D.B. Cooper is a modern American legend. If you’ve never heard of him, you’ve at least heard of what he did. It’s been replicated in television shows and movies since 1971. That is when he hijacked an aircraft, demanded two things – $200,000 and a military grade parachute – and then jumped out of the plane into the Washington State wilderness. He had since then remained at large and the money has remained unspent. though the FBI claims to believe that he died in the escape attempt they continue to keep an open case file and update it regularly. They continue to follow up on leads to this day and in an interesting and disturbing turn of events have in fact come across evidence related to several murders in Washington. But no D.B. Cooper.
The Secret Life of D.B. Cooper is a fantastical reinterpretation of the D.B. Cooper legend.
In it, Cooper is not an unnamed man who highjacks a plane and then plummets to his death. He is instead a very troubled man wrought with personal guilt and his own demons whose search for his kidnapped daughter led him down a self destructive path of substance abuse and right into the hands of the CIA. They employ him to work for them as an assassin carrying out missions in a very non-conventional way. Instead of sending him out on missions they shoot him up with drugs that let him enter a strange fantasy world where some other part of him – some subconscious, dream personality – is traversing a chaotic, deadly world with a one-eared red teddy bear sidekick. In these dreams, the monsters he kills are really the individuals the CIA wants him to take down and as he fights them and cuts them apart – and even beheads them – the same final killing blows show on the real person in our real world.
Perfect murders committed without a trace from inside this fantasy world. It’s insane but D.B. Coopers uniquely shattered psyche makes it all possible. But it’s not just that his whole personality is split between these two worlds. They also blend together and various actors from the real world – like his daughter and father – find themselves as victims of the terrible monsters and creatures that D.B. kills in his fantasy, dream world.
It’s an interesting read and an interesting story. I think that on it’s own it could have made a good extended comic book series but the D.B. Cooper legend and what not may have neutered it a bit. I liked it, though, and I liked the ending. I was very similar to the UK version of Life on Mars though not exactly very true to the D.B. Cooper story. I mean, if you were looking for a factual explanation of the D.B. Cooper mystery than this certainly is not what you want.
But if you’re looking for cool concept and great artistry, look no further. You can get your Cold War kicks with the Secret History of D.B. Cooper. Which I secretly call the Secret Life of D.B. Cooper because my mom and my sisters make me watch way too much Secret Life of the American Teenager when I visit. Seriously, though. I like the interplay between the real world and Cooper’s other world. And I like the subtle changes in coloration and shading that are used to depict each.
It’s a very good looking comic book anyway you look at it. It’s even got a little bit of a Venture Brothers look to it.
I’ll be honest, The Secret History of D.B. Cooper probably wouldn’t catch my eye at the bookstore or comic store. Not when it’s put up against more well know and popular titles. But if you’re a fan of the one shots and more indie titles, this is definitely for you. Heck, if you’re just looking for a good read it’s for you, too. The interplay between the two worlds Cooper operates in is really well done. I just almost wish it had a longer story and perhaps a different association.
If you’re still interested, you can pick up the TPB on April 24th.