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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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03/27/2006 Archived Entry: "Comic review: Innocents #1"

The Innocents #1
Written and illustrated by Gipi
Fantagraphics Books
Published in 2005

Review by Leigh Anne Wilson

The Innocents #1 is the third release from the Ignatz series, a small imprint featuring an international group of comic artists.

Edited and produced by cartoonist Igort, the collection seeks to bridge the gap between American style funnybooks and high brow European graphic novels. I am fully in favor of this, as I love the thick paper stock the series is printed on, love the two-toned color scheme, love the sexy book jackets. I even love the saddle stitching right down the center.

The Innocents #1 was written and illustrated by Italian artist Gipi (born Gian Alfonso Pacinotti) an illustrator for the Italian paper La Repubblica. In my research about the author, I managed to find his blog ( ). If you read Italian, you're in luck, and all his secrets are yours, to be quietly treasured with just Gipi, you, and the millions of other Italian-speaking people across the globe. However, if, like me, you don't, you'll just have to be content with this little self-portrait I found when I was visiting of the artist trapped in an airplane.

The airplane doodle is somewhat similiar to some of the illustrations in the book, actually. The story, the first in the serialization, opens with two passengers in a car, brooming (the noise the car makes) down the road to an as yet unknown destination. Gil, the driver, is travelling with his young nephew Andrea. Although Gil, a reformed juvenile delinquent, had planned on taking the boy to "Funfair" that day, a phone call from one of his old gang abruptly waylays their plans, and their destination changes to an isolated beach to meet his old friend Valerio. To pass the time, Gil tells Andrea the story of his and Valerio's friendship, and how it was cruelly destroyed by two rogue police officers taking out their aggressions by abusing Gil's once-gentle friend. When the pair are finally reunited after a nearly two-decades-long separation, things suddenly begin to spiral dangerously out of Gil's control.

The present day scenes are drawn in a dreamy, pleasant, semi-realistic form, looking lush and rich even for the black and white ink. When Gil begins to tell the story of his youth, the illustrations begin to become crudely drawn, representing the fading, uncertain lines of memory.

The Innocents seems to be a fairly straightforward tale of love, friendship, and revenge, but is so far well-told and beautifully illustrated, with pointed attention paid to the relationships between the characters, accenting perfectly the points of affection and tension between the three.

If you're developing an interest in comic books and graphic novels, you can't ask for a better starting point than the books in the Ignatz series. The beautiful packaging and the highly talented writers and illustrators in the collective are perfect for comic book afficionados and newbies alike.

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