The Wipeout by Francessca Ghermandi

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A surreal, hardboiled fantasia in an original graphic novel from Europe. One of the brightest lights of modern Italian comics, Francesca Ghermandi combines a gorgeous full-color palette of ultra-stylized graphics and a decidedly hardboiled, but very funny, story sensibility. Set in her crazy, surreal universe, The Wipeout is half Double Indemnity and half Mulholland Drive, a violent, dream-laden fantasia whose twists and turns will delight any adventurous comics reader. The plot, more or less, is as follows: Jo Tartaglia, who works for a global cleaning-products company, in putting the finishing touches on a revolutionary new fluid that would clean everything at once—the only drawback being that, when mixed with milk, it becomes a deadly poison. Nagged nearly to death by his harridan hair-transplant-obsessed wife Belle, he falls in with the lovely Virgin Prune, a lady with a possibly shady past who enlists him to help her get out from under a villainous loan shark (who happens to be an exact double for Jo): as you may imagine, this involves murder and mayhem. However, in typical film-noir style, there are plots within plots, not everyone ends up alive at the end of the story, and those who are dead ain't necessarily dead for good...

Ghermandi made her debut in 1985 in the daily Italian paper Reporter. Characters in her often surreal, stylized universe include "Hyawatha Pete," "Helter Skelter," and "Joe Indiana," but she is best known in the United States for her series "Pop. 666" (written by Massimo Semerano), which was serialized in the anthology Zero Zero in the late '90s, and the imported pantomime graphic novel Pastil (which garnered her an Ignatz Award for "Outstanding Artist" in 2000). 80 pages full-color.


About Francessca Ghermandi

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Francesca Ghermandi lives in Italy.
Published March 4, 2003 by Fantagraphics Books. 80 pages
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

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Despite the single-author credit, there is a real sense that Ghermandi the writer does not trust Ghermandi the artist to get her point across—much of the text either directly restates the action or stops the story cold with ironic commentary.

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