Notes for a War Story

“San donato. San Guiliano. San Martino.

Where we’re from all the villages have saints names. When they bombed a village it felt like they really hurt somebody. not a town but an individual person.”

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I fell in love with Gipi’s work after I read “Notes for a War Story”, the story of three youths aimlessly drifting in an unnamed European country in the middle of the war. They spend their days dodging bombs, squatting inside abandoned houses and stealing to survive until they meet Felix – the leader of a mafia-style militia who’s found war as a profitable venture. Soon, their tasks escalate from petty crime to killing in the name of Felix.

The book is about war and how it takes hold of people and swallows their lives and their futures. Even Felix, for all his bluster about how the war is the best thing that ever happened to him is scarred and wounded. Youths who gain cred and respect from stealing and killing never leave the war the same way again.

This was first exposure to Gipi’s work, who I found out is a superstar comic artist in Europe. In 2005, “Notes for a War Story” was awarded the Goscinny Prize for Best Script and was proclaimed Best Book at Angoul√™me the following year.

Gipi’s line work is frenetic and the monochrome watercolors are juicy and atmospheric. What’s even more impressive is Gipi’s ability to breathe life into his characters and to make a simple exchange between characters riveting.

Check out this 10-page preview here: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2007/09/comics_war_story.html

For people who want to venture into graphic novel reading beyond the usual superhero fare, I recommend checking this book out.