The Marquis: Inferno

Created by Guy Davis

Published by Dark Horse
263 pages of story, with another 77 pages of sketches and support material.

Buy it HERE.

Getting 'medieval' on your ass?

More like 'getting Baroque' if that can be a term. More Marie Antionette and less Celts, Vikings, Saxons if you get my drift.

Guy Davis' style is talked about in the preface by Mike Mignola:

"[The Marquis is] a complex, baroque, sort of Vienna, sort of eighteenth-century monstrosity of a world."

Exactly what I felt upon reading this story. It's a massive book, but well conceived, its size lends itself to be more of a 'reader's' style of story rather than 'viewer's' style. The story, characters, and their interaction is emphasized over the artwork or page layouts.

The Marquis: Inferno itself is a fairly simple premise, similar to Batman. In an eighteenth century Venisalle (made-up place) with its 'Ministry' in place of the Catholic Church rules over all. A Marquis named Vol de Gale has strange visions as he prays to his Saint de Massard wherein he sees everyone for their sins as monsters. Like Batman, de Gale wears a hooded shawl and dons a beaked mask, dressed in black he exacts punishment (or salvation if you will) for those whose demons ride within their bodies and live out lives of greed, licentiousness, and avarice.

Heavy stuff.

One by one he finds and fights with these people beset by their gross and vile counterparts -which only the Marquis can see-. He believes he's seeing the denizens of Hell who are attempting to escape in the form of possession (a bit of Constantine thrown in for good measure). He thinks he's the avenging angel but midway in the GN comes to the realization he's really working for Satan in his efforts to get back his members of the damned who have strayed. A careful use of energetic blacks and whites with liberal amounts of gray scale Benday Dots makes this thick volume a pleasurable read.

Not all blacks/whites.

Correction: there's a mid section that does have 2 or 3 colors thrown in. Hell, to be exact. And why not? in Guy Davis' logic the most damnable and desolate place gets the full color treatment. What little stark scrabbly existence we mortals pass through is shown in a colorless plainness.

I would recommend The Marquis, Inferno to anyone who wants a good solid read. Even non-comic book fans.

I would also recommend this book to any comic book artists out there as a strong example of simple, sober, methodical layout structure that lets the script and dialogue drive the visuals.

Next two Tuesdays:

I got four thick volumes, so this will extend to two reviews...

Get yer redneck High School football spirit on with Southern Bastards
by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour.

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