Can animals love? If this question may seem trivial and easy to answer, the question is actually not that simple for everyone, especially if you think aboutlove in the terms in which it is conceived by the human soul. In the series LOVE from Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucciof which the last volume from saldaPress, LOVE – The Tigerthe two authors try to provide an answer through stories that tell the animal everyday life and an art that paints its evocative features recalling its power and vital force. Our opinion is that Brrémaud and Bertolucci have succeeded in their intent, without flaws, with a realistic and disillusioned eyebut also with the sensitivity of those who know how to see beyond the ruthlessness of nature to grasp that universal feeling also intrinsic to the animal world. And that is why we would like to compile a small list of good reasons as to why to read LOVE: let’s discover them together.
Why read LOVE
Why read LOVE: as realistic as a documentary, as exciting as a story
One of the biggest criticisms of making animal stories that have minimal ambitions of realism, is to be able to avoid tripping over the different, small obstacles along the way. For example, humanization their actions or expressions; the attribution of verses that recall a real one language; the description of unlikely situations in which the animals always manage to juggle with skill. The series LOVE by Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci invents stories, yes, but by shaking off that thin cloak that usually rests on the cinematic fictionthrough which even a film that intends to follow the verisimilitude of real animal life often inevitably falls into those ruts along the path.
Several times nominated for the prestigious Eisner Awards, the series LOVE instead, it can be defined more as a comic documentary. Brrémaud, in the writing of the events that see protagonists from time to time the dogi dinosaursthe Lionthe fox and the tigeradopt the point of view of the observer which follows the movements of animals in their habitat, with their particular needs and interactions with other species. No fictitious humanization, no narrative naivety where the animals are “cute and cuddly” and all friends with each other, none attribution of “characters” to each species that they recall in some way allegories to human virtues and vices. In LOVE instead the real and merciless relentlessness of the survival instinct which has always been part of the natural life cycle. The lion is not ferocious and evil, but is driven by hunger and threats from other lions who intend to take control. The fox is not cunning and Machiavellian just because the classic fairy tales we were told that it is, but it is a particularly beast adaptable to numerous situations and habitats. And so on.
What sets it apart LOVE, however, from a cold and detached documentary? The answer to the question we initially asked ourselves: can animals love? In LOVE this concept transpires continuously. Whether it’s the power of attachment to lifethe tenderness of a mother who protects her children, the solidarity between two different species that have relationships of mutualism or demonstrations of compassion towards those who are weaker and destined not to survive: love is a universal feeling that unites all living beings, love for life, one’s own and that of others, and is made manifest in a exciting and meaningful in LOVE. The realistic vision of the two authors does not therefore disregard also telling what we often fail to grasp in nature, that is the feeling that, erroneously considered the prerogative of human beings onlyit is intrinsic to even the creatures of the wildest nature, visible in the little things told in LOVEwhich become great thanks to their suggestive power.
Frédéric Brrémaud is thinking about drawing this structured painting from life Federico Bertolucci that with a skilful hand reflects the narrative realism in his illustrations. So much in the physicality and in movements of animals, as in being able to give them facial expressions that are not too improbable either cartoonistic. LOVE therefore photograph the amazing how cruel beauty of naturethanks also to tables that capture the protagonist animals inside landscapes of rare majesty and charmlike the splash page that sees the plesiosaurs swimming together in a magnificent setting aquatic sceneryor the tables that make up the savannah illuminated at dawn, within which the lion moves.
There is definitely one meticulous study behind the realization of the illustrations in LOVEevident from sketch endings present in each volume: from those depicting each animal seen within that particular volume, complete with scientific nomenclature, to the preparatory sketches that show the construction of each script (We also recommend paying close attention to those in LOVE – The Dinosaurs, LOVE – The Fox And LOVE – The Tigeryou may find yourself some interesting easter eggs). The difference, in Bertolucci’s illustrations, is also made by the colorsthat’s not all they impose themselves on the eye for a flawless technical realizationbut also for the choice of palette that characterize each volume of the series. Each of them is able to carefully grasp the atmospheres of specific habitats, but also to transmit emotions deep related to them: the wonder in front of the magnificence and the pride in LOVE – The Lionthe amazement towards remote and grandiose environments in LOVE – The Dinosaursthe feeling of places as dangerous as they are fairytale in LOVE – The Foxand so on.
LOVE is a comic book series strictly visual, therefore it goes without saying that illustrations play a fundamental role. Federico Bertolucci, however, always proves to be up to it, with few differences in the stretch between one volume and another, without ever losing quality. Why do we say “strictly visual”? Why in LOVE there are no balloons. The word, the onomatopoeia, the animal verse: you will not find any of this among the pages of the work of Brrémaud and Bertolucci, but in exchange you have the power of drawings so much expressive to resonate in our minds the sounds produced by the figures and the environments that surround them.
Communicate without words
And here we come to another fundamental point: LOVE it’s a series innovative, who makes the story in images his signature, without using the written word. Because debase the emotion that is taking place between the images in a realistic and engaging way by inserting balloons or comic onomatopoeias? If the effect of the lack of the word can be alienating in the first pages, going forward it becomes clear that LOVE does not need the verb. Speech is superfluous, it is not necessary to underline sounds and noises. Some might be skeptical about that, but our suggestion is “seeing is believing”.
Why are the pages of LOVE they are not silent at all as they might appear, without balloons or other. The images evoke the sounds: the roar of fighting lions, the roar of the ground giving way in a volcanic explosion, the barking of the dog, the roar of the rain under which the tiger moves. Visual and visionary, LOVE is a series of comics that knows how and what to communicate by giving up our communication vehicle par excellence, the word, returning to nature all the pride that distinguishes it and that it would disappear by inserting various and possible “boom” or “splash”.
What it communicates LOVE? That so far we have always been wrongthat love is not the exclusive prerogative of man and it can take on forms and meanings that are unthinkable for us. Love for life, first of all, a primeval and ancestral feeling that man above all tends to forget. But it also communicates the importance of animal dignity: the creatures that populate the Earth are not the embodiment of our beliefs, myths, allegories, but living beings like us and as such they struggle, suffer and love to be able to continue to tread the soil of this planet as is their right.
… And then you help others
Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci demonstrate theirs passion infused into the project LOVE and give proof of theirs awareness concerning nature and endangered ecosystems. The proof of this is also introductions edited by authoritative sources biology, paleontology, conservation and protection of biodiversity. Each volume of LOVE therefore presents a brief overview of its protagonist animal made by those who study that particular species every day and who, given in hand, makes us in turn more aware and less naive.
However, what we appreciate even more is the initiative within which it is placed LOVE thanks to the two authors and saldaPress. In fact, each copy purchased contributes to supporting the ARCA Foundation “Animal Research Conservation in Action”which deals with protect biodiversity and endangered species. Part of the proceeds therefore goes to the foundation and the preface of LOVE – The Tiger is curated by the president of the ARCA Foundation, Cesare Avesani Zaborra, which provides a clear picture of the need to understand the dangers that threaten biodiversity. In short, read and get excitedyes, but also to help protect this planet of ours is something to seriously consider!