Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 35: Elektra: Assassin #8
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 Elektra: Assassin #8, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated March 1987. Enjoy!
So in the mid-1980s, Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz did some cool comics together, didn’t they? Yesterday we saw the first page of Daredevil: Love and War, and now we have the final issue of their eight-issue epic, Elektra: Assassin, which was letttered by Gaspar Saladino in addition to Miller and Sienkiewicz’s contributions. Read more about it here!
Most of the first pages of this mini-series are full-page panels like this one, but they’re painted, unlike this one, which shows the new president, Ken Wind. Miller tells us what’s going on: Ken Wind was possessed by a demon that wanted to destroy the world, Ken Wind was elected president in the biggest landslide in history, we’re four months later, and the narrator is listening to the “official story” of what happened on election night. If this is the first issue we’re picking up of this series (highly unlikely, I know, but still), we don’t know who the narrator is. We don’t think it’s Ken Wind, but the next page throws us for a loop. But that’s the next page! On this page, we get the basic information we need to move forward.
Sienkiewicz uses the same image of Ken Wind that he always uses – in the comments of the post I linked to above, someone mentioned it was his own face, which is interesting. It’s an altered photocopy (in those days before so much cool software, I don’t know how Sienkiewicz created the effect), and Sienkiewicz uses it well in the book – Wind’s expression rarely changes from the one we see here, and of course his hair is never out of place. He’s an ersatz human, almost, and a perfect politician. The fact that Sienkiewicz blows up the image, leaving everything else intact (including the lack of color, which also contrasts nicely with the rest of the comic, which is painted), makes this page far more eerie than we might expect. Wind doesn’t seem to have a body, either, which is another nice touch. The size of the image makes the shadows far more upsetting – Wind’s eyes don’t exist, almost, and his stapled-on smile looks far more menacing here than when the image is much smaller. Sienkiewicz contrasts the creepiness of the image with the confetti flowing over the face – Wind has just won the presidency, after all, so the celebration is going on around him, and the small flicks of color over the starkness of Wind’s face is a nice touch. It reminds us that, even if Wind is possessed by a demon, he’s still really popular. The reality of Ken Wind is not known to many people, and to the majority, he’s the savior of the country. Sienkiewicz gets that across fairly well without being too explicit.
What would Sienkiewicz do next? Why, work for DC, of course! Come back tomorrow for more Sienkiewiczian goodness! And be sure to check out the archives in case you missed any days!