Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 305: Faust: Love of the Damned #10 (totally and completely not safe for work – I’m really not kidding here, people!)
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be showing pages that are either scary or are part of “scary” issues (as scary as a comic can be, of course), because it’s October! Today’s page is from Faust #10, which was published by Rebel Studios and is cover dated 1993. Enjoy! (And if you’re seeing this with the cut still intact, I want to warn you once again – this is really, really, REALLY not safe for work. Don’t say you weren’t warned!) (By way, this is SO not safe for work I’m not even showing it right after the cut in case some people can’t read all these warnings – I’ve put up some buffers before you get to the page in the form of puppy and kitten .gifs, stolen from here and here)
Okay, are you ready? I’ve done all I can!
It’s Halloween, so I figured I’d show a page from the most heinous comic book I own – the infamous Faust by David Quinn and Tim Vigil, which I love but can’t really defend. Even though I think Tim Vigil is a really good artist, look at M in this drawing – how many freakin’ muscles does he have, anyway? But let’s consider this page, shall we?
Okay, it’s unpleasant. M and Claire are naked, and there are some unpleasant things going on behind them. We’ve come into this issue in the middle of a scene – the “hero,” John Jaspers, has interrupted a fairly brutal orgy/mass killing, and he thinks he’ll be able to stop M, but M still has some surprises for him. Claire and M help us out – Claire identifies John as the hero (she uses it ironically, but in this comic, he’s really is the hero even though he does some despicable things) and calls him deluded, and M picks up this thread by disabusing John of his illusions – he believes one thing about his power and thinks he’s a good guy, but the way M says this, it’s obvious there’s a twist coming. John has been having problems with his memory in this series, and as he learns more about his past, he likes it less. This is far enough into the series that Quinn is beginning to unspool some of the threads, and John’s past is but one of them.
We can pick on Vigil’s anatomy all we want – M appears to have abdominal muscles on top of his abdominal muscles, and I don’t know how many squats you would have to do to get those thighs and calves, but let’s consider the composition of the page. The burning pyre on the left side of the panel creates a nice border (Vigil also obscures the fact – to a degree – that it’s a body burning, something we might miss on first glance), and Claire’s word balloons lead us to her, which leads us to M. Yes, his veins are ridiculous, but notice how Vigil creates a nice tight triangle with Claire and M that forces us to consider John in the foreground. We might not have any idea why he’s wearing a mask with horns on it (it’s his costume), but the very fact that he’s horned puts us in mind of demons, which is a big part of the book. His gaze becomes ours, taking in the rest of the page. Vigil really wants us to see M’s penis, so John’s head is pretty much on the same level as the penis, which makes it impossible to miss. I wonder if it’s supposed to be some kind of symbolism, as well – John is down, and M enjoys degrading people, so why not force him into fellatio? Vigil does a nice job with the background – the brutality isn’t too obvious at first glance, but gradually we see the blood on the walls and the body parts on the floor in the lower right and the strange bald person holding down the woman behind M’s left arm. It’s at that point, perhaps, that we start to wonder about M’s mask and exactly what it’s made out of. It’s probably best if you don’t think about it too much!
As reprehensible as Faust is, Quinn and Vigil know how to put together a comic. They’re not just hacks creating a comic full of utter and horrific violence and awful sex, and that might be why people react so strongly against Faust. It’s easy to dismiss crap, but Faust is really well-made Satanic porn, so it’s much harder to deal with it. This page shows some of the most obvious weaknesses – Vigil’s often-strange anatomy, Quinn’s bombastic prose – but it also shows how beautifully horrific this book can be. I certainly won’t defend Faust, but it’s weirdly compelling!
So that’s October and some of the scary comics I own. Tomorrow we’re back to random comics for the final month, and then, after that, one more theme month! I’ve already mentioned what the theme will be, so if you remember, congratulations … and maybe you’re spending too much time reading this blog! Go get some fresh air! Or, run up our page counts by checking out the archives!