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Canicola Volume 1
posted November 16, 2005
 

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Creators: Giacomo Nanni, Giacomo Monti, Edo Chieregato, Andrea Bruno, Amanda Vahamaki, Giacomo Nanni, Giacomo Monti, Davide Catania, Alessandro Tota, Michelangelo Setola
Publishing Information: www.canicola.net, 80 pages, Edo Chieregato, 2005
Ordering Numbers:

A comics anthology of Rubber Blanket dimensions out of Bologna, Italy, Canicola might prove most interesting to American readers as further proof that alternative and art comics internationally have a faction that might be comparable to the younger generation in North America. It feels like a stapled version of Kramer's Ergot more often than not, without some of the heavy hitters invited into the last issue or two. The comic shorts in the first volume of Canicola seem at once driven by an artistic impulse to convey mood or feeling on the page, but at the same time the book is generous enough to feature a few cartoonists who work in almost rudimentary style, including a talking head comic that looks like Brian Chippendale doing early Lewis Trondheim. It's the effect that's important more than the showcase for facility.

Several times the ambition outstrips the result; you can almost feel the artist straining for something evocative they haven't quite earned with force of narrative or presentation. The story I liked best was "Brodo Di Niente" by Andrea Bruno, a nightmarish war scenario with absurdist elements distinguished by incredibly bleak art. Most of the work here had a quality, even when the stories themselves were nothing that I'll remember after closing the pages. The reason I was able to negotiate these stories was because an English translation is provided in tiny typeset form in the margins, the comic book equivalent of subtitles. Anthologies tend to fall apart or really surge forward after the first issue; I'm interested enough in this one to keep tabs.