Crack is a (slightly strangely named) alternative comics festival that happens in Rome.
This anthology is made up of people who participated in this year’s festival. There’s an interesting array of different illustration styles here, from abrasive, in-your-face euro-punk style of someone like Craoman, to the cuter (though slightly offhinged) offerings of Tsó and his little bird Pio Pio.
Like other anthologies it suffers slightly from the fact that the submissions are relatively short (most are under four pages), but there’s a consistency throughout thanks to both Marco Mendes, and his poignant four panel pages that truncate each section of the book, and the aforementioned Tsó and his little bird. It’s an interesting way of punctuating the anthology, and one that keeps the pace, and consistency, balanced somewhere between the insanity of some of the work and the more low level intensity the stories of despair.
Despair seems to be the general theme of the anthology. From car crashes, abortions, the ending plea of ‘Oh Lord! Please let me have [a man] before I grow old and my fingers go stiff and lame’, death, the church and unease. It’s certainly not a laugh a minute, but at the same time the intensity of the language, art and movement is enveloping. It’s a compelling read, and one that I was forced to finish in one sitting.
It’s also not all bleak Alexsandar Zograf, a Serbian artist known for his dream comics, gives an autobiographical offering of his day looking after the band ‘The Residents’; ‘Click’ by Fabrizio Lascimmia & Bombo is both cute and beautiful; and Federica Del Proposto gives a tale of requited love.
The book has English translations throughout, and the book is well worth hunting down to see just some of the comics that are being created on the mainland. The only shame is that there are no illustrators from the UK involved. Perhaps next year?