The Scribbles of Maicol & Mirco: meeting with Michael Rocchetti

The Scribbles of Maicol & Mirco: meeting with Michael Rocchetti
Black scribbles on a red background with a minimalist appearance, but which actually contain all the facets and dilemmas intrinsic to human nature: these are The Scribbles by Maicol & Mirco, collected by Bao Publishing in an Opera Omnia now in its fourth volume, entitled CRACK. Behind the immediate laughter they often snatch from their readers, Gli Scarabocchi in fact put the whole truth on the plate, nothing but the truth: raw, evil, sarcastic, filthy, tired. That's why we asked Michael Rocchetti, an author who also takes the place of Mirco (perhaps), to explain his characters and their vicissitudes. Which are ours too.

A meeting with Maicol & Mirco to tell us about the last volume of the collection, CRACK, between the existential dramas of the common man who has become a scribble and the background of the creation of the work.

Who are Maicol & Mirco

It is difficult not to be part of the circle of fans who follow Gli Scarabocchi by Maicol & Mirco on social networks. With over one hundred and sixty thousand likes on Facebook and about fifty thousand on Instagram, the red stripes with black illustrations have become a real trademark that for almost ten years, day after day, have told us about humanity in all its ruthless reality. However, if you don't know Maicol & Mirco, let's briefly tell you who they are.

Having landed on the web in 2012, they quickly conquered the public with flash jokes with a cynical but rather realistic flavor, pronounced by scribbles (literally) that take on the most disparate forms. All this, within red pages that could hardly have gone unnoticed, accomplices the sentences and dialogues of their characters who formulate reflections and conclusions on the bitterness and cruelty of existence while they are intent, sometimes, to commit suicide or to "cheat the next "(to put it mildly).

The only character who always has a definite shape is God, a triangle with an eye in the center, of which, however, the other protagonists are constantly searching or trying to evoke him through mystical doubts (and many blasphemies). In 2017, Bao Publishing published Maicol & Mirco's first paper work on the subject, namely The Father of God (temporarily abandoning the classic red page for the occasion to adopt a white background on which red scribbles stand out). However, it is in 2018 that the publication of Opera Omnia begins, whose onomatopoeic titles anticipate the opposition of the protagonists towards life: ARGH (2018), SOB (2019), BAH (2020) and CRACK (2021).

This is a collection that contains the strips published from 2012 to today on the social accounts of Gli Scarabocchi by Maicol & Mirco, which in the meantime have made their way into the comic world by collaborating with Linus and Smemoranda: a success born on the web that over time it has taken on an even more consistent form on paper, a medium that Maicol & Mirco have also used to publish children's books such as Palla Rossa and Palla Blu (of which the Ferragnez are fans!) and Gli Arcanoidi.

Ok, but what is CRACK?

We asked Maicol & Mirco directly, in the figure of the cartoonist Michael Rocchetti who assumes the pseudonym, to explain what Bao Publishing's Opera Omnia consists of in detail and to talk to us about CRA CK specifically:

This is an anthological work, published in chronological order based on the publication of the posts on the Facebook page. It is the entire work as it was experienced that is transported on paper for a simple reason: to be able to see the whole work as a whole. Strips that make up (although I didn't actually have this idea in mind) a larger corpus: the comic lives in time and the time we dedicate to reading the comic on the internet is different from the time we dedicate to it for reading on paper. Over three thousand and three hundred cartoons that with Bao we could have published in the form of “The best”, also on the basis of the audience's feedback on the page: Bao, however, wanted to bet by doing something that had never been done. First of all, by publishing an Opera Omnia (which is usually published when the author is dead or dying), and then giving the opportunity to see the change between the internet and paper, beyond the value of the cartoons.

The Scarabocchi by Maicol & Mirco therefore cross the limits of those rectangles that are our screens and jump directly into our hands in the red paperbacks of which CRACK is the latest addition, making themselves known even by those who had never had way of approaching them through the web. Scribbles that are born online with a "difficult" color for social networks to be understood in terms of rendering on the screen, although this has certainly not stopped Michael in their creation:

The truth is that The Scribbles were born before on paper, around 2000, although at the time they were in black and white. I got back to it years later for publication on the internet, but at that point I wanted to do something different, I wanted them to stand out from what I saw online. Red is actually annoying on the internet because of compression, techniques, etc. However, it has nothing to do with the themes I deal with. I never asked myself the problem of themes. We can choose what to read, but not what to write: those things were simply written for me. We are all different, beyond the code we can adopt to try to communicate with each other, we are all crazy and I try to bring out this "madness": in my opinion it is the condition for which one work is better than another and it happens trivially when you do something personal, without limits.

The evolution of a doodle

A turning point that we perceive above all with CRACK, which already from the title evokes a sort of "break", something that breaks to make room for something different:

The titles of the Opera Omnia are onomatopoeias, which for me are the basis of comics, the simplest part of comics and communication. But in fact CRACK is the moment in which Gli Scarabocchi breaks, it was born first in a more playful way and then over time it has taken itself more and more seriously, reading this book actually you notice that something has broken and what has changed. was there before. It represents the moment when cartoons have been most successful on Facebook, The Scribbles stopped being just a game and I started writing aware of the fact that there were readers that I would never have in my life in any other capacity. In this case, the title is a bit didactic.

The relationship with readers has evolved over time, allowing Maicol & Mirco to produce highly vitriolic strips, but adopting the language of those who follow the page of Gli Scarabocchi with more attention. Not just with fans, though. In fact, Michael Rocchetti explains to us that even with his characters there is a particular relationship, since their creation:

I am often surprised by what they have said in the past because by now I have written so many that I have not remember some more. And I don't agree with them every day. People think I think what my characters think, but I really don't. Some authors identify with their characters, while for me it has never been like this: I use my characters as explorers of something that does not exist, of stunt men, meat for the greater good that is the narrative. So I can afford to have them say and do things that I would have neither the courage nor the desire to do in life. This allowed me to change thanks to my characters and that's why they and I are friends. But don't make the mistake of confusing the authors with their characters: Hitchcock wasn't a killer, Agatha Christie wasn't a poisoner, we're just writers and we like to get our hands in places we wouldn't put them in reality. It would be more appropriate for my characters to speak for me now.

How I tell you about human reality

From the meeting with Maicol & Mirco the need to tell the disenchantment, the pain, the anger, even the fleeting flashes of happiness that real life brings to man. A daily necessity that translates into rapid and lapidary jokes put day after day in black on red, to give voice to shapeless characters, often with a beak-shaped mouth, sometimes crying:

Scribbles are part of my life everyday. Every day I dedicate myself to creating a cartoon with the phrases that come to mind even before falling asleep or while driving, and it is something that I will never stop doing. And how could I? I can't stop attending Gli Scarabocchi. I didn't bring my life into Scarabocchi, but I brought Gli Scarabocchi into my life and in this sense I only play the part of the notary: I put their words on paper, I act as an intermediary because they are the ones talking. It bothers me when often the author's name on a book is larger than the title, because what really interests me and is most important is the work. You may have been disappointed by a musician or an author you esteemed to discover that in private life it was actually shit, but that's the beauty of it. Imagine an infinite ca ** or head that creates wonderful works: it is the victory of art, communication and what man can do.

And it is the man who is the protagonist of The Scribbles by Maicol & Mirco, stripped naked, the spokesperson of disappointment, of moral doubt, often of the meanness that can harbor in everyone's soul. The author wastes no time in emphasizing the true role of man in the world, already placing a cartoon on the cover of CRACK that reads "Man out of history":

When I choose the covers of my books in general, I focus on one-line cartoons. Many of my cartoons are broken so I choose one that ends with a joke. The one on the cover of CRACK is one to which I am very attached, it is also the manifesto of the theatrical show, but unfortunately the facts repeat themselves so they are always current and reflect the current period. In reality, however, I use my comics to say more. They are not deadly or cynical comics, I am not interested in cynicism or nihilism: I am interested in what is behind it, so I use suicide to talk about life, life to talk about death, dreams to talk about nightmare .

Protagonist present in many of the strips by Maicol & Mirco, God, a figure also used in this case to expand the human metaphor also to the divine sphere. Presence that for some may be controversial, given the names with which God is often addressed by other characters. However Michael Rocchetti explains to us what his real approach to comics is:

I don't manage the reaction of the readers, because he manages himself. I have never had problems with censorship or bans and no one has ever been morally offended. Trivially, because readers understand that what I write is not an end in itself. It is a language used to tell something else, something probably higher; among my fans there are also people of a certain age, professors, religious. My characters teach that there is nothing that should not be told, because language is one thing while the message is another. In my scribbles there are never brutal images, in my language yes.

The Scribbles of Maicol & Mirco now live on paper, in the Opera Omnia of Bao Publishing: at this link it will be possible to immediately have the latest published volume, CRACK.

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