Monday, April 12, 2010

the satisfaction of black mariah

In 1987, Howard Chaykin's Time2: The Satisfaction of Black Mariah, the follow-up to 1986's Time2: The Epiphany, was published by First. Although the two constitute some of the most beautiful work in the entire medium, they have yet to be republished and the series remains incomplete.

We've seen Chaykin's trademark triptych style in his earlier work on 1974's Ironwolf. 10 years later, Chaykin has extended the style from close analyses of action to broader dynamic effects. This sequence is one of several depicting the slow surprise and seduction of a doorman against the backdrop of pandemonium on the other side of the gate. Pandemonium caused by the implosion of the android jazz musician Cosmo "Cos" Jacobi's comeback concert.

Here, for example, the triptych gives us snapshots from a long (implied) tracking shot past Cos and through the club. The overall effect of these sequences is decidedly cinematic as the reader's gaze is guided through richly detailed environments and encounters. Of course, Chaykin extends these techniques to the overall layout, allowing not just three but many panels in sequence, arranged horizontally, vertically, diagonally as the needs demand.

Still, three panel sequences are strikingly prominent within the overall style.

Another beatnik is treated to a zoom effect here as he begins an android liaison. In fact, the extension of the triptych technique from violent action to "action" more generally is in keeping with the adult theme of many of Chaykin's works from the `80's.

In the climax, a giant murdering sex robot run amok ("Black Mariah") is "satisfied" by the spontaneous (voluntary?) sacrifice of all robots in the immediate vicinity.

Here we see the action triptych used as a backdrop for two floating panels depicting an on site reporter (whose convenient narration fills in some rather gaping holes in the this particular plot line). When the entire structure implodes, Chaykin concludes the volume with a final triptych depicting the humorous emergence of robot Cos from the remains of the collapsed orgy.

[Note, gutters have been changed from white to black throughout for aesthetic reasons.]

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