A Sin to Miss
In 2003, the horror of 9/11 was less than two years behind America, and Marvel Now and The New 52 were still distant on horizon of the comic industry. I can't recall exactly what I was doing then. Getting divorced or exorcising my last marriage in every bed that would let me crawl in. I was working a horrid customer service job, for sure. Anyway, what is certain is that I was thoroughly enchanted by Guy Davis' art in Sandman Mystery Theater, which I had discovered late in the game. I discovered Mage and Grendel later as a comic fan, so Matt Wagner's name on the front of a funny book didn't grab me until Sandman Mystery Theater was almost done. I picked it up, though, and Davis' distinctive art style grabbed me. His art looks like Leonardo da Vinci's sketchbooks if that 'un had espied demons and creepy crawlies under his bed. It looks like a nightmare burbled up through a throat and seeped onto paper. I loved it.
Later, I read Deadline that he drew for Marvel; saw his work in White Wolf rpgs, and read The Nevermen from Dark Horse. All of them only served to whet my appetite to find more of his work... And then I found his Baker Street series in a trade, and that was that: he owned my eyes exclusively for a spell. He, and Kat Von D's curves. Ahem! Anyway, it was last year that I found The Marquis: A Sin of One in a cheapo box down among the dead men in a blood-stained back alley.
This book of a masked demon-hunter born out of the soul of Solomon Kane and Italian horror comics is visually stunning. Black and white suits Davis' work as well as color, his linework creating heavy textures and bilious moods. No, really. You can imagine the bodies he draws leaving their impressions on the mattresses on which they lay, the weight of the Marquis' thick coat as he moves. Guy Davis is often underrated because his art isn't photo-realistic CGI bullpucky or obvious homage to Kirby or Ditko, and this is a damn shame.
Give this 2003 Oni one-shot a try. Give Guy Davis a try, and just maybe you'll wanna check out his BPRD and other Hellboy stuff. His art is half-remembered visions of hell, to be sure, but it's the good half.