4CP Friday

By: Rob Walker
September 16, 2011

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of 4CP, HiLobrow invited guest curators to assemble themed comic-book-detail galleries from 4CP’s collection. Click here to see all galleries.

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THEME: EFFACEMENT
CURATOR: ROB WALKER

What are you doing, in the Facebook era, with your face? Are you “sharing” it? Or are you keeping your face to yourself, offering your friends, and the Internet in general, a “profile picture” of a monkey, a humorous cartoon, an abstract painting, the logo of your indie business? Perhaps you have chosen to share someone else’s face: that of your no-doubt charming offspring, or a celebrity with a compromising expression. Possibly you rifle through multiple options, “updating” your online face weekly, always putting a refreshed face forward. Or maybe you’ve opted, self-effacingly, to hide your face indefinitely behind that stony, modern, digital mask, the default avatar. Before your next status update, take a moment to examine the faces offered by your Facebook (or other social-network service) friends (contacts, followers, etc.). Perhaps you’ll notice a few non-face faces among them.

Superheroes, and supervillains, routinely hide their faces — and thus their True Identity — when performing spectacular acts of good or evil, behind masks of latex or metal. But as these images reveal, faces can go missing in other, more ambiguous, ways. Perhaps these examples will inspire you, as you devise, and revise, your own facial strategies.

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Fig. 1: The face seems violently obliterated, for an instant at least. Its fate is unknown: it may be intact, marred, erased, or in need of radical surgery that will result in some previously nonexistent face.

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Fig. 2: Face elements emerge, selectively, from inky shadow. A complete face is suggested, but will it emerge from the dark, or fade wholly to black? Or is that all there is to this face?

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Fig. 3: The face is smeared, as though its features could be wiped away with a damp rag. Possibly a printing limitation or flaw is exposed – or, horribly, perhaps this disfigurement is rendered accurately.

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Fig. 4: Completely blank faces, in a gang, linked by uniform color and matching headgear: The absence of a singular identity, or even free will, is suggested. Surely these are self-less functionaries of sinister abstract power.

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Fig. 5: Face-space is occupied only by the residue of a reproduction process (a variety of color printing). And it is no transitory moment or trick of the light: This individual evidently has no face. Interestingly, the proprietor of 4cp labels this image “Half Man, Half Static,” referencing the completely different medium of television. Even more interestingly, the proprietor of 4CP has chosen a similar “Half Man Half Static” image as the face he turns toward the Internet, and to you.

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BONUS! Fig. 6: Changey-face. Self explanatory.

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SIMILAR HILOBROW SERIES: CHESS MATCH — a gallery | FILE X — a gallery | KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM — 25 Jack Kirby panels | SECRET PANEL —Silver Age comics’ double entendres | SKRULLICISM | CURATED: 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern

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Categories

Comics, Spectacles

What do you think?

  1. Brilliant typology of facelessness, Rob. I’d noticed John’s predilection for this sort of thing, but never stopped to analyze the images. Love it.

  2. Josh, thanks for letting me do this! It was fun.

    John, that one is SO COOL! I may have to adopt is as my Facebook avatar.

    Bryan, I didn’t realize it … but you are clearly correct.

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