Two giant robots battle it out in a European metropolis; an engineer is asked to inspect something unusual at a marble quarry; a recently relocated father loses his young son in Berlin’s Tempelhof Park; the painter Arnold Böcklin takes a trip before he paints his famous masterpiece, The Island of Death; and, an immigrant grandmother tells the story of how she escaped war in Indochina. Blackbird Days is rounded out with an autobiographical snapshot of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, Fior’s home.
MANUELE FIOR was born in Cesena (Italy) in 1975 and currently lives in Paris. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Le Monde, and La Republica. He was nominated for an LA Book Prize.
The book alternates between unconventional pen-and-ink sequential panels that take place in the artist’s present self as he converses with the past; and full-color, acrylic paintings in the manner of David Hockney and Edward Hopper recreating his recollection of that same past. Whatsa Paintoonist? is a masterpiece of concision, remembrance, imagination, and artistry, imbued with the love of life and the love of the artist’s own life.
Die Laughing, which is executed in stark black and white, takes aim at everyone and everything in its scathing critique of modern life, but is particularly ruthless toward animal abusers, the military industrial complex, and death penalty enthusiasts. Franquin’s loose but meticulous line work features expressionistic shadows and silhouettes that infuse his depressed, repressed, and oppressed characters with a disturbing manic energy. Die Laughing is filled with visual gags and gag-inducing visuals that will haunt you.