Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dark questions/light story: Authority pinup

I know I have posted this picture before (February 14, 2008), but it is so spectacular that it bears another look, in a different context.

I didn't know what it was, until I posted it the first time and someone told me more or less what it is about. The person in the circle is a sort of shaman who has learned to remain at peace no matter what comes at him from the outside. So he is calmly facing the conflagration that is coming in a second or two. The piece was originally published a few years ago in an Authority anthology. It was republished in January of 2008 in a comic book called "Wildstorm Fine Arts Spotlight on THE AUTHORITY". (Thank you so very much, Jay, for sending those.)

This is Seth through and through, making a serious point in a way that you could easily mistake for an exercise in adolescent ghoulish humor. The image is riveting; it's hard to take your eyes off it. The guy on the trestle is clearly facing eternity, but the forces that are sending him there are: a wart-covered monster with two horns and a malevolent expression (Is it acne that makes him so mad?); an oversized robot taken from his Robots tessellation (which I posted on August 23, 2008); an old fashioned steam locomotive carrying among its cargo an angry flatcar-size slug; a newer, larger train that has a spiked helmet device on its engine; and a fat bomb falling straight down, all its rivets carefully in place. The dangers are cartoonish, but after all, the one in danger is a comic book person too, so they must be real to him.

Are all my fears cartoonish as well?
Do I occasionally feel as if everyone is against me, that all the forces of nature and technology are lined up ready to blow my world to bits all at once?
What would happen if all the monsters in my closet should come bursting out at me all at once? What would I do?
These are serious questions, worth asking. Seth asked them all the time in his work, but he did it in such a way that perhaps only the person who is truly seeking will notice that they are there.


j_ay said...

Since first seeing it this remains verrrrrrrry high on my list of Favourite Seth.
And I don’t even know anything about the character. But it’s a great stand-alone piece.
Really a flawless drawing.

Vicki said...

Yeah, me too Jay. High on the list of favorite Seth drawings.


Love this piece. It was one of the first drawings I ever saw of Seth's. I recently spoke with John Layman (editor of the Authority run when this was commissioned) over the phone and asked him about this pin-up. He said he was looking forward to possibly working with Seth on The Authority, but Seth was too busy to commit to an Authority project at the time. Seth work is just magic...and The Authority is one of my favorite comic's and Seth one of my favorite artists (he's a big influence on me) this picture is tops in my book. Love coming by and reading about the pages Mrs. Sheridan, very nice and perseptive. Keep up the great work.


Vicki said...

Thank you Nick. When I started doing this blog I did it because I just didn't want Seth's website to go stale. Then it became a sort of guilty pleasure, something that took away time that I really ought to be using for more "useful" projects. Now I realize that studying Seth's work in order to write this is VERY helpful to me in many ways. It helps me with my own artwork. It helps me to know Seth better and better (a little late, but honestly I don't believe it is ever too late). It helps me to sort through interior life issues in many ways. I don't think I can explain exactly why, but it helps me know myself better.
It's nice that you could talk with the editor of The Authority about this. I am glad that there was some follow-up. It's too bad it had to be printed in comic book size. It is much more striking when you see it full size.


There is a nice print of it in oversize format in the back of The Absolute Authority Hardcover edition volume 2. It collects a big Authority run and has pin-ups in the back. I'm 99% sure Seth's pin-up is in there. The book retails for $50.00. It's really nice seeing your interpretation of Seth's work...the helpfulness to readers and yourself really shows the wonder of Seth's art.

Here's a link to the book. It show cases a lot of Frank Quitely's work(he drew like 10 of the comics in it)...he and Seth shared a major influence in Moebius, it's really nice to compare the styles.

Happy New Year!