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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Wipeout

by Francesca Ghermandi      

Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (March 05,2003) 
Softcover, 85 pages 

The story is a straight up noir thriller with femme fatales, backstabs, and vicious twists. In fact, it's only the bizarre art style (beautiful but abstract) that sets it apart. Why these decisions were made is beyond me. The two, writing and art, seem incongruous at first but both are so good that they gel together.  
Research chemist Jim Tartaglia dreams of the riches that will be his when he finishes developing his new universal cleaning solvent. His wife, Bawl, dreams of purchasing and expensive, classy hair transplant to replace the cheap wooden one she's been forced to settle for. Virgin Prunes, their neighbor, has promised Jim she'll run away with him - if he helps her get rid of Chonfra, a wealthy entrepreneur who buys her affections.  
Cartoon noir best describes The Wipeout. The cast of misfits may look like cute advertising mascots and cartoon figurines, but their passions are all too sordidly human. Francesca's hard-boiled fantasia dazzles in its lustrous palette, harking back to vintage Disney cells and Sixties Italian advertising illustration. Like the roller-coaster on the cover, its spiraling logic rattles around the tracks of your mind, long after you have woken up yourself. 
  For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst.


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