Monday, September 7, 2009

Atlas Shrugged Graphic page 2: The Mysterious Panhandler

In the opening scene sequence of Ayn Rand's ATLAS SHRUGGED, one of the main characters is walking forlornly down a twilight New York street when a mysterious beggar approaches him for a handout. The dialogue in the scene is essentially what I've illustrated here. The character hands the beggar a dollar (in Rand's time, that was a dime) and walks on.

I have thought about this scene as if I were re-writing it or possibly directing the "unfilmable" movie of this book. It occurred to me that there was something mysterious about this beggar. Rand says that he had "intelligent eyes," which could mean that he might not be what he looked like. I don't think Rand would have had this in mind, but I believe that that beggar was really John Galt himself in disguise. Throughout the book, Galt has been hanging around in the shadows, spying on the main characters, hoping to eventually recruit them for his movement. Galt also has some of the qualities of the pulp-written adventurers that Rand read so much of in her youth, kind of like an industrial Doc Savage. It would be kind of neat if Galt, the towering hero of the book, appeared on the first page as well as the last.

I've brought that out in the illustration, or tried to; John Galt had a kind of superhuman beauty, power, and charisma, not to mention engineering genius. Not even stubble and dirty makeup or the disheveled garments of a street vagrant could completely cover up his aura. More to come in my graphic experiments with Randworld.


Tristan Alexander said...

Hmm, intersting take on the story. I like it!

Anonymous said...

More likely another engineer from the Twentieth Century Motor Company. Perhaps Jeff Allen.

Love the artwork though.