Review of the greek comic book Le croque mort
Le Croque Mort is not a documentary comic. It is not a drama playing the niche of pathos.
Tassos Zafiriadis, Yannis Palavos and Athanassios Petrou tell a beautiful story alternating between nostalgia, realism, fantasy and sadness;
Because yes, it is still a rather sad graphic novel…
The cold room of the “Leonidas Funeral Home” is out of order. In the furnace of Thessaloniki, it is impossible to keep the bodies in town. The mortician will have to watch over the body of a man whose daughter is expected to be buried for two nights. Impossible to close your eyes..
A graphic novel about loneliness
It is in a contemporary Greece that the author decided to put his brushes and his pen to describe a country (his) in full crisis, from the point of view of an old man alone. No politics, no economy, the sequence of the plates is enough to guess the difficulties the Greeks are going through. The reader is easily projected in the current events and can dive into this story far from being banal.
Because this story is presented in a rather classical way, I can assure you that there is a very nice effort of differentiation on the whole second part of the comic book ! But I cannot say more at the risk of breaking any surprise.
The main character is very endearing and that’s the strength of the graphic novel: to manage to tell a complete story with very few words and characters. This is especially the case on the first part during which we discover our famous “croque mort” and its life too quiet. The cover illustration is faithful to the general quality of the drawing.
The line is fine, and the style “painting” of Pétrou is of the most beautiful effect. The color is also very well chosen, allowing a frank alternation with the famous twist I was talking about earlier.
So yes, the scenario is light, but all the power of this graphic novel lies in this beautiful and strange meeting. It’s a slice of life of a solitary man, having a job not conducive to meetings, that we enjoy discovering page after page by taking time to browse the drawings because of the spacing of the texts.
The end leaves us thinking and reflecting on the issues of family, isolation, old age… Themes much more universal, of which Greece is only the setting in this beautiful novel.