An Elderly Gentleman : IMAGE 112 : Rabblerousing
In the novel's second section, a burly blaggart--a big man type--gathers a mob together to attack the local union headquarters of the USWA (United Steel Workers of America). While Vertigo’s small images are normally spare, focused on one or two symbolic details, I112 is crammed full—one might even say perversely so—suggesting the tight confederacy that is forming, and the louche, singular will of mob mentality. We might even infer that Ward felt there was virtually no end to the number of goons one could drum up—that they could fill any room to overflowing. This bustling image, with its caricatures of overly-muscled sociopathy (and one pair of anxious eyes in the upper-right corner, with which perhaps the reader is invited to sympathize), displays Ward’s remarkable facility for engraving within a narrowly confined space. Ward wrote in his autobiography, Story Without Words, "[w]orking with a wood block takes on the aspects of a struggle between antagonists. The wood is reluctant, the artist determined . . .." Yet, Ward’s deft handling of the tools of engraving belies the notion of a struggle.