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Book Review < Back

No Pasaran! vol. 1

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Vittorio Giardino
Publisher: NBM


It's been awhile since we've last seen the adventures of Max Friedman, Vittorio Giardino's erstwhile spy who returns in the three-part NO PASARAN graphic novel series. Here we find him in the closing moments of the Spanish Civil War, where Max is asked to re-enter Spain by the wife of an old, but distant friend who has mysteriously disappeared. The request is a particularly hard one for Friedman; he has little friends left in that war torn nation and he'll have his hands full keeping his own neck out of captivity. If only he wasn't such a sucker for a pretty face...

Giardino, one of the more effective voices working in European comics, employs a clear storytelling technique and mastery of comics language that allows his work to be translated and enjoyed by experienced comics readers and newcomers alike. His page layouts are straightforward, which allows each panel to contribute its own progression to the story without the need for head-scratching and deciphering. This is no doubt an exemplary characteristic of European comics as a whole, and contributes to their continuing ability to reach mainstream audiences. But few do it better then Giardino and his Max Friedman series of graphic novels, along with the A Jew In Communist Prague books, rank among his best.

-- Peter Aaron Rose

Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.


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