Read Verano Indio by Hugo Pratt Free Online
Book Title: Verano Indio|
The author of the book: Hugo Pratt
ISBN 13: 9788484317982
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 560 KB
Edition: Norma Editorial
Date of issue: July 2003
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1521 times
Reader ratings: 6.2
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I had to mull over how to rate this carefully, and, boy, is this one hard book to rate!
On one hand, there's the story itself, scripted by Hugo Pratt. It's a gritty tale of conflict between English settlers in 1600s North America and Indian natives that starts when a white girl from the town is cornered by two Native young men whilst taking a walk and is raped, which calls bloody vengeance on the culprits. But although that's the opening plotline, it's not the central one. Instead, the focus is on the Lewis family, a single mother and her four children, and their vicissitudes that result from one of the Lewis boys taking the victim to their farm, which in turn becomes a battlefield for the English soldiers and the Indians.
The Lewises are an interesting family, and very messed up, too. The mother is a Hester Prynne type of "fallen woman," who carries her own "scarlet letter" in the form of a mark on her face, and lives in an isolated farm and is shunned by Puritan society from the town as she's never revealed the identity of the father of her four children. But unlike Hawthorne's heroine, she's a really tragic woman and whose true story, revealed near the end, is a gut-wrenching one and can be really hard to read. Her eldest son, Elijah, is the most likable of them all and the noblest, not to mention the only one that is right in the head. The two next, Abner and Phillis, elicit very conflicting feelings, especially the latter, because on one hand you can understand why they're so shocking in their ways, but on the other hand you might dislike them for that same reason. Their story is very dark, and it doesn't pull no punches, yet at the same time you feel like the author didn't waste ink in trying to romanticise one side and demonise the other, for both sides are at fault in this conflagration. But whilst no camp is clear-cut good or bad, the same cannot be said of the characters, for they're not all gray; there's black and white too.
So far, so good. And now we come to the art, and that's where I find issues to take note of. In reality, my issues could be summed up in two words: Milo Manara.
Had it not been for Pratt, I'd not have picked this up, because Manara I know well and have an endless list of observations to his work from all my prior reads. No, it's not that it's adult level of eroticism; there's plenty of artists who always are drawing only erotic or sensual art, like Luis Royo, and I love them. No, it's not that he is explicit, more so than other erotic art illustrators. It's that Manara panders to the most perverted side of men with his provocative and often problematic handling of dubious consent and non-consensual intercourse. When Manara is illustrating, it's all male gaze, male gaze everywhere, and nothing but male gaze. For that, he often inserts sudden and out-of-nowhere nudes, women all of a sudden lift their skirts and show everything, or appear suddenly nude from one panel to the next in inviting poses even when the story doesn't call for it, and so on. And it's so grating! It sours the storytelling up. He already courted a big controversy when he drew a cover for Spider-Woman in which he drew the superheroine in an overtly provocative pose (and it wasn't even the first time he did that, just the one that got more press coverage). And he doesn't stop at unnecessary nudity and shock, which in itself would be bothersome but depending on the reader it can be ignored for the sake of the story. It's that he crosses the line into depicting what's totally unacceptable from whichever angle you look at it: (view spoiler)[He depicts rape having the woman actually enjoying it, and it's not role-playing. It involves the same girl whose rape sparks the disastrous war between Indians and settlers, for she's forced into sex a second time again by someone else and this time she's made to tell her new rapist that he's not like her first rapists but better and she actually enjoys it this time round. There's many instances of rape in this book, but this is the one that was handled the poorest. (hide spoiler)] That's frankly disgusting, and it cannot be excused with any argument about time period mores as it has nothing to do with such. There's plenty of adult themes here, violence, etc., and it'd have called for a more responsible handling than Manara was able to bring forth. Other than that, the art is visually appealing and with a pleasing palette of colours; I suspect it's his talent what allows the artist to get away with a lot of what he does.
This isn't a book I'd recommend if you don't think you can take all this in. If you think you can have a try at this, or are used to grimdark storytelling, then consider yourself forewarned about what you may expect from this.
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Read information about the authorHugo Pratt, was an Italian comic book creator who was known for combining strong storytelling with extensive historical research on works such as Corto Maltese. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2005.
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