Yesterday I read my copy of Interiorae for the third time. Magnificently drawn and colored by Italian artist Gabriella Giandelli and collected and translated by Fantagraphics Interiorae tells the story of an apartment building in Milan. Most of the inhabitants are just as human as anyone else; they spend time with their families, make youtube videos, hide away in basements, cheat on their spouses, tend their plants in solitude. But they are not alone.
In Ms. Giandelli’s world spirits live among these unsuspecting people, performing their duties as is their nature. These spirits are free from the morality, disappointment, and pain that comes from being a human, but they need the humans too. The rabbit that you see is an observer of the people within the apartment building and serves as the reader’s fourth wall-breaking guide around it, and it is along with him that the story moves at its stately, atmospheric pace. Each frame of this book is rendered in delicate line work and gorgeously muted colors and shows the gloomy hallways that these characters walk down daily, the cramped rooms that they live within, the awful emptiness of walls and horror of a darkened basement, and which the presence of the spirits sends the entire vibe of the book into one of unnerving moodiness. I was struck upon this reading of Interiorae by the full magnitude of resigned broken-heartedness that Ms. Giandelli evokes as residing in packed-in apartment-dwellers everywhere; a feeling of being powerless to the larger structures that surround them, subject to unseen forces beyond their control and without even the dignity that comes from having a place to call ones own. I applaud Ms. Giandelli her ability to create such a magnificent work of style and mood and affecting emotionality.
I strongly recommend this book to any comic/graphic novel lover and for anyone who can appreciate art that views human beings with warmth and sympathy.