Marvel; May 1983
Cover by Al Milgrom
Title: “U.S.1, Comin’ at Ya!”
Synopsis: Ulysses Solomon “U.S.” Archer sets out with his CB radio skull replacement and souped-up 18-wheeler to hunt down the maniacal Highwayman.
Writer: Al Milgrom
Artist: Herb Trimpe
Review: Bias alert: This reviewer had long assumed this comic would earn an F grade. Surprisingly, it’s not that bad. Back in 1983, you couldn’t have paid Little Me to buy U.S. 1. But, in retrospect, it’s clear this series was aimed at a slightly younger demographic. This toy tie-in feels like a Saturday morning cartoon, and is more interested in pimping product than being an entertaining comic book. To that end, Al Milgrom’s story is serviceable, and Herb Trimpe’s crude art fits the mission. U.S. 1 is pretty awful, but also perfectly adequate at being what it set out to be.
Second opinion: “There’s nothing much about the story to distinguish or recommend it.” – Kevin McConnell, Amazing Heroes #22 (April 1983). “Universally derided on publication, it now stands as the last time for about 15 years anyone at Marvel apart from Peter David had fun.” – Frank Plowright, The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide second edition (2003)
Cool factor: Yeah, let’s not get carried away now.
Not-so-cool factor: Where to start... Ed “Poppa Wheelie” Wheeler? “Wide Load” Annie? An 18-wheeler that will never be as cool as K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider? So. Much. Uncoolness.
Notable: According to the indica, U.S. 1 is a registered trademark of Tyco Toys.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 75¢ Canadian variant of this issue.
Character quotable: “The truth of the matter is that sometimes to be a hero all you have to do is drive a truck.” – Ed “Poppa Wheelie” Wheeler, truck stop sage
A word from the co-creator/writer: “Jim (Shooter) and I... began discussing the idea of a truck driving hero. We talked about the romance of driving a truck, the dedication of those self-sufficient loners who drive the big rigs. We got swept up in the notion, began to solidify the concept of a trucker with a mission, a goal, a... quest.” – Al Milgrom, talking about creating U.S. 1, in the “In the Driver’s Seat” introductory essay in this issue
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