Curveball: love the sci-fi one-way | Review


Published on Feb 06, 2018


Curveball is a comic special that you have to at least note in the library: presents as a full-bodied volume that counts more than 400 pages, illustrated in black-and-white and the important presence of the color orange.

Published in Italy by Bao Publishing, this graphic novel has as its author the complete Jeremy Sorese, known to be one of the designers of the cartoon series Steven Universe (which is indicated by its lines, particularly its rounded “cartoonesche”) and for having worked for companies like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Cartoon Network and Disney Television Animation. Born in Berlin but raised in America, published for the british publisher Nobrow his first graphic novel in 2015: Curveball, to be precise.

From the title you might think that Curveball has as its theme the baseball, but in reality, sports has little to do with this graphic novel (the reader will discover the meaning of the word “curveball” during the reading). Set in a futuristic world, where the man is incapable of doing anything without the help of the robots and their energy (even a banal coffee), has as its protagonist Avery Burd, a waiter who works on a ship restaurant.

Avery hates his job, has a passion for motorcycles, and, above all, a deep love for Christophe, a sailor with a big nose, which, however, seems not to pay it. Living with her friend Jacqueline, whom dreams for him, the love story is perfect (not with Christophe, obviously).

While Avery is tormented by his feelings and tries to put an end to the relationship that never began, the war remains a threat in the background and, in the meantime, the robots and the machines seem to behave abnormally more and more often, citizens are encouraged to stay alert and to follow the precise instructions in the case of robots with attitudes unusual. All to avoid the recurrence of the energy crisis, which in the past has decimated the population of the metropolis, and the city.

The futuristic world in which he lives Avery is definitely not perfect, but it has a merit that the reader will appreciate as he advances in reading: the sexuality and the gender of the characters, both the main ones and those of the outline, expressed in absolute freedom. Citizens in fact are not called by their helpers robotic “Mr”, “Miss” or “Mrs”, but with a neutralissimo “Mx”. Sorese not put in evidence this characteristic, and, indeed, takes for granted: and this is one of the advantages of a Curveball.

Visually, Curveball is non-trivial: the narrative is based on an organization in cartoons very free, full of full pages and dynamism. Sometimes the comic does not even seem a finished product, but more of a storyboard, especially in the pages where the environment has a predominant role: even Sorese leave out the sign of the brush strokes, in such a way as to make it even more expressive and energetic to the story.

But, precisely for this reason, the narrative is sometimes a bit too confusing and the reader finds himself bewildered: it is not always easy to understand the future in which is set the story, especially because the theme of science fiction has a marginal role and the real focus is the impossible love of Avery, with no way out. However, this aspect lacks a certain solidity: the vagueness of the setting, in fact, is also reflected on the events of the protagonist.

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