Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Witch! (Part 1): An Italian Horror GN in English!

Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011) 

Some events can be so overwhelmingly traumatic that the mind simply refuses to accept them, and they are banished to the darkest corners of the human subconscious. This is the case with Fabian and Clare, as hidden deep within their adolescent memories is a secret so terrible that they can escape it no longer. Now, the time has finally come for them to face the terror once again... And the terror has a name: Witch!

Witch! (Stria) a graphic novel by Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011).
Witch! (Stria) a graphic novel by Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011).
In case you hadn't realised by now, the aim of this blog is to share. To share knowledge, opinions and information on comics - and their creators - that have simply not received enough coverage, or have just never been reported in English.

Comics are of course a subjective medium, just like any other cultural pursuit such as cinema, music, art or literature. But what is a blog, if not a method of introducing others to what it is that floats your own boat? With this series of posts, I hope to give you an adequate first hand introduction to one of the greatest and most enthralling comic book stories I have ever read ...in any language.

I won't make a secret of the fact that I would love the opportunity to translate comic books professionally one day, and even that is down to my passion for getting as many great European works as possible available to a wider audience. In the meantime however, I am more than happy to do it just for practice, and for fun. I hope my interpretation will do this book the justice it deserves. It is fucking dynamite!

NB: The number 17 is traditionally considered an unlucky number in Italian culture, pretty much like the number 13 is considered unlucky in most of the western world.... even more so in fact, seeing as Italians are particularly superstitious.

About the Author

Luigi "Gigi" Simeoni is an Italian comic artist and writer from Brescia, in Northern Italy. He began his career as an advertising artist, before subsequently providing his first illustrated strip for the children's humour title Cattivik, in 1991. The same year, he collaborated on the horror/fantasy anthology series Full Moon Project, before later moving onto writing for the regular science fiction series Lazarus Ledd. He was signed up to Italy's most famous comic book publisher Sergio Bonelli in 1995, and proceeded to work on such popular titles as Nathan Never, Brendon, Dylan Dog, and Gregory Hunter.

Witch! (Stria) a graphic novel by Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011).
You can run, but there are some things you cannot hide from.
About the Book

For the best possible reading experience, I decided it would probably be a good idea to include the edited highlights of Gigi Simeoni's own introduction to this graphic novel. After all, you don't have to read it...
"I am a child of Chaos and not only allegorically but in reality because I was born in a countryside, located nearby entangled woods, named in Sicilian dialect C├ávusu by the inhabitants of Girgenti, dialectical corruption of the genuine and ancient Greek word, Kaos." - Luigi Pirandello 
"The woods of Pirandello are kaos. Within kaos, everything hides, changes, blends together, dies and is restored to life. I wanted to write something frightening, something ancestral, and so I thought of setting the scariest scenes of my story in a forest. A story that I had written, attempting to capture an event from different points of view. It's a non-linear plot that progresses intermittently on parallel lines, before intertwining, interosculating, and finally resuming their own direction. 
Witch! is essentially a horror novel, although it is also a thriller, a psychological drama, and even a detective story... The reader is given the opportunity to choose whichever genre they prefer, to guide them through this book. It can be horror for whoever is willing to suspend belief, and to allow themselves to be led into the world of ghosts, ghouls and the supernatural. It can also be read as a journey into the labyrinthine maze of the human psyche. Or it can be viewed as a police investigation into a case that has remained unresolved for thirty years, for whoever prefers to maintain a degree of realism."
Wiccapedia

You shouldn't go into this book expecting to read about malevolent old hags that travel around on broomsticks. It is even far enough removed from the kind of diabolical harridans you will have witnessed in some of Dario Argento's movies. In order to provide some context, I would need to first point out that the original title "Stria", is a dialectical term, used in rural parts of Northern Italy (the type where many city-dwellers spend their summer holidays), and an abstraction of the word "strega", which literally translates as "witch". However, the expression itself draws loosely from its origin, and is used above all as a mythical allegory of unspeakable terror, often used to deter children from wandering into the woods alone at night.

For the record, the setting is based on the small, provincial town of Marmentino, on the outskirts of Brescia, where the author himself was born and raised. However, the area is different to many other rural, woodland communities around Italy insomuch as tales of ghosts, demons, and indeed witches, had reputed a little more credence than elsewhere. Gigi Simeoni should know; as a child, he used to spend his summers there too...

Operation: Sabbat-age


I therefore present you with the first instalment of this story, and if you enjoy it half as much as I did in putting it together, then I enjoyed it twice as much as you.

I've turned on the lightbox feature for this blog, as I strongly recommend maintaining an element of page turn surprise for the maximum enjoyment of this comic book. Alternatively, you can completely ignore the image gallery below, and just simply download the entire first chapter in CBR format from here.

Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011).
Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011).
Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011).
Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011). Stria - Gigi Simeoni (Sergio Bonelli Editore, 2011).

The second part of Witch! will follow soon and so, in the words of Shaw Taylor, remember to "keep 'em peeled!"

You can do anything you like with these comic pages; download, read, collect, share, and repost them... whatever! Just don't try and take credit for the work I've put into the translations, or I'll smash your face in.


All visual content is for demonstrative purposes only and is the property of the respective owners.

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