A Look Back: Quinn and Vigil’s Faust

As an illustrator and a (sometimes)writer I look back on the things that have influenced me and revisit them. I was A freshman in high school when I firstheard of the indie comic Faust. Before the buzz worthy term “viral” had permeated the Internet savvy subconscious of the populace, Faust had it’s origins in rumors and whispers. it was a comic that fought to defy the superhero conventions of the popular graphic novel (or comic, as us old timers like to call them) and brought the illustrated horror medium to a very visceral, vivid, and somewhat disturbing precipice. It teetered on the edge of poetry and porn, and seemed to hold disdain for anyone that dared to categorize it. It’s prose was aggressive, gentle, and in the end… A rapist. You were never allowed to get to close to it’s narrative, although the Stockholm Syndrome kicked in after the first issue and although you still fought your attacker, you did so with the shame of a willing victim. If you didn’t turn away from Faust and it’s onslaught of gore, sex, magic and blasphemy, you were it’s lover, or more accurately, it’s pet. I was hooked, mesmerized, enchanted, and, like most of it’s fans, defiled…with the stinging kiss of a gauntlet of razors. Faust, much like it’s Goethian predecessor, was a fable of evil and those that turned deals in order to possess the power that often accompanied. It was a classical tragedy that translated surprisingly well to an update that took us to the criminal underbelly of New York and the teeming cockroaches that served as some of it’s more deplorable citizens. Faust’s New York never took us to the bright lights of Broadway or the boutique windows of SoHo. Writer David Quinn instead invited us to break the mirror the held the city’s reflection and squint through the jagged shards, crisscrossing our eyes with the blood of our folly. It was a mean, unforgiving city of stone and serrated metal. It was an assassin which held the brutal ilk of it’s kin it’s womb. Quinn and co-creator and illustrator Tim Vigil didn’t just paint a different new York for us, it aborted it from the womb of the assassin and allowed it to somehow scribble it’s ramblings in it’s own afterbirth on the city’s sidewalks and on the faces of it’s inhabitants. For those of you who haven’t plumbed the depths looking for Faust, it is an old story, like I have said. A story that revels in the deceit and lust of it’s character’s, Faust centers on John Jaspers, a troubled artist/hit man. a character that struggles with his sense of self, but in the glory of a mix of self deprication and murder finds himself reborn. Pitted against the city’s villainous “M”, Jaspers rebels against his former mentor, painting the city in red on his road to the truth and, ultimately, revenge. Although clothed in the garb of a hero, Jaspers is rarely that one dimensional, struggling with his sanity, his sense of abandonment and even the question of self deification. Jaspers becomes Faust. He is the traveller and all wayward souls are drawn to him, across their journey on the Styx. Jaspers in his rage inadvertently becomes the city’s champion, even in the midst of all of his indiscriminate rage. Quinn’s Faust cannot stop his rage long enough to become even the anti-hero or the victim… He is simply Wrath, unfiltered. On a far more layman’s analysis, Faust is a huge achievement. Quinn’s writing is at times so stream of consciousness that re-reading the panels is akin to retracing one’s steps through the chaos of a foggy hangover. A guided tour through the libido of a coked up egotist… And it endures and fascinates.Tim Vigil disappears into the spirits of Wrightson and Windsor-Smith and channels Frazetta for a surrealistic tour of the depths of depravity, and delivers. Rare is it that the b & w medium is so transcendent that every panel delivers on it’s hype… Well scour eBay, because it’s here. The real question is wether Quinn and Vigil’s psycho vigilante, dark magic, wanton sex epic still holds up to today ‘s shock weary readers… Well… The epic never really ended. You see, one of the most interesting aspects of Faust is that it never definitively saw it’s ending. With it’s birth originating in the early 90’s, and issue 13 seeing it’s publication over a full decade later, Faust is less than three issues away from it’s conclusion. Unfortunately, there has been no word on when we might be seeing the last installments. After re-reading the series and it’s later ancillaries, published by Avatar comics, I can say that I have a renewed enthusiasm and anxiety to see it happen. – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Ash Hamilton, Comics, Comics Reviews, Comics/Books
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Ash Hamilton is not only the owner of Horror-Fix.com, but also one of its major contributors. A long time horror movie enthusiast, Ash has lent his personality to radio and television and continues to support his favorite genre through his writing and art. He also loves beef jerky and puppies... and low-grade street-quality hallucinogens.

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