The September issue

Hypericum: the new EuropeHypericum: the new Europe

For The Comics Journal a read of Hypericum by Manuele Fior, the artist-architect who does love drawing a good sunlit stucco facade. A reader might mutter that the plot should be moving on, but the gouache painting is supposed to make characters hang suspended in their own lives, not moving very much at all. Doing without his usual sci-fi touches (although the bits where Howard Carter cracks open Tutankhamen’s crypt are vaguely Hammer) leaves Fior free to wonder how young Europeans should feel about their history, since at this point it’s not clear how much more history they are going to get.

In need of a finish Fior brings 9/11 into it. Not long back Bryan Talbot put the Twin Towers at the end of his last Luther Arkwright book as well. Both of them are more than capable of ringing a different bell if they wanted; Fior’s 2001 setting is pretty arbitrary beyond its number and Talbot’s story has all of time and space to choose from. Clanging this particular one from a contemplative liberal angle does tip you down the ceremonial Remember Me trapdoor, installed after the 2010 film did something similar at the end and left a lot of people wheezing for breath.

Fourteen years even further on, the sight of 9/11 giving some rootless young people a downer probably won’t be offending anyone. Since Hollywood still makes spaceships crash into Metropolis skyscrapers and falling men leap from rooftops just to go splat near Keanu Reeves—in other words still thinks about 9/11 quite often—maybe Fior’s European liberal placidity reclaims Lower Manhattan from the fear economy; probably only by an inch though. While 9/11 dust was settling the Journal ran a barnstorming article by R. Fiore who said the event was less like an ideological challenge and more like getting bitten by a rat out of the dustbin of history.” Hypericum doesn’t see history that way and might have been a bolder work if it did, but Fior pointedly stops before his softly painted introspective historians ponder any Middle East wars launched on their behalf.

Hypericum: the new EuropeansHypericum: the new Europeans

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