A Look Back at Sachs & Violens #1 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Back in the early 1990s, I was fortunate enough to buy and read The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect issues #1 and #2. While each book was pretty expensive, it was all worth it because its literary and artistic content were great to read thanks to the very dynamic creative duo of Peter David and artist George Perez.

To see Future Imperfect’s story by David illustrated greatly by Perez was a magnificent read from start to finish. In 2014, Peter David confirmed that George Perez was his “single favorite artistic collaborator” and when asked as to which artists have come closest to matching the visuals he imagined while writing a comic book script, the author mentioned Perez as one of three artists to do so.

The David-Perez duo’s work together in the 1990s did not necessarily end with Future Imperfect. In fact, they took the challenge of doing an all original, adulterated, non-superhero project published through Epic Comics (Marvel Comics’ imprint that published creator-owned projects not connected with Marvel’s superhero universe) in the form of a 4-issue mini-series titled Sachs & Violens (the title itself is a play on the words “sex and violence”). Back in the 1990s, I completely missed out on that mini-series. It was only recently I finally got to start reading it.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sachs & Violens #1, published by Epic Comics in 1993 with a story written by Peter David and drawn by George Perez.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the bedroom deep within the city of New York. A pretty lady arrives, takes off her undergarment and high heels and approaches a smoking man on the bed. As they start making love with each other, a shadowy figure with a bladed weapon approaches them slowly. As the lady notices something going on, a powerful strike happens spreading blood around.

Suddenly, someone yells “Cut!” The lights got turned on and it turns out what happened was a night-time photographic session in which the director expresses his disappointment over what happened.

Elsewhere, life in the city goes on during the night. The traffic is frustrating some people. Prostitutes on the sidewalk are doing what they can to attract potential customers. Night clubc and sex shows are rampant. Among the many people walking is a pretty lady named Juanita Jean (nicknamed J.J.) who attracts the attention of a man armed with a gun. In response to his move on her, J.J. fights back by hitting his right wrist, kicking him on the groin and his chin, and knocking him out. Afterwards, she arrives at a photo studio apologizing to the photographer (Violens) for her lateness.

After some talking, J.J. proceeds to change into very erotic attire and posed sexy in front of the camera…

Quality

J.J. Sachs at the police station.

I can start by saying that this comic book is one of the most unusual works I have ever read from either Peter David or George Perez, and it’s more than just its non-superhero concept and presentation.

Starting with the visuals, this is one of the more unique works of George Perez and it surely is a fresh change after seeing so many of his superhero-related comic book works (especially the post-Crisis Wonder Woman). The usual elements of Perez’s art are here: pages with multiple panels, high detail maintained throughout even in images full of people and location stuff, beautiful looking women and the like. As this is an adulterated comic book, the level of visual eroticism got ramped up high although there were clear signs of restraint.   

With regards to the quality of the writing, this is a very adulterated tale about murder and a series of unfortunate events that disturb the public and, incidentally, motivate J.J. Sachs (a softcore porn model) and Ernie Violens (a former Vietnam War veteran working presently as a photographer) to take action. The pacing of the story is decent with lots of build-up dominating the comic book. The dialogue is witty and the main characters really have their own unique patterns of verbal expression. While the script has passionate work written all over, it is not exactly an entertaining read for me. In fact, I find the tale rather sadistic and not even its elements of intrigue and twists could engage me. This is definitely not the comic book you want to read for fun.

Conclusion

Sachs’ introduction.

Even though it has great visuals and a script written passionately (note: Peter David even wrote his opinion about sex and violence in the comic book), I am actually turned off by Sachs & Violens #1 (1993). Other than being made with adults in mind, its really a story of murder that sets off events sparking the protagonists to do something rebellious in nature. While there is indeed an antagonist, the distinction between good and evil remains unconvincing in the story. I can say that die hard fans of Peter David and George Perez will find this comic book more appealing, and there is a good chance that readers seeking material with sex and violence will enjoy it. I personally did not enjoy this one.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Sachs & Violens #1 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $18 while the near-mint copies of the limited edition, the platinum edition and the signed platinum edition cost $105, $70 and $140 respectively.

Overall, Sachs & Violens #1 (1993) is not recommended.

+++++

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