One Story

Gipi, trans. from the Italian by Jamie Richards. Fantagraphics, $22.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-68396-319-6
An Italian writer is caught in the midst of a mental breakdown that lands him in an institution in this fresh portrait of a midlife crisis by Gipi (Land of the Sons). Silvano Landi’s “monomaniacal obsessive-compulsive behaviors” include painting a service station repeatedly and poring over the letters that his great grandfather, Mauro, wrote to his wife during WWI. The mental health professionals around Landi act as killjoy cops and his grown daughter speculates “Your problem is that we exist...we aren’t characters in one of your fucking stories.” But his, and Gipi’s, preocupation is more existential. In flashbacks to the trenches, Mauro sees his friend’s legs blown apart by machine gun fire and must make a desperate decision to survive; Gipi hints that humans are drawn to war stories because they reveal in explosive moments the losses and compromises that otherwise unfold over a lifetime. He paints the parallels in matching watercolor palettes; Landi’s beloved service station is rust and gold against a blue-gray sky, while similar colors shatter into the dark night of a battle scene. A giant, bare-branched tree repeats across the narrative. In this brief but haunting work, life itself is a battle whose greatest spoil is self-forgiveness. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/30/2020
Release date: 07/28/2020
Genre: Comics
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