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posted May 22, 2019


Creator: Frank Santoro
Publishing Information: NYRC, 216 pages, hardcover, September 2019, $29.95.
Ordering Numbers: 1681374048 (ISBN10), 9781681374048 (ISBN13)

imageThis is more an appreciation than a review. For one thing, the book doesn't come out until mid-September and I hate the idea that I'm able to complete the hard work of engaging a book weeks before I get a chance to read it more than once, surrounded by my chattering peers. Also, the guy's staying in my guest bedroom while he finishes a research grant. Santoro and I have a brotherly relationship: protective of each other, vaguely sideways competitive and surprisingly cruel at full bloom to any witness. I read his Storeyville in the 1990s, a strong entry in a school where every other classmate was either David Mazzucchelli or European. I met him at a Heroes Con when Dustin Harbin was trying to alt-up Heroes Con. His first words were a shouted attempt to see if he could bludgeon from me which of our mutual peers I hated the most. It's a comics friendship, insufficient yet somehow perfect.

So while I'm out on a review for this one, I sure can appreciate Pittsburgh. It's beautiful: in the artist's always assured approach to color, in the meticulous, old newspaper strip like scene-setting (Captain Easy could brawl across these working-class yards and street corners with aplomb) and the heartbreaking depiction of people made unhappy by the inevitable damage from of a lifetime of resentment locking glacier-like into place. Santoro himself is a character, a child and then a young man attracted to seeing his own life as a continuity of narratives that were building and shifting and falling apart before he was born. Santoro plays it with admirable restraint, bruises rather than bullet-holes but 1000 instances of that yellowing skin. He's as doomed as they are. We're as doomed as he is.

He also need never make another comic. That's good, as it may take me that extra time to thank Frank for this one. Please consider a look when NYRC drops it into the English-language marketplace this September.