Wednesday, 8 August 2012

So I Read Casanova: Luxuria

A 250 word (or less) review of the first Casanova volume.
By Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba, Icon Comics

Casanova luxuria, more than anything, reminds of a mango.1 Luxuria, like a mango, has this absolutely huge flavour that is simultaneously rich and sugary and tart. It's pulp, not in the comic sub-genre sense, but in the concentrated taste sense. Superficially, Casanova functions as a superhero spy comic... think James bond meets Steranko’s Nick Fury meets the Beatles experimenting with jazz in the '60s. It's as groovy, psychedelic, sexy and acronym laden as you'd expect (Because the genre demands it!). I say superficially a spy comic, though, because like a mango, Luxuria has a secretive hard kernel underneath all it's juicy flesh. I get the feeling the Fraction and Ba are sort of deconstructing comic books as a genre in Luxuria, but in a nice way that literally shouts "I love comic books!”. Maybe reconstruction would be a better word? Regardless, the book plays with genre tropes and expectations in way that is very self aware and slick. Luxuria, also manages to function on this intellectual level without sacrificing sexy good fun which makes it both stimulating and enjoyable to read. Fraction and Ba have written and drawn something daring and beautiful in luxuria and everyone should be reading this. Everyone.2,3

Word count: 201

1: Manila mango, to be specific. It's the best kind.
2: Procuring Luxuria actually proved to be somewhat difficult as my local comics shops (there are four conveniently close to where I work) barely stocked Casanova. Talking to the clerk at one of the smaller shops (mostly a used book store), I found out Casanova doesn't move well despite Fraction's visibility as a "Marvel Architect". This is a sin against comics.
3: Seriously, if we buy enough Casanova maybe Fraction will start doing more creator owned stuff and that can only be amazing.

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