Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bosch Fawstin's THE INFIDEL #1

And now, for a hero of Babylonian proportions... We've discussed Bosch Fawstin's work here before, from his debut graphic novel Table For One, his Infidel preview ProPiganda: Drawing the Line Against Jihad, to his take on Jihad in DC Comic's The 99. Now, we finally get Pigman's proper debut in the long-awaited anti-Jihadist epic The Infidel. Fawstin describes the story:

"The Infidel is about twin brothers Killian Duke and Salaam Duka whose Muslim background comes to the forefront of their lives on 9/11. Killian responds to the atrocity by creating a counter-jihad superhero comic book called Pigman, as Salaam fully surrenders to Islam. Pigman's battle against his archenemy SuperJihad is echoed by the escalating conflict between the twins."

This, as you can probably guess, is a story that is guaranteed to polarize; Pigman doesn't hold his punches, and Fawstin doesn't hold his tongue. It calls out Islam for what it is, with no PC apologies. Heroes and villains are clearly defined with the romantic spirit of Ayn Rand, and there is none of the second-guessing that plagued mainstream characters like Captain America in the stories that came after 9/11. In other words, this makes Fawstin's heroes the villains in the Babylonian tongues of our culture's ethic of self-sacrifice. It's a concept not lost on Fawstin, evidenced in his recent interview with Capitalism Magazine:

CAPITALISM MAGAZINE: If you could describe Pigman in one or two words what would you call him?

BOSCH: Jihadists' Terrorist.

This "confusion of tongues" is on display in one review in particular; as Fawstin describes it: "A liberal review finds that he can't dismiss The Infidel." From the review:
"The Infidel is a comic by Bosch Fawstin that’s been in the works for a number of years. And this week, just as it is to feature on The Daily Show, it’s gone live.

I have mocked this comic book a number of times, on Lying In The Gutters at CBR and recently on Bleeding Cool, as some kind of poorly dashed off, one sided polemic, based on a series of cartoons, posters and teasers by Bosch which have been lazy, repetitive, boring and dull. And I thought the comic book would be just the same.
I was wrong.
I mean it is a polemic. It is bigoted. But its not quite the Jack Chick caricature his promotional work have suggested it is. And artistically, in terms of storytelling, it’s rather accomplished, certainly to what I was expecting."
Bigoted? Or just pointing out that the Jihadist emperor wears no clothes? Decide for yourself; Chapter one of The Infidel graphic novel is now available as a pdf download for $2.50; The comic is 25 pgs and in full color. Available now at fawstin.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Babylon (up)Rising and Falling...

Over a year ago or so, we witnessed heroic actions in the form of protests in Iran. In America, the right to protest is a given; in the Middle East, it's practically a deathwish. (Remember Neda, the "brave Iranian Lioness?) The protests there eventually died down, but the seeds were sown, and Neda has not died in vain; now, we are seeing the crops being harvested throughout the entire region, starting with Egypt, and currently focused on Libya.

Why is this happening? As one CNN article aptly stated, "the fear wall broke."

I've been waiting to comment on this, despite its importance, because, frankly...I'm overwhelmed; it's all happening so fast, and on such a vast scale, with so many repercussions that I don't know where to begin. The fact that this is happening in the historical setting of the Babylonian tale makes it that much grander. (I do find the Facebook connection interesting, considering that in the original tale, the downfall was brought about by differing tongues, whereas the social networking revolution is speeding up communication.) The fact that some of the dictator's own soldiers are defecting, refusing to fire upon the protesters, is also relevant to Babylonian theme of "one man's hero is another man's enemy."

I do have my concerns, of course, that without a solid philosophical basis, the freedom being fought for will give way to the "mob rule" which differentiates democracy from our original republic. (Contrast the American Revolution with the bloody French Revolution.) Who the hell knows what will replace these dictators? The Caliphate? The Muslim Brotherhood? Lady Gaga?

Still, I have to admire the heroic courage and willingness of the protesters to put their very lives on the line. Ultimately, I am heartened at the prospect that the centralized Babylonian dictatorships and their attempts to unite all under their heel are falling under the united banner of freedom. The fear wall has, indeed, broke.

May it never be rebuilt.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Superhero Babylon Presents: THE SILENT AGE

The Silent Age is a companion piece to A Show Of Hands: A Cautionary Tale of Heroes in Exile. Whereas A Show of Hands was a future-take on the cynicism towards heroism via the Marvel Universe, The Silent Age is a retro parody of the over-reliance and "god-like" worship of DC's "strange visitor from another planet." (A theme addressed in Elliot S. Maggin's "Must There Be A Superman?" story (also the impetus for Kingdom Come.)




The basis for this story has been in my head for at least ten years now, inspired by my initial encounter with Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which got me thinking: "what if Superman went on strike?" Though seemingly simple, illustrated in the spirit of Siegel and Shuster's "Golden Age" Superman, there are a few compressed ideas within The Silent Age that challenge the innocence of that era. But, in the spirit of the theme of Superhero Babylon (that heroism is spoken in many divisive tongues), rather than explain them all, I'm presenting it as a "Rorschach test," so to speak. What the reader takes away from it will depend on their own viewpoints of heroism, philosophy, religion, etc...



And now...The Silent Age. (Click on thumbnails for larger images. Also available in pdf form.)