4 min read

The Face Of God

Sleep deprivation does its awful work.
A detail from NIGHTCRAWLERS #2, out this week.
Volstagg? Bamf? What goes on?

Another Tuesday, another set of deadlines and more personal responsibilites crushing me mercilessly, like a worm under a shoe. Like a nightcrawler, if you will! Say, that reminds me...


NIGHTCRAWLERS #2, that's what!

The cover of Nightcrawlers #2, by Leinil Yu.
Stop! Hammer time.

Once again, this isn't by me, though I am tangentially connected - it's written by current Wizard of Wagner Si Spurrier with art by the amazing Andrea Di Vito, who's taking Sins Of Sinister into its next time period - 100 years from now. What's changed in ninety years? The Legion of the Night is here to tell you, in sometimes gruesome detail, as the Sinister Future gets ten times as weird, and one particular Sinister is poised to take full advantage of the chaos. Find it wherever fine comics are sold!

Aside from that - well, it's a quiet week. Quiet, but grim.


(Content warning - in this section, I touch on the current wave of anti-trans legislation in the US.)

Recently, Republicans in many states have been using whatever judicial and state power they've managed to grab hold of to ram through a series of cruel and unjust laws that effectively criminalize trans existence. I don't think there's any denying that that's the goal - the mask is off now, if it was ever on.

The Transgender Law Center is an organisation specializing in legal help for trans people. Yesterday, they announced the Trans Health Legal Fund - which, in their own words, "provides economic resources and support for people facing investigation, arrest, or prosecution for seeking gender-affirming healthcare." If that sounds like something you want to read more about or support, their website is here.


It's late, I'm exhausted, I have to get up early and work in the morning. Surely I can't manage a second panel of Marvel Comics #1.

The opening panel of the HUMAN TORCH, by Carl Burgod
And yet here we are.

Once again, a man of flame is bursting through a bank vault. But this time, the lines are simpler, the flame creature is less elf-like, there isn't a jock there to be horribly burned. Where Frank R Paul (for it was he) captured the uncanny menace of a flaming figure, Carl Burgos gets at something else. There's motion here, there's action, the speed lines are perfectly placed to make the figure dart forward. He's not just bursting out of a bank vault, he's burning through it, moving from one place to the next, and holding out a ball of flame not as a threat but more like Prometheus bringing fire to mortals. Take, eat. This is my body.

And, of course, the Torch has no face.

Immediately, I'm reminded of my Bible growing up, a Good News edition with tissue thin paper that fit in a satchel without trouble. We weren't a religious family - the Bible, as I remember, was required by school, which might shock you if you're used to church and state being separated. That's not been the case in Britain since Henry VIII at least, and look how well we're doing!

Anyway, the illustrations in the Good News Bible were by one Annie Vallotton, and they generally looked like this:

An illustration of the Last Supper by Annie Vallotton - the figures are sparse and faceless.
Tag yourself.

The idea, I assume, was to represent what couldn't be represented, to create a space in the figure of Christ for the reader to insert their own ideas of Him. Other illustrations have faces, but the closer you get to God, the less face there is. There's a particular illustration I haven't been able to find since of God himself, on his throne, rays of light coming out of him - I showed Annie Vallotton's work to Javier Rodriguez when I needed him to draw God, but I couldn't find that particular illo then, either. But I can call it to mind instantly - in my mind, burned into my brain at a young age, the face of God is no face at all. It cannot be captured by illustration or by the human eye, and how could it be anything but hubris to think otherwise? Who are the politicians and preachers who claim God speaks to them? God spoke to Moses through a burning bush; angels, we are reliably informed by those who know, are wheels of flame. The face of God is no face and a blazing fire.

The Human Torch has the face of God.

And he's here to create the universe - here, before anything else exists, has ever existed, before any story has been told. The Big Bang is just about to occur - the first words are about to be spoken. What fiat lux dares bring a Marvel Universe forth? Next week, true believers.


I don't know, I've got to sleep, dammit. But we made it through another week, so for now, this is still where to find me. Love and strength to all who need it, and I'll play us out with "NEVER MARRY A RAILROAD MAN" by SHOCKING BLUE.

You're better off without him.