Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Slick vs. Darkcease: An All-Consuming Love Triangle

Note: This material is for mature readers.
In the Fiascoverse, context is everything. For example, when the Phantom Jungle Girl is teamed with the Brilliant Brain and Cowboy Gorilla, she’s an absurd parody of a white African queen of the type ubiquitous in American popular culture in the 1950s; when she’s with the brooding Meddler, she becomes a reasonably plausible dramatic character that could conceivably work well as a costumed detective. By the same token, Ms. Megaton Man, when she plays off of Yarn Man, Megaton Man, and my other humorous characters, is comically ribald; but she could pass for a “serious” adventure character in one of the big-company universes if she wanted to.

The Slick is another character with a lighter and a darker side. When he is among other mismatched oddball characters in the Fiascoverse, his exaggerated angst is for the most part played for comic relief. But when he is a solo character, as in Bizarre Heroes #15, he becomes a relatively straight crime fighter of the Silver Age mold, with all the attendant hang-ups, whose demons take on a decidedly darker tinge.

In this unfinished sequence from the mid-1990s, not too long after the demise of the print Bizarre Heroes series, I continued to explore the character’s darker side, and as you can see, began to really let myself go. I drew these pages oversize, 14 ½" x 21", allowing my figure drawing to be freer and more sensual, which was especially important for this piece. Although I was pleased with the way the artwork was turning out, and felt I had achieved something important in the psychological insight it offered into the Slick’s attraction to Clarissa, and of her essentially sexually aggressive personality (truthful but in this case deceitfully appropriated by Darkcease), I had misgivings about taking the character into such frankly erotic terrain.  Not that I particularly feared “ruining” the mainstream marketing potential of the character, but I suppose I set this sequence aside among other reasons because the Slick’s tortured metro-sexuality was a place I was not ready to go into any further at the time.

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