6 May 11 | Chad W. Post

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Grant Barber on Stigmata, a new graphic novel from Fantagraphics by Lorenzo Mattotti and Claudio Piersanti, translated from the Italian by Kim Thompson.

Unless I’m totally forgetting something, this is the first review of a translated graphic novel that we’ve put up on our site. There’s no reason that we haven’t posted more graphic novel reviews, except that we’re way too busy trying to understand the workings and philosophical implications of Facebook commenting.

But seriously, Edward Gauvin is a great translator of graphic novels from the French (and a great translator overall), and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be covering more of these.

Anyway, the first one to be reviewed is Stigmata, and it’s perfect that Grant Barber, Episcopal priest living on the south shore of Boston, keen bibliophile, and frequent Three Percent reviewer, wrote this up. Here’s the opening of his review and an image:

The novel opens with a wordless picture of an overweight guy sitting up on the edge of his bed in the underwear he has slept in. Unshaven, with an untrimmed goatee and a mohawk that seems more born from the necessity of hair loss than style, the protagonist who speaks in first person—relating his tale—is clearly a man living on the margins of his society . . . revealed to be a 41-year-old alcoholic who is occasionally employed, living in a boarding house.

The book moves quickly to the dream vision he has had: called into the presence of a looming, cosmic, God-Child who promises the man that his suffering will soon be over, and that he is now to receive a sign of this promise—bleeding from a single wound in each palm without pain or infection. He rejects this ‘gift,’ which propels the protagonist out of his boarding house, where people have taken to leaving votive gifts of candles and flowers and requests for miracles. He tries first for a medical cure, which brings imposed psychiatric attention, then life as an ordinary person hiding his wounds unsuccessfully. He joins a circus, falls in love with a woman who accepts him for who he is, loses her in a flood. Eventually finds some rest and acceptance of his condition working in a convent, tending the dead for burial and the keeping up the cemetery.

Click here to read the full piece.

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