Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Tim Vigil, and the issue is Faust: Love of the Damned #12, which was published by Rebel Studios and is cover dated October 2001. Enjoy! (Once again, I have to break out the Not Safe For Work Warning. Seriously, people, it’s as bad or worse as two days ago. Don’t get fired!)
I think I have to give us space again so that people who don’t read the first Not Safe For Work Warning can understand that what I’m showing below is, indeed, Not Safe For Work. Heed my words, people!
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Okay, are we ready to go?
I own a bunch of Vigil comics from the late 1990s, when he and David Quinn did some Faust spin-offs for Avatar, but while the art is usually good, the comics themselves are usually not, unfortunately, so I figured I’d skip to 2001, when Faust returned from a six-year hiatus. Vigil’s art had evolved quite nicely, so let’s take a look!
As you can see, Vigil still loves hatching, as he goes nuts with the hair on the demon’s arms and makes sure that every muscle is carefully drawn in. You might have a seizure from looking too closely at this art, but you can’t say you don’t get your money’s worth! Just the backgrounds are tremendous – Vigil draws in interesting flora, from the snow-covered trees in Panel 2 to the odd pods at M’s feet in Panel 4 (which we’ll see more clearly below). Once again, we see how good he is at body movement, even though it’s a bit extreme. In Panel 1, the demon throws Jaspers onto the ground, and Vigil draws his head pushed back almost impossibly when he hits the ground. When the demon grabs his head in Panel 2, it leads us to Panel 3, where it holds Jaspers high in the air, showing its strength. Vigil has, amazingly, become more detailed over the years, but he’s also learned some nice tricks, such as using hatching to create the veins (?) around M’s head and neck in Panel 4. Creating the lines by using the spaces around them makes them stand out quite nicely.
Here’s more fighting, with Vigil once again doing some nice work to move us around the page. One thing you might have noticed is that he appears to use duo-shade for some of the hatching, especially in the backgrounds of Panels 2 and 3. It adds some contrast to the pages, as the hatching is a bit lighter, allowing the figures to stand out but not sacrificing detail in the background. Vigil still doesn’t take the backgrounds off – he uses thicker blacks in Panel 2 on the pine trees in the back right, which helps create a snow-covered scene quite nicely. When he goes in for a close-up in Panel 4, we get even more detail. Jaspers’s gloves are tight and precisely lined, making the leather stand out well, while Vigil inks in every hair on his chin, showing that he’s had a rough time of it recently. Despite the mask, Vigil’s work on his eyes – one wider than the other – gives him a crazed but determined look. He’s been through hell, literally and figuratively, and he’s not backing down!
As Vigil got older, he became better at shading (which we’ll see tomorrow), whether he was using duo-shade or not. He got better at adding blacks in interesting places, and usually, that meant better work in the backgrounds. The room where Balfour finds himself is terrific, from the interesting painting on the wall, with the black chunks forming a figure, to the cross-hatching on the chair and up on the ceiling, which makes the room gloomier than it probably is and sets the stage for Balfour’s hallucination. In Panel 2, we get the two angels (well, at least one angel) fucking, which is just creepy in context, and then snakes start coming out of Balfour’s crotch. You know, like they do. Vigil uses blacks really well in the final two panels, as the snakes rip through his flesh and get covered with blood. As always, his work is very precise, but he’s smart enough to get rid of some holding lines, so the bottom snake in Panel 6 has indistinct but terrifying features. Balfour’s facial expressions are nicely done, too. He looks worried but not too scared in Panel 2, but by Panel 4, Vigil widens his eyes and turns down his mouth as the snake attack him. His pain in Panel 5 is palpable, and his desperation in Panel 6 is done well. Faust is often ridiculously melodramatic, but Vigil does a good job with Balfour’s terror on this page.
Yeah, that’s something. M “gives birth” to Jade DeCamp, and Vigil has way too much fun with it. I can’t even begin to write about everything that’s going on here, as we get those pods hanging from the trees, the crazy mass of vegetation around M, the leaves and branches and roots twisting everywhere, and the bulbous mass of M with Jade oozing out of him. Everything about this page is horrifying and disgusting and weirdly beautiful. I mean, look at the inks on Jade’s hair. That’s gorgeous work. And the way he draws Jade herself, like a broken puppet, is wonderfully disturbing. I just have to move on!
For all the sex and violence in Faust, Vigil is quite good at the quieter moments, too, as when Balfour comes upon Jade and Claire (M’s wife), bonks him on the head. As usual, the inking is tremendous, as we get that beautiful sheen on the hair of all the characters, while the wild plants all around the scene are wonderfully twisted. Jade’s pathetic look in Panel 3 is excellent, as Vigil wrinkles her eyebrows, makes her eyelids heavy, and gives her a lost look as she mistakes Balfour for M. Panel 2 is tremendous, too, as Claire looks out at Balfour and Vigil draws a beautiful eye, with the delicate line work on the brow and lashes, surrounded by the tiny, intricately drawn leaves. Panel 4 is another nice one, as Vigil puts Claire in silhouette yet gives her a white border, making her approach more dire. Vigil does a nice job with the thick, inky blacks in Panel 3 and the thicker, rougher lines on Balfour in Panel 4. These little touches make the art work even better.
Faust still had three issues to run, and it took another 11 years for those issues to come out! Tomorrow, for the last day of Vigil, I will return to this series for the final issue, and yet more interesting artwork (which is also Not Safe For Work!!!!). In the meantime, refresh yourself with some less-Satanic artwork in the archives!
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