITE SAM
"No one does sordid and illicit better than the combined talents of both of these creators. Chaykin brings just about everything to this comic that he's known for: carefully executed panel layouts, layered storytelling, a hunky lead character, and—right there on the opening pages—plenty of fishnet stockings and leather teddies. Fraction brings the spark of an engaging idea and peppers it with authentic dialogue amidst a cool setting, but it's Chaykin that ignites it and cooks the whole thing up with a flavor and feel that's unmistakably his."
—Comic Book Resources
"It's a testament to Fraction and Chaykin's talents that a book spanning such an intricate series of storylines can keep us consistently interested and involved; the sense of forward momentum that this story has built up is impressive. At the same time, the emotional dimension of this story can't be denied. Satellite Sam is about as much fun as you can have while feeling like you're seeing something you shouldn't, and one of the more involving, implicating comic-reading experiences to be had."