Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 348: Faith #5
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. As it’s now December, I will be examining the LAST pages of random comics, so watch out for SPOILERS! Today’s page is from Faith #5, which was published by DC/Vertigo and is cover dated March 2000. Enjoy!
It’s been a while since I’ve read Faith, Ted McKeever’s strange five-issue mini-series in which a person ends up in what might be Hell and wanders around, and I don’t remember too much about it, but that’s okay – we can certainly see how McKeever ends the entire comic, right? Of course we can!
The character on this page is Chicken Curry – when he speaks in Panel 1, he’s referring to himself in the third person, so I didn’t want you to be confused or anything. He’s looking out over the vast wasteland where he lives and asking for a sign, and he gets one. McKeever ends the comic on a slightly hopeful note, as Curry is reminded that somewhere in this world, someone is flying high above, and that makes his lot a bit better. Of course, it’s not completely hopeful, as we end with an acknowledgement from Curry that he’ll always come back just to catch a glimpse of the airplane, but nothing will really change. It’s a nice blend of hope and despair, which is present in a lot of McKeever’s comics.
Notice that we don’t see Curry’s face on this page, as if McKeever was trying to universalize his plight, making us ALL Chicken Curry, yearning for something else but unwilling to seize it. In Panel 1, he’s looking into the distance for a sign, and he gets it in Panel 2. McKeever gives us a long shot in Panel 3, shading Curry’s face as he does so, and then he reveals the ring in Panel 4, which reminds Curry that it’s not all bad. Notice that Curry remembers that he’s “obsessed with an angel in a biplane” before he picks up the ring, but the rings reminds him of what that means. The final three panels are very nicely done – the ring causes him to look up, where he sees the faraway shadow of the biplane, which is then reflected in his eye in Panel 6. In a story about faith, it’s clear that McKeever wanted this to look like a cross as well as a plane, and notice that in Panel 6, it looks most like a cross – in Panel 5, it’s a bit more indistinct, while in Panel 7, it’s clearly a plane. The plane in Panel 7 is flying away from Curry, once again emphasizing the despair rather than the hope, and the use of negative space in Panel 8 leaves us with that same conflicted feeling. Chris Chuckry’s coloring makes the scene seem bleaker than it would if McKeever had done this in black and white – McKeever’s black and white artwork tends to be very crisp, and while this pencil work is, the background of this page would be in stark white (probably), while Chuckry’s grays make Curry’s situation seem more despressing. The most interesting panel on the page is the aforementioned Panel 6, which McKeever inks a bit more scratchily than the others on the page, showing the furrows around Curry’s eye, while Chuckry colors his eye almost purple, it’s such a deep blue, with the solid black of the upper half of the eye encroaching on the whole. In a comic full of symbolism, this is a nice touch.
And if you don’t recognize John Workman’s lettering, I just don’t know what to do with you. I mean, come on!
Faith isn’t one of McKeever’s great works, but like almost everything he does, it’s certainly interesting. This page is just a small example of that!
Next: A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the next day I’d be looking at a spy thriller. A commenter wondered if it would be a certain comic, but it wasn’t. Now, through the vicissitudes of randomness, we get that very comic the commenter was thinking about. How about that? If you want to know what’s coming up tomorrow, all you have to do is work your way through the archives!