If you took your copy of All-star Superman and threw it through the trash, and then dragged it to death behind your horse you might begin to approximate the guttural marshmallow razor blade sensibilities of Das Pastoras’ effort in the most recent Thor: God of Thunder comic effort on offer from Marvel Entertainment Idea House Publications…Heavy Industries.
Shit appropriately starts inside the mouth of a dragon. I say appropriate because there’s a whole visual theme to Das Pastoras’ work on this book that is tied to specifically the viscera of vomit. The worn wrinkled and soaked face of Thor with the fleks and sinewy spit-up scraped across his face. Small fleks of orange and red seen even in the cavernous blue overtones of the panel. Thor is in all ways visually placed right at the top of the throat, ready to be spit up into the rest of the comic.
Even here in a flashback panel there are sickly bile hued tones playing off of the yellow, orange, and reds. Memories like last night’s dinner pooling across the page, yep there’s that troll head I took.
This puke tone is married to some of the most metal imagery to grace a Marvel or DC comic in a good long while. This type of thing takes you back to the power of Simon Bisley on Slaine. Frank Frazetta covers. So on and so forth. And what I mean to say it is metal in imagery, is that it is the conveyance of primordial mythological ideas through imagery that at once feels bigger than the imagery it is contained in, while still having a heavy emotional connective component of an old story told around a campfire amongst the starving and cold. This image you have a dragon laying waste to troll that are being abolished in the foreground with sword and axe. Under a kind of cloudy twilight backdrop.
There is a grime to all of this. Those fleks on the troll’s arm, farthest to the right of the panel are part of a generalized filth covering these drawings. Without even looking at the blunted chiselled chalky nature of the painting–there’s a surface layer to Das Pastoras’s work here that’s like a layer of pencil dust that refuses to be wiped clean and instead becomes part of the overall sensation of the work.
Even here in a panel where Thor is meeting up with Heimdall and ostensibly cleaned up, look at the grain on Thor’s cape. Look at Thor’s left shoe and those faint rectangular lined shapes that have been colored through. Or the detail on the axe and how the colors kind of aggressively strike down throgh the shaft behind those lines. Those rainbow colors Thor is standing on aren’t the bright vibrant yellow is yellow, green is green, type of colors you would normally see. The lines themselves have been colored to blur them into one another, and then some of the green has been smudged up into the other colors to deaden the red and create this really wonderful muted color effect which is as psychedelic as it is grounded.
This is another wonderful panel. Puke palette in full effect. The puke fire here is so intense it’s literally stripping away the integrity of Das Pastoras’s line. Look at Thor’s hair–the lines are prominent, but they are also broken and cut up. The lines on his left arm and back legs splinter away from one another, creating a lightness of line that creates a greater dynamism against the fire. The dragon himself, his mouth back to his horns into the rest of his body only forms its coherency in degrees away from the fire. Also the tree branches coiled linked entrails at the bottom of the panel. There is a powerful coherence here of narrative theme, and visual dynamism–this looks good, and the reason it looks good is tied into very specific choices made because of the nature of the story through which the art is being spit.
Humanoids is actually publishing, in May, Das Pastoras work on the Metabarons Genesis: Castaka. Which is timely because I just finished my Juan Gimenez(an excellent artist in his own right, whose imagination to visualize clearly things that I couldn’t even explain in words if I tried is singular) drawn Metabarons, and I pretty much always have time for Jodorowsky comics.