Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Advance Review: Foligatto - Alexios Tjojas & Nicolas de Crécy

Edition : Oversized Deluxe Edition
64 pages - 9.5 x 12.5 inches - Color
EAN 9781594650604
You can buy Foligatto here.

Foligatto tells the story of a town called Eccenihilo and it's need for revival and to quell the violence within it. The local government and bourgeois come up with a plan to set up a three day carnival. A carnival that will quell the lust of the town's populace; a carnival that will transform the Eccenihilo and set it unto a better path; a carnival that would have the local and highly famous opera singer, Foligatto.

But before I continue, you'll see four images underneath this paragraph. These four images tell you a lot about what you need to about the world of Foligatto, Eccenihilo, and it's themes. So before you continue: click on the images, gaze at them and take them in.
Taken them in?

We start with a rat's head that seems to come from the ground, literally, following a hand. A hand that has taken the bone and made it part of a bone harp. Cars drive up to where our three characters are, a cock fight ensues and a man's head is cut off for cheating; but the man doesn't die. No, he takes his head, puts a cigarette in his lips, lights a match and walks away smiling. Crécy does an amazing bring this all to life, from his linework to his luscious warm brown coloring that add a glow of nostalgia.   As you can tell, Foligatto is profoundly surreal comic.

This surrealist theme is matched with a darkly-humored sense of absurdity that is pervasive throughout the comic. This surrealism is also imbued within its characters: how they talk and treat each other, how they view violence, how they use violence, how they view their world, and their place within it . Foligatto is a comic that revels in it's own madness and isn't afraid to be nonsensical and disgusting at times. A comic in which its creators have built up its foundation through their own dream logic and then right away break it. If you're going to read Foligatto, you must accept it in its own terms and mustn't be afraid of where it will take you.

This level of surrealism is fully realized by Crécy's amazing linework. I have talked about Crécy linework before. Crécy has an amazing ability of drawing skin and making it look absolutely beaten down, trampled, spit on, used up and destroyed. Crécy can draw characters that are absolutely disgusting to look at and have inhuman qualities. Then out of nowhere, Crécy can draw characters that look completely innocent and beautiful. This back and forth from ugly to immaculate is something we see a lot in Foligatto. And it isn't just characters but it's also the world they inhabit. Just as his characters can be ugly or beautiful or both, so can the world they live in.

Foligatto is a comic that refuses to be pigeonholed into just one thing. It is a comic that isn't afraid to reach a place not yet seen in comics before. And if it fails, by god, it's going to fail big and it's something that you'll never forget. I can't recommend this comic enough. It's hard to come by a comic that is wholly original in it's vision and when after reading, lingers in your mind for days to come.

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