To label The Complete Adventures of Cholly and Flytrap as unconventional would be one way to describe Arthur Suydam’s bizarre and twisted masterpiece. First appearing in Marvel’s Epic Illustrated imprint in the 1980s, Cholly and Flytrap follows two unique individuals in a deadly wasteland, now gorgeously republished by Titan Comics.
The book collects the complete Cholly and Flytrap works, from various shorts to the more refined final arc. Over 250 pages long, Titan Comics has painstakingly filled the book with an essay, the complete works and a history of the Suydam’s career, touching upon his work on Marvel Zombies for which is he renowned for.
Based on some early concepts from Heavy Metal magazine, the first shorts feature the two main protagonists in some exceptionally offbeat stories. Featuring giant bats, grotesque obese creatures and big-bosomed women, it’s a mesh of ideas that may be difficult for a new reader to take in despite the outstanding experimental artwork.
Thankfully, the Center City arc is where Suydam’s storytelling abilities improved. Firing on all cylinders, Center City is rife with black humour, racism, corruption and brutal violence throughout. Cholly soon becomes a definitive anti-hero here, as he’s on the search for the missing Flytrap. It’s hilariously offbeat throughout, mixing in a selection of genres whilst showcasing Suydam’s wonderful art.
Center City is a fulfilling read with snappy dialogue featured throughout. There might be too much filler for some tastes, but the narrative is rich and diverse thanks to its unique characters. There’s a distinct difference between either ends of the book, as Suydam’s past work just didn’t have enough structure to it. He perfects his abilities in Center City though, providing a truly progressive piece of work.
Arguably one of the boldest comics of its time, Cholly and Flytrap is an engaging and fantastic read. It does need some momentum to get towards its finer moments, but readers will be rewarded by a truly wild ride. It’s a delightful blend of different genres, and it’s a distinctive piece of work.
It’s a shame that Cholly and Flytrap wasn’t reprinted sooner, but Titan Comics has done a brilliant job with this new edition, with the extra features making it more than worth the purchase alone. For fans of bizarre sci-fi and 2000 AD, do not miss out on The Complete Adventures of Cholly and Flytrap.
THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF CHOLLY AND FLYTRAP / WRITER & ARTIST: ARTHUR SUYDAM / PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 10TH