LOVE - The Dog: the review of the wordless graphic novel

LOVE - The Dog: the review of the wordless graphic novel

LOVE - The Dog

The last work of the LOVE series by Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci, entitled LOVE - The Dog, arrives in Italy. A saldaPress publication that brings the graphic novel nominated for three Eisner Awards to our country, with the promise of soon seeing the other volumes of the acclaimed comic series on the shelves. Released on March 11, LOVE - The Dog explores the animal world from the point of view, this time, of a mastiff trying to survive in the wild Australian lands: a long and bumpy path back to the house that awaits the dog will show feelings of love and solidarity towards the other animal creatures that populate the territory. We were enchanted by LOVE - The Dog and now we will explain why.

The harsh law of survival

In the first pages of the graphic novel by Brrémaud and Bertolucci we see a hunter and his dog , a mastiff, traverse rugged lands in search of prey. Although it may seem that we will follow the events of man, the real protagonist of this story is the dog, who will have to gather all his deepest instincts to survive in the dangerous and wild Australian territory. In fact, here live numerous creatures, some lethal, which threaten the life of this silent four-legged adventurer.

On his way to find his way home, under a merciless sky and on a rough and dangerous terrain , the events of the mastiff protagonist are intertwined with those of the other animals that, like him, try to survive by procuring food for themselves and their children. The lives of these creatures, put to the test by the fairs that try to prey on them, will discover the strength of solidarity and mutual help thanks to a feeling of which we often tend to forget even animals are capable: love.

LOVE - The Dog: the power of silence

Accustomed as we are to the canonical comics full of balloons and sometimes onomatopoeias that highlight the actions of the characters with "written" sounds, it can be strange effect reading (or rather, admiring) for the first time a graphic novel like LOVE - The Dog. Indeed, the work of Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci has a peculiarity that characterizes all the volumes of the series: it is a "silent" comic. There are no dialogues, no onomatopoeia, you will not find any balloons even to give voice to a hypothetical narrator who describes the story that is about to be consummated. It is a risky operation by the two authors, but in the beauty and majesty of the scenes represented any verbal element would be superfluous, a disturbing element that would add nothing.

It is not necessary to read the various sounds and noises produced by animal creatures and by the nature in which they are immersed; there is no need to have dialogues or didactic descriptions: everything we need to know is under our eyes and it is easy to get carried away by the images to be able to mentally recreate the sound elements of the world they represent. At least a brilliant idea, that of the two authors, which if at first it might seem extreme from the point of view of a comic book, is instead a winner. An onomatopoeia, even a single word, would certainly have spoiled the atmosphere, demolishing the sense of realism and participation created by this illustrated story.

It is not exactly correct, therefore, to say that LOVE - The Dog is a silent graphic novel. Bertolucci's illustrations, scripted by Brrémaud's great sensitivity, speak with unparalleled power, making themselves independent of the written verb to which comics have always been inextricably linked. The silence that we seem to perceive when leafing through the pages of this work is only apparent. The world that is moved by the simple passage of the protagonists when they immerse themselves in a river or roll among the stones, even only the immobile vegetation in front of the events that happen around it, but more importantly the very actions of the protagonists for themselves and for other creatures: everything has an intrinsic voice that speaks strongly and tells us about a hard and wild world, in which, however, feelings (and not just pure and simple instinct) can represent the difference between life and death.

A graphic novel with a soul

In LOVE - The Dog the desire to tell a story is evident, scripted by Brrémaud in such a way as to keep the suspense high and welcome us into a world which has a lot to say. The pages of this beautiful graphic novel, however, also show another interesting aspect: a sort of documentary signature, which is installed on the fiction created, making the events narrated very lively and realistic. Leafing through the pages of this work takes us in a certain sense to the Australian lands depicted, providing us with the opportunity to observe some of the animal creatures that populate them in their daily lives and in their struggles.

Probably such a result it could not have been obtained in the same way if there had been another artist instead of Bertolucci: his is a figurative style, behind which a study of flora, fauna and its anatomy is evident, which contributes to giving likely to the illustrations. The colors favor the red of the harsh and hot earth or the green of the grassy expanses and waterways that dot this hostile territory, and give the feeling of not being digitally created, but rather hand-painted with great sensitivity and attention to landscapes. Both the drawings and the colors, thus, seem to have come directly from the pages of a naturalistic book, which shows a specific habitat and the species that live there, although here we are not in the presence of a cold description of reality.

The graphic novel by Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci in fact leaves a profound mark on an emotional level thanks to a story that does not limit itself to describing, but instills a certain degree of awareness. LOVE - The Dog is in fact a story of love, understood not as romantic love, but as community, solidarity, attention, affection. The mastiff protagonist is the bearer of feelings that, although we tend to look at them with amazement considering them to be a human prerogative, are actually an integral part of animal creatures too: yes, it is a narrative fruit of inventiveness, but what he shows us is a way acting disinterested, fruit of the awareness that animals sometimes have with respect to the fact that every living creature is fighting a daily struggle, and could need help in this, as our dog understands in these pages.

LOVE - Did the Dog leave us something then? Yes: a strong suggestion in the face of nature represented, hard and ruthless, but also capable of gestures charged with such a great meaning that it can sometimes be difficult to understand even for us humans. A small masterpiece capable of teaching us a lot, without saying a word.

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