“The Pests” by Piero Macola


#Comics Are we all someone’s pests? The word is strong to open this album all in pastel and which gives pride of place to the landscapes of Northern Italy. Talking about our time, giving a different perspective on what the news tells us, is a bit like the work of fiction, but often we forget it in favour of a thirst for escape, fantasy or stories that do not express the harshness of the world. Here, Piero Macola deals with two difficult and omnipresent subjects in our time: immigration and exclusion, with great elegance and avoiding pathos or value judgments.
A triple plot for three excluded in their own way, around Bruno who lives as a hermit in a barge on the Po and especially away from the world. He sometimes does services for Maria, who has been living alone with her dog since her husband’s death and whose daughter has trouble getting her to move out of this isolated house. And above all, he will meet Anton, an illegal worker in Italy who is injured on a construction site on the black market and who tries to escape the mafia who want to eliminate him so as not to leave any traces… Several worlds meet in this rural Italy which resembles any countryside in Europe, where poverty and misunderstanding are mixed with xenophobia, where the injunction “everyone interferes with his business” is confused with closing his eyes on what is happening. A story that reflects on our time without argument or thesis: a successful bet to tell a moment of the life of a man confronted with a new situation that opens a whole bunch of questions on the world around us. A societal chronicle with the appearance of a contemporary tale, where nature invites itself, by its presence, as the 4th main character of this story.
Macola’s all-color pencil style is soothing and invites you to dream. He plays on both a simplicity of line enhanced by the colors and ambiences that give a tangible thickness to these everyday situations. But it is in his staging and his choices of cut-outs that he creates his own rhythm by varying the tempo, offering full boxes of sketches almost on the spot. The artist plays a lot on the ellipse and flashes, with a rather rare idea in comics, to play on perceptions, on the details of an instant or the memories that come to the surface: that are inserted in the middle of the present moment imitating the reflection process of a human brain that spends its time digressing.
These graphic and narrative choices give an atypical album, where rhythm has a great importance in front of a drawing that invites contemplation. A fairly simple approach, where the dialogues are reduced to the essentials. An album of successful paradoxes, with a melancholic and correct tone, which fits well into this wave of young Italian cartoonists who belong to the same family of authors as Gipi.

Thomas Mourier
” The Pests “
 by Piero Macola – Futuropolis – 
120 Pages – 20 Euros

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