Last time, I read Day of the Magicians, published by Humanoids, which was a complex story about love, duty and responsibility. It was so good that I decided to read another European book. So, this week I read STIGMATA, written by Lorenzo Mattotti and Claudio Piersanti, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti, published by Fantagraphics.
Stigmata is about a man who can only be described as lost. After 40 years, he is drifting through life in an alcoholic haze. He only works enough to buy food and more alcohol. One morning he wakes to see he has developed stigmata. He doesn’t understand the stigmata, nor the people who view him as a healer and sign from God. He neither wants, nor can accept, the attention that the stigmata bring. Eventually, he tries to escape his world by joining a gypsy carnival, and finds love. But he learns that sometimes you cannot escape yourself.
The story is broken into three parts. The opening sequence introduces us to the man and we see the squalor of his life. The second sequence shows the man finding love amongst the gypsies before his past starts to destroy him. Finally, the third sequence is an impressionistic display about the man finding redemption and coming to terms with the events in his life. While this sounds like something you’ve read before, Mattotti’s art is like nothing you have ever seen. It drives the book as much as the story does.