Bella Fe Media 2015
Story, Screenplay & Graphic Adaptation by Ken Mora
Pencilled by Cyrus Mesarcia
Inked by Bhakta Ranjan Behera at Beezzz Studios
Lettered & VFX by Ken Mora
The artist known as Caravaggio must flee Milan to escape a vendetta before The Inquisition exposes his secret lover.
Here is one of the perks of being a reviewer and that’s having someone want you to review their book or a book they produce that you’ve never heard of before. Now I don’t know about you I love historical stories, the plethora of them throughout the cable channels should reaffirm that I am not alone in this. So if you know your art history you’ll who Carvaggio is for those that don’t it’s Michealangelo Merisi so the story is of some significance. Unlike Classics Illustrated however this takes a look that at his life without watering it down or covering up the truth like the “conservative Christian crowd” would prefer.
The story opens up in Milan, Italy 1591 where there is to be a public burning of a man convicted of sodomy. Alejandro Corto is being burned at the stake and a young man is there to do him a kindness that’s not what you’d expect. It is probably the perfect way to open this story all things considered it is dramatic, telling and reminds the reader of how life was back when the Church ruled with an iron fist. Man created the Church and it’s rules so those in power could prosper and that is historical fact as many of them used teenage boys as lovers in private bath houses. So to see so violent an opening to a story such as this is powerful, captures the attention and makes the reader wish to continue.
The way this is structured is extremely well done. The way that characters are introduced and the reasoning behind what they do it’s all laid out for us in this wonderfully natural way. Seeing so many sides of the man child as we do in succession is fantastic! It makes me believe that life is hard in this era and that the romanticised version of history that many adhere to just wasn’t the case. Instead it feels dangerous and unforgiving. A stark contrast to what is taught in schools if European History even is broached any more.
The cover is a painted masterpiece unto itself and Jaime J. Carrillo needs to do much more work because something this stunning needs to be everywhere. The interiors by Cryus and Bhakta is gorgeous as well. The linework here is superb and the way varying weights are used in both bold and subtle manners to create the look, tone, feel and mood of what we see is a huge bonus. The utilisation of page layouts which allow us to see the angles and perspective it the panels shows a really talented eye for storytelling. Also the way that backgrounds are utilised is perfect and the attention they bring to the scene undeniably enhance the moments and story.
While this is a six issue run there’s plenty of time to space out the story but the pacing here is such that it just seems to barrel right along. I’m not going to complain one single bit either because if it impeccably strong and easy to get swept up in. So that we see those important to Caravaggio being placed in danger or him to protect the one who loves more than any other and get introduced to his Uncle all of which is a focal point and yet none seem glossed over. This is a really stellar story and in many ways it makes me feel like I did when I saw Mike Grell do Warlord or Jon Sable Freelance and if you are familiar with those than you really need to be familiar with this!