Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #136 by Drew Barth

Pointing Fingers

Do you use finger guns to point things out with a little extra flair or do you point them at one another over Zoom meetings in a bout of cowboy euphoria? Either way, they’re functionally useless—an aesthetic choice more tedious the more frequently we do it. But what if an innocuous point could do something? That’s what Justin Richards, Sabs Cooper, Val Halvorson, Rebecca Nalty, and Taylor Esposito have created with Finger Guns—the kind of series that lets us know exactly what would happen if the world could be changed by pointing a finger gun at someone.

Finger Guns, as a story, is about Sadie and Wes. Each of them have different degrees of difficulty with their home lives—violent and isolated, respectively—and both have the ability to change someone’s emotion simply by pointing a finger gun at them. How did they get these abilities? Don’t worry about it. Look instead at the fact that some high school kids can point their fingers and make someone either calm or enraged at a whim. And while that does seem a volatile mix of chaos, Sadie and Wes don’t use their abilities to wreak any kind of havoc. Sadie uses her ability to calm her frequently enraged father and Wes only experiments on himself or with Sadie so they can see what their finger guns can really do.

At its core, though, Finger Guns is a series about blame: who gives it, who takes it, and the consequences of those choices. The image of the pointed finger throughout the story is no aesthetic coincidence. Sadie and Wes can point their fingers—at other people or themselves—as much as they want to, but they learn throughout the series that pointing doesn’t solve everything. Or, really, anything at all. When Sadie’s father begins to become immune to the finger gun’s calming effect, she begins to point in every which way she can. She blames the people at her school, Wes, and herself. And even when her finger is severed by her father’s rage, she still points her ailing finger gun on herself as though she has nothing to offer the world except misery.

Finger Guns is the kind of series you need to sit with for a moment after finishing the last page. It’s another story from Vault Comics that ends, but keeps itself open for another volume to come out in the future. But as it stands, Richards, Cooper, Halvorson, Nalty, and Esposito have crafted a comic with a straight-forward image tying the whole concept together and have explored it to some of its furthest extremes. And even still, they’ve left it open enough to return and give these characters a kind of closure that just pointing fingers can’t fully give.

Get excited. Get pointing.


Drew Barth at Miami Book Fair in 2019.

Drew Barth (Episode 331 & 485) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.