Year of the Artist, Day 275: Tim Vigil, Part 4 - <i>Faust: Love of the Damned</i> #15

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 #15, which was published by Rebel Studios and is cover dated December 2012. Enjoy! (For the last time with Vigil, I have to warn you that this is Not Safe For Work. See how I make sure things are copacetic for you?!?)

Vigil and David Quinn finally finished Faust a few years ago, meaning they got 15 issues out in about 25 years. But those of us with a weird love for the comic didn't mind the wait, because when you're dealing with Satanic superhero satire porn, you can't cut corners!!!! For the final few issues, Vigil did some different things, which we'll see below. Again: Watch out for the boss if you're checking this out at work! He or she might not appreciate the nudity!!!

One thing you'll notice about Vigil's art is the use of grayscales, which he didn't use very much in the past. When Faust began, his lines were very crisp due to the stark black and white, but by now, he's becoming a bit more subtle with the shading, so the pencils are a bit "softer," even though the details remain. Notice, too, that he's using some rougher blacks, which makes even those a bit more nuanced. The flaming creature that confronts Balfour is inked with black, but the looseness of the blacks make it look more like a skeleton that's slowly falling to pieces, which is a neat touch. The shadows on Balfour's clothing - see Panel 2, for instance, where his hand comes across his chest - are also a bit ragged, showing the folds in his clothes. Vigil would have used much starker blacks in earlier issues, but he's moved past that. Of course, his lines are still very strong, so we get Claire's painted-on pants in Panel 4, with the crisp lines making her ass even tighter, but there's more nuance here than in earlier years, which isn't surprising.

Even when he's using thicker lines and sticking to the somewhat over-rendered style (Claire, as usual, is almost etched in stone here, as she is throughout the comic), Vigil still does some nice things with the shading. The ground around the two women is inked a bit less harshly, so that it appears more crumbly as Claire falls and Jade kicks her off the edge. Vigil also does nice work on Jade's nipple - yes, I'm asking you to focus on her nipple in Panel 3, because that's just where we have arrived in this series. Earlier in the comic, Vigil used much harder lines to show nipples, but here he uses a short curved line to show the bottom of the areola and a small dot for the actual nipple, while he simply shades the rest of it. It makes the breast look more "real" than the ones we saw years before, and it's neat that Vigil has taken the time to try new things with the book.

Of course, we still get muscles piled on muscles, as Jaspers and M fight their final battle. Even so, the shading is well done, as the muscles look more three-dimensional because of the gradient in the blacks and grays, while M's shadowed face in Panel 4 still allows Vigil to show some of his expression, which remains grumpy. We'll see more of the smoke below, but in Panel 1, it's inked very nicely - I would call it Wrightson-esque, almost. Vigil might go a bit overboard with the line work, but he still knows what he's doing.

As we can see here, the clouds are inked wonderfully, as Vigil uses black copiously but not so much that it ruins the texture. He gets lighter as he reaches the edges of the clouds, as they're lit by the unholy light behind it, so we get the tinges of white and gray in the margins. He uses nice light on Jaspers, too - he's in shadow, so much of his body is dark gray, but he's leaning backward, so parts of his face are lit from behind. Vigil doesn't use hard lines to show the differences between the gray and white, as he just leaves pockets of white after doing the grays. It gives the book more subtleties than we saw before.

Vigil's use of grayscales makes M a bit more furry at the top of the page, as the grays and the lines work in harmony to turn him into a more standard Satanic monster than he even was before. The blacks and the hatching in the building as it burns, though, is the best part of this page. Vigil again varies the line weights so that the blacks gradually fade into thick lines and then thin lines, showing the burnt parts of the stone as well as the places where it's not as bad and where the light from the explosion is still falling. The inks are rough, naturally, but because of the way Vigil does it, there's a bit of delicacy among the destruction. He gets rid of some of the holding lines, too, which adds to the chaos as the building disintegrates. It's very nice work.

One more fucked-up, totally horrific Vigil page, all right? Jade is still seeing things, and Vigil really goes all out, turning the panel borders into icky flesh, while she tries to block out the melting faces and skulls in her vision. You can look at all the details at your leisure, but I wanted to point out the grayscales again, as Vigil eases up on the harder etched lines on Jade's face and instead simply adds shading, which makes her look a bit more like a person and makes the horrors she's seeing a bit worse. He does a wonderful job with her facial expressions as she tries to ignore what she sees, and Vigil designs the page really well, with her faces pointing us to the heart in the center square, which ties into the grand theme of the book. There's a lot to process on this page, but Vigil does a very nice job not only with the drawing, but with the way he constructs the entire tableau.

The funniest thing about Faust, perhaps, is that Vigil is a nice guy who can best be described as "avuncular" - he looks like he'd be perfectly happy sitting on a dock, fishing and drinking PBR. Yet this is what lurks in his head!!!!

Tomorrow I will start a new artist, and while I have figured out how I'm going to end this year, I'm not quite sure who's actually coming next. It will be someone, you can be sure of that! As always, you can find artists you might have missed in the archives!

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