Catching Lucifers Lunch

Dante A. Ciampaglia

The Mays Brothers never root the reader in any sort of identification, rendering the aesthetic pleasure a mere superficiality.

Catching Lucifer's Lunch

Publisher: Summ Publications
ISBN: 1599573537
Contributors: Artist: Jason May
Price: $5.99
Writer: T.J. May
Length: 56
Formats: Trade Paperback
US publication date: 2006-05

There's a certain sense of inevitability in the Mays Brothers' Catching Lucifer's Lunch, a gothic, graphic tale of love, betrayal, and redemption by way of The Outer Limits. Higgins Lark, the book's "hero," takes a journey into Hell, a la Dante's Inferno, to save his son who has been taken prisoner by demons to serve to Lucifer for a soul feeding. Higgins' girlfriend, Jackie, "sacrificed" in the middle of the book, is found in Hell, as well, as a lost soul Higgins thinks he can trade for his son's.

But all the while, there is this gnawing feeling that all of this had been predetermined: Higgins' son was destined to be eaten by Lucifer; his bitchy girlfriend was destined to be hooked-up with Beelzebub as his queen; and Higgins, himself a whiny character, was destined to take this redemptive journey to save his son. This certainly makes for an interesting story, and at 56 pages it's efficient, too, with sparse dialogue and minimalist, eerie, and foreboding art. The Mays Brothers, though, never root the reader in any sort of identification, rendering the aesthetic pleasure a mere superficiality.

At the beginning of the book, readers are tossed right into the action: a demon has kidnapped Higgins, Jackie, and his son, putting the story in motion. This is an effective technique for a horror tale because it keeps readers off-balance. Unfortunately, the Mays Brothers never right readers by giving them background on the characters and who they are; it's one thing to never reveal the reasons for an event happening, but readers need to understand who a character is in order to become emotionally vested in them. Page after page, readers find Higgins traversing the perils of Hell to reach Lucifer's den and save his son. And page after page, readers are never given much insight into who Higgins is.

When Higgins finally reaches Lucifer and finds his girlfriend's soul enslaved to Satan, there is an extended moment where it seems like some substantive amount of character background will be revealed. Instead, in an effort on the Mays Brothers part to redeem the character, Higgins' girlfriend offers her soul to Lucifer for consumption in place of Higgins' son. But we never know enough about the character to feel anything when she makes this sacrifice. We see Jackie being a jerk at the beginning of the book, then later a double-crosser, but that's about the extent of it—and even these things aren't substantive actions.

Catching Lucifer's Lunch is wonderful to look at. Its art is a macabre kind of beautiful. Faces, places, and bodies are defined just enough to be recognizable but undefined enough to be anyone or anywhere. This is wholly appropriate for the sense of dread and the inevitable that the Mays Brothers effectively pump into the book -- the events here were meant to happen, and they could happen to anyone, anywhere.

Unfortunately, the Mays Brothers take this lack of definition too far and never allow readers to develop a sense of connection to the characters. Without this, the book is merely eye candy.

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.