Funnybook Babylon

August 21, 2007

The War Zone is Everywhere

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , — Jamaal Thomas @ 1:19 pm

Notes of a War Story
Notes of a War Story, produced by Gipi, and translated by Spectrum. Notes is published by First Second Publishing, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, and was originally published as Appunti per una storia di guerra in 2004 by Coconino Press.

Gipi doesn’t tell the kinds of stories that I usually enjoy in comic books. I tend to be a reader obsessed with information and detail, but that is not Gipi’s concern. Garage Band, the first book of his that I read, focused on atmospherics and minor character moments that were used to propel a plot that barely existed. At the same time, it was a revelatory experience. Gipi provided an insight into the interior lives of the characters in a way that I was unused to in comic books. With that experience, I highly anticipated his next work. As expected, the art is brilliant. Gipi’s work is deceptively simple, using relatively few strokes to create distinct and expressive characters.

Notes of a War Story is ostensibly the story of a group of friends coming of age in the midst of an unnamed European war taking place in an anonymous Balkan nation. The lack of specificity, in time or place, gives the book a allegorical, dream-like quality. The group of three boys is broken down into some familiar archetypes: the sycophant (Christian), the overly aggressive proto-criminal (Stefano, the Little Killer), and the bourgeoisie wayward one (Giuliano), who is our protagonist. The first two are representative of the lower class, both poor, one subjected to emotional (and probably physical) abuse. The third illustrates the middle class, the kid who grows up with a lawn and a bed. Of course, the crazy one is the leader, which sets in motion a series of events that culminate in a set of life changing choices for all three.
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