“I Will Have the Taste of Him”
In which gods take a young deer, who is, in turn, the beloved of a young wolf, and the question and nature of sex as magick is explored.
You may recall Jon Macy’s last work, Teleny and Camille, in which Macy focused on a furtive love affair whose nature both offended and defied the genteel and unyielding upper class of Victorian England. In Fearful Hunter, Macy moves from the dichotomy of the well bred gentry and endemic squalor of the working and under classes to a countryside where the sacred and profane merge and the sublime manifests.
Fearful Hunter is a work intended in four parts. The current installment, issue two, is the subject of this review.To recap the first chapter, Oison is a young man whose parents surrendered him as a young boy to Tavius, a Druid who has foresworn the modern world to live in and as a part of a nearby forest. Tavius believes Oison is gifted and has been training him in secret rituals and eventually communion with a nature god. Fate intervenes during a trip for supplies to the nearby town when Oison learns of a pub catering to gay men of a different…bent. Shea, a were fox, encourages Oison to act on his impulses for the reluctant lycanthrope Byron. Tavius is both secretly displeased by Oison’s choice and covetous of Byron.
With introductions made in the first issue, the attention turns to exploring the various relationships and the nature of individual characters. Will Oison remain in obeisance to his mentor Tavius to pass from his apprenticeship to attain the next level or will he realize his nature encompasses more and become steadfast in his love for a wolf? Will Byron succumb to his animal nature as a result of Tavius’ subtle manipulation (“You wouldn’t mind me watching you transform, would you?” and “I would love to see him kill sometime. I’m sure he is magnificent.”) or will he rise above his insecurities to forge a lasting bond with Oison? Can the jealous nature of a wolf who mates for life be overcome when his beloved ritually communes in sexual ecstasy with a god as an act of devotion? Does “It’s not really sex. It just takes that form” ring true? Or will Byron conquer his fear and protect Oison from possible harm? Will the god Diultach be sated with a single taste of Oison and, as I suspect the name implies, become dismissive of his promised acolyte? Is Shea motivated by wily instincts conversing with Byron about love and passion or is be being sincere? Judging by the scope of Macy’s vision in Teleny and Camille actions and consequences coming out of these relationships will not be neat and tidy nor forumlaic; they will be brilliant and memorable.
No one sparkles in Macy’s imagination as put to paper here. They rut and mount and possess and howl and revel, then collapse from abandon. Macy is quite clever in drawing arresting erotic encounters and characters.Oison’s and Byron’s newly found love pulses with an energy that is simultaneously urgent and naive. Oison with his smooth body marked with Druidic symbols and innocent appearance is a study in contrast to Byron’s lithe and furry form and soulful eyes. The elder Druid Eanruig, likely I think to have been Tavius’ mentor, is a silver fox with flowing hair and beard. Tavius himself is a bull of a man. Shea the were-fox is wiry and playful as revealed in the short fillip we’re treated to recounting the time he nicked a farmer’s shorts.
Several years ago a friend, an art professor, and I had a conversation about artists creating a sense of of place. She knew of my interest in comics and asked to borrow any apropos graphic novels which she’d used as reference for a class lecture. It’s a harder task to accomplish than one might think as it involves more than simply drawing a character surrounded by four walls to give a character a sense of life and belonging to the space. One can find reference material to draw a London opera house but it will take insight to make it believable. Likewise Macy’s primary setting of a forest in Hunter. Quite another matter to transform forest and river and rock into a living temple of warm earth, still water, and trees versed in a secret tongue in which Druids, gods, and were-men co-exist, if some uneasily at that.
A dream interlude reveals Byron’s true name and the event from his childhood that inspired it. The circumstances serve to illuminate Byron’s temperament and his struggle as an outsider in his own community. Will there be more to learn about how Oison came to be Tavius’ pupil? What sort of dire conditions arose to persuade parents to relinquish a child? Imagining the twists Macy could invent further piques my interest. Macy has shown Tavius to be flawed with the first issue’s revelation for Oison that Tavius withheld knowledge of the local gay pub and with Tavius’ unspoken desire for Byron. These indiscretions bear the question of whether Tavius truly follows the Druidic codes of honor to do right regardless of cost, of loyalty to friends and family, and hospitality.
Teleny and Camille was wildly impressive and Fearful Hunter is an equally excellent venture from the talented Macy. During the wait for the next installment the dilemma for me is having an incomplete run of Macy’s Nefarismo to enjoy and chart an artist’s progress.
Would you like to be further tempted visually? Visit Macy’s site and feast on art and video? Yes, of course you would.