Outcast: free nos a malo, Robert Kirkman

Outcast: free nos a malo, Robert Kirkman


Is there a genre that Robert Kirkman hasn't tried his hand at? The bearded American author seems to have set his authorial career as a continuous challenge, based on the comparison with the classic topoi of fiction to arrive at their new definition. Zombies became his most distinctive trait, thanks to the incredible success of The Walking Dead, but no less important were his desire to rewrite the superhero canon with Invincible or to immerse himself in criminal atmospheres with the spectacular Thief of Thieves. Kirkman's inspiration knows no bounds, and from this verve of his came another comic, also published under the aegis of Skybound in America: Outcast.

After having experimented with the horror of the undead with The Walking Dead, for Outcast the good Kirkman has decided to refer to another great classic of horror fiction: possession. Declined in a thousand possibilities, from the great cinema with The Exorcist to the countless comic book proposals, such as our own Samuel Stern, Outcast makes the concept of possession its fulcrum. But as per tradition, Kirkman does not just follow a path that has already been traced, he only takes the first steps on the safe path traced by others, and then ventures into unknown terrain. A talent that is one of the strengths of the American author, which involves a considerable risk, so much so that, contrary to the incredible success of Invincible and The Walking Dead, Outcast has not enjoyed the same splendor. Not so much in narrative terms, where Kirkman has again shown his precise vision of the characterization of characters and setting, as in reception by the public, who probably suffered the loss of a more dynamic verve taken for granted after reading The Walking. Dead.

Outcast: possession rewritten by Robert Kirkman

But this absence of physical dynamism, of races and struggles for survival, leaves room for a different form of struggle, an inner war that pushes even readers to question their own perception of the world. The tradition of the tales of possession tend to contrast demons and angels, Hell and Heaven, transforming the exorcist into the hero who brings light and hope where darkness has found fertile ground. A narrative that sees in the Faith a constant presence, mainly of strength in fighting against the evil one, almost a sacred weapon against the advance of Satan and his hosts. Kirkman quickly emancipated himself from this archetype, freeing himself from a predictable history of saints and demons, preferring to investigate the most hidden recesses of the human soul. It is no coincidence that the series based on Outcast got lost quickly, not so much due to the separation from the narrative of the comic, but due to its inability to find a correct scenic setting to best show the deep interiority of the story.

To change the situation. it is Reverend Anderson, a local exorcist, who sees something different in Kyle's past. The gaze of Faith, we could call it, which recognizes a pattern, a divine plan in the violent episodes of man's past. A traditional aspect of genre fiction, in hindsight, which in Kirkman's hands becomes yet another sharp tool to move a not too veiled criticism of aspects in American life, where religion all too often becomes an emotional matrix herald of preconceptions and of precepts that deprive the individual of the right to self-determination, leading him to seek comfort in a compliant subjection to charismatic figures who are the bearers of easy solutions to complex dilemmas. A particularly evident reading key in the second part of Outcast, when the events set in motion by Kirkman take on a syncopated rhythm, overwhelming to the point of canceling a search for logic.

Understandable, given the theme, but in the first part of Outcast the emotional construction of the story is based on a comparison between rational acceptance and spirituality. Not necessarily faith, considered as the possession is not bound to the presence of demons, as to entities that move in the town theater of the story more like a cancer, a rampant disease that is incredibly welcomed by some citizens. Kirkman's intuition is to deprive possession of its root of evil, of demonic, making it on the contrary a choice, an acceptance of a sort of second life in response to personal dissatisfaction, almost a hope for a better world.

We are Evil

A heavy suffering, simple but devastating, found in Paul's trait Azaceta a perfect interpreter. Azaceta's tables are rarely broken by dynamisms and muscular jerks, even in the most agitated situations the focus remains on the emotional characterization of the protagonists. An enhancement of interiority that passes, on the physical level, in the search for physical keys to represent broken souls, often anticipated by fragments of drawing in which minute details are placed at the center of the reader's field of vision, whether they are a look, a gesture or an object. Azaceta interprets Kirkman's emotional construction at its best, he makes it the bearer with a personal violence, based not on the explosions of muscular strength, but on a construction of the tables that aims to animate the reading with a perennial, latent tension.

“What would you do for the people you love? How far would you go? "

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