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Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #78 by Drew Barth

Looking Inward

There is absolute precision in Gabriella Giandelli’s lines. When we look at a work like Interiorae, we find the best of Giandelli’s aesthetic: panel by panel of precise lines and a focus on compassion unlike anything else in comics.

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Interiorae is about a single block of apartments. Inside this building is an old woman and her friend, Irina; various children and teenagers; a couple on the precipice of marital collapse; a voyeuristic businessman who watches people through binoculars; a family who had died in the 70s and never moved on; a humanoid rabbit who observes all of these people; and the Great Dark One who lives in the basement and feeds on the inhabitants dreams. There are stories woven throughout the apartments: from the unnamed businessman’s various affairs to Irina aiding an old woman’s dying mind to siblings arguing in the way siblings argue. What Giandelli provides for us is a snapshot of realism seamlessly combined with the fabulist—the rabbit who jumps through walls and windows to feed the Great Dark One more dreams every night.

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The quiet nature of Giandelli’s story and her almost journalistic eye makes Interiorae so unique. There is no judgment of these characters. In many ways, Giandelli’s panels become the windows in this block of apartments and we simply float past to see the stories happening within. At no point do we feel the same sense of voyeurism as the unnamed businessman and his binoculars. This is a testament to the compassion in Giandelli’s line and characters—a fly on the wall is a pest, but a rabbit sitting on the windowsill is just another part of the scenery of our lives. Her understanding of the inexplicable in humanity, the weird messiness that permeates our decisions and moods, elevates Interiorae into the realm of graphic masterpieces.

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Works like Interiorae and voices like Giandelli’s are what comics need to thrive. Her focus, her precision, her compassion all help to create a work unlike most comics on the shelf now. Using a single building as this focus creates such intimacy.

Giandelli builds characters from single moments and lets them thrive throughout the rest of the book in a way most other creators can’t match. And it is through those characters and her precision in rendering them that Interiorae becomes a necessary work in the graphic canon.

Get excited. Look inside.


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Drew Barth (Episode 331) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.