Golden Age tells the story of Rosa, a young girl in Northern Italy in 1946 who discovers an old, anti-Nazi comic on a dead solider and proceeds to train to be the superhero in the comic. I was confused what the authors’ intent for the comic was. Was this a political commentary piece? An exploration of how children cope with fear? What was the story? After Rosa finds the comic, not much action is explored other than a couple of quick training sequences with her best friend and sidekick. The comic ends with Rosa running home, so she isn’t late for dinner. It doesn’t necessarily need more violence or action, it just needs to clearly establish a purpose. For me, this did not happen. I also felt that the authors worked too hard to mimic a young girl’s voice, and, instead, the tone comes off monotone and stagnant. Golden Age has the promise to be a rich, sweet tale of childhood and coping with fears. Instead, it leaves the reader wondering what the intent for the comic was and where the authors meant to take the reader.
A truly successful element of the comic is the artwork. The artist uses a unique watercolor style for the comic. It instantly reminds you of the paintings you often see children drawing; the inside panels transport you back to those pediatric waiting rooms sitting next to the piles of mommy/kids’ magazines. The magazines always had a special look to them, unique to those magazines alone. And yet, Golden Age eerily and effortlessly captures a similar feel, an age of innocence, of youth. On page five we are introduced to the comic Rosa finds on the soldier’s body. They do an excellent job stylizing and aging the images of the discovered “comic,” so it looks like the newspaper comics of the time period – a completely different look and feel from the rest of the story. The style is so convincing, it’s as if you are reading a children’s storybook.
The danger in writing pieces with a child heroine is the trap of down playing the character’s voice in narration. Voice is key. If the audience doesn’t care about the hero or anti-hero, they stop reading. Therefore, you can’t dumb down children in comics. You must write them honestly. Rosa was too one-dimensional for my taste, and her journey did not seem to go anywhere. I would have liked to see more growth in her character. The story provided a world with a plethora of endless possibilities that needed to be explored, but, in the end, were not. Golden Age felt a little too “golden,” a little too “safe.”
Cecilia Latella – artist
Deron Bennett – Letters
Dustin Evans – Colors (Page 5)