Matthew J. Brady:
Writer/Artist: Mike Cavallaro
Publisher: Image Comics
Matthew J. Brady: In this issue, Mike Cavallaro completes the story of his grandfatherís violent confrontation and fight for justice in pre-World War II Italy. Itís a fascinating, personal tale of the history of the country as it was being taken over by fascism, with an incredibly emotional impact in the ending. Martijn, in your review of the first issue, you seemed to like the personal take on historical events. Did you find that this issue delivered on the promise and wrapped the story up in a satisfying manner?
Martijn Form: Matthew, issue #2 made my eyes moist. The personal take on historical events makes this some powerful storytelling. I really felt for this family. When my grandparents were still alive, I loved listening to those old stories from around WWII, when the world was in great turmoil. Let me tell you one: It was the night ofÖ
Matthew: Um, Martijn, letís save that one for another time and stick to this issue.
Martijn: (*sobs*) OkayÖ
When you make history personal like this story does, readers can relate to the time period better than a summation of some facts in a history book about the big picture of pre-WWII. The struggle of this family and friends feels genuine and Parade (with Fireworks) is so much more than a small family drama. I think that Parade should be used in those boring history lessons you take in school. To my mind humans should learn from history because we arenít capable of learning from current events or the future. History isnít just about dates and facts; it is about personal struggles that put us inside a historical moment. Did Parade put you more inside of a time period than just facts and dates?
Matthew: It certainly did. Often, those history classes give us information about events from the perspective of governments, armies, and leaders of state, but we donít get the view of the regular people. Itís wonderful to see such a ground-level view of the volatile political landscape. And while the story is very personal, you can see how Italy is changing, with a government beginning to abuse its power to protect those who follow its ideology. Cavallaro does a great job of putting the reader inside the story; you feel like youíre a member of Paoloís family, helplessly watching and unable to do anything to make a difference.
Martijn: Iím really blown away by Mike Cavallaro's writing. He really does put the reader right inside the story. His captions and his dialogue are so warm and heartfelt. It is just too bad that there are only two issues. I would really like to read more. But other creators might have felt the need to spread out this story over four or five issues, making this less dense and commanding as it is right now. I really admire what Cavallaro accomplished here.
Matthew: Iím in complete agreement about the writing. On the art side of things, I loved the simplistic style. It reminded me of Darwyn Cooke or Bruce Timm but with more rounded characters and some incredible colors. The occasional red backgrounds that punctuated highly emotional moments were very effective, and I loved details like the squiggly-line eyebrows and moustaches. Beautiful stuff.
Martijn: I would say sophisticated stuff. Yes, the style is simplistic, which reminds me a lot of European comics, but itís extremely effective. Just look at the opening scene. From the first two panels, you think that Paulo's peaceful sleep is interrupted by some loud conversation. The angle shifts in panel three to reveal that he is confined somewhere. These simplistic drawings transform into a powerful sequential art scene. I think Mike Cavallaro uses sequential art in a profound way. What do you think?
Matthew: Yes, I definitely agree. While simplistic, the characters convey emotion incredibly. The duplicitous nature of the fascists testifying against Paolo in the trial, or the helplessness that Paoloís family and friends feel when they realize the extent of the power their enemies have, this is all right there on the charactersí faces. Itís very powerful. I also love some of the panel layouts that Cavallaro uses, like the scenes when the bars of Paoloís jail cell become the divisions between panels showing the activities of his family; itís like they are trapped in the cell with him.
Martijn: The trial scene is beautiful. There isnít a negative thing I can say about Parade. So I really feel the need to stand on my soapbox and shout out that this is a book that every comic reader should buy! Itís only two issues, people. Just give all those mediocre spin-offs, tie-ins or extras from Countdown and Civil War a rest for only one week, and submerge yourself in some powerful story telling.
If not? I will send Matthew J. Brady after you! His pen is mightier than your light saber sword!
Matthew: Uh oh. I hope I wonít have to follow up on that threat. But yes, people really should check this comic out. Cavallaro is a talent worthy of recognition, and I hope he produces more great comics soon. Iíll be keeping an eye on him!
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