web stats

CSBG Archive

Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 34: Daredevil: Love and War

Every day this month, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be doing theme weeks, with each week devoted to a single artist. First up: Bill Sienkiewicz! Today’s page is from Daredevil: Love and War (Marvel Graphic Novel #24, in case you’re keeping track), which was published by Marvel and is cover dated 1986. Enjoy!

It's all art deco-y!

In the mid-1980s, Bill Sienkiewicz began to experiment more with painting, and today’s entry and tomorrow’s show that very nicely. Neither first page shows his distortion of figures that he began in New Mutants and would continue in his work, but that’s something for another day!

The first page of Love and War, the graphic novel by Sienkiewicz and Frank Miller, is not all that dynamic but it does show some interesting things. First of all, the cityscape shows Wilson Fisk’s tower dominating, to an almost absurd degree, the rest of the New York buildings. The sun reflecting off the windows is also interesting – it makes Fisk’s building glow but casts the lower section in shadows, symbolically showing that Fisk, a “respectable” businessman on the surface, built his “empire on human sin.” I’m not sure how deliberate this is, but Sienkiewicz puts two prongs at the top of the tower, making it a bit devilish. I’d love it if he thought that while he was painting this. And this page, while not as abstract as Sienkiewicz could get, is a nice example of “less is more” – the buildings are indistinct blocks, but Sienkiewicz gives them just enough detail and adds just enough color that we get the impression of a vast landscape of skyscrapers without needing all the details.

Miller’s writing is typically Miller-esque, but gives us a good idea of Wilson Fisk and leads nicely into the story, which is about Fisk’s attempts to rebuild the life of his wife, Vanessa, after amnesia and mental instability have destroyed her (yes, this story fits into Marvel continuity). Fisk states baldly that he’s a bad man, and that he always gets everything he wants. He can’t connect to his wife, however, and that is, naturally, the only thing he wants now. It’s a theme as old as the hills, but Miller runs with it, and this first page does a good job presenting the central problem of the book succinctly.

The lettering of the credits is neat, too. Novak (presumably) uses a font that is distinctly art-deco, and it really does lend both a sense of modernity to the page (perhaps counter-intuitively) while also remaining classic. Novak uses fairly standard font throughout the rest of the book, but the credits make the entire page look cool, and that’s not a bad way to introduce your creative team.

Sienkiewicz painted this page, obviously, something he would do quite a bit in subsequent years. We’ll see something else he would do quite a bit … next time! Meanwhile, here are the archives.

Remember – I’m taking suggestions for the third and fourth artists I will feature in February. This is the last day for it, because I need to get going on putting the posts together (which I’m planning to do this weekend), so get your suggestions in!

13 Comments

Bernard the Poet

February 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm

The thing that first struck me about the page was the credits. Al Migrom is given the more formal “Allen”, but Jim Shooter isn’t called “James.”

[…] Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 34: Daredevil: Love and War- comicbookresources.com Every day this month, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be doing theme weeks, with each week devoted to a single artist. First up: Bill Sienkiewicz! Today’s page is from Daredevil: Love and War (Marvel Graphic Novel #24, in case you’re keeping track), which was published by [… […]

Also IIRC this book was loaded with phallic symbols, which the males characters used as means of intimidation. Although Sienkewicz doesn’t draw an especially phallic Fisk Tower, I think it can be argued in light of the rest of the book that the ridiculous extent to which the tower dwarfs the surrounding buildings is meant to shorthand the fact that the Kingpin’s got the biggest dong on the block, or at least he wants everyone to think so.

I read that one line as “Fisk states badly that he’s a bald man,” which is also true.

Alan Davis & Sam Kieth fot #’s 3 & 4.

Wally: I actually thought about doing Davis before I opened up the voting. Still might. Kieth is a pretty good one, too. Thanks!

Hm…I’ll suggest any of the old (Moore-era) Swamp Thing crowd for week 3 and/or 4: Veitch, Bissette, Totleben.

Or do Sim and Gerhard. Or Perez.

I seem to remember you posting that you mostly have more recent stuff. Does that include Amanda Conner? With the kerfluffle over her doing art for Silk Spectre, I wouldn’t mind seeing a wider sampling of her work. I got Power Girl when everyone recommended it and I think she’s swell, but I’m not ready to go digging up her earlier stuff.

Great feature, by the way. Thanks for continuing it.

It’d be fun to see Frank Miller featured in one of these, just ’cause it seems an awful lot of his first pages are actually normal grids you’d normally find in the middle of a book. In Daredevil it wasn’t uncommon for him to save his big credits/splash page for three or four pages into the story. It’d be interesting to examine how effective his first multi-panel pages are at actually drawing readers in.

Actually most requests I would make are kind of obvious ones: Byrne, Simonson, Perez, maybe Starlin? I’m sure whomever is featured will be good reading.

You know I’m sure Frank Miller had major plans with clues he firstly laid out in the Daredevil graphic novel, Love and War, where one of Kingpin’s hired goons looked a lot like Garrett, the SHIELD/CIA cyborg.

I’m sure this can’t have been a coincidence!

Did Miller intend this as a clue to the Kingpin having a more direct relationship to the CIA, hence their later loaning of Nuke to him to deploy against Daredevil in Daredevil #230?

joschschr: Whoops, forgot to answer you. I have some older Amanda Conner, including The Pro and Two-Step, but I’d have to check to see what else I have by her. I know I don’t have a ton of her work, mainly because she always seems to be working on books I don’t care about. Frustrating.

Nathan: I’m not sure what plans Miller had with Garrett, or if the dude in this book is actually Garrett. Something that’s lost to history, I’m sure.

I think maybe that building is giving the ‘metal hand sign’?

[…] Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines: Daredevil: Love and War (Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources) […]

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives