- Title: ‘Uno’ aka ‘One’
- Art and Writing: David Marchetti
- Editor: Michele Nitri
- Graphic design: Marco Cirillo Pedri
- English translation: Ruggero Vallini
- English translation editing: Iain Halliday
- Publisher: Hollow Press
- Date of Release: October 2021 (First Printing)
- Print run: 350 (Italian) and 150 (English)
- Printed In: Italy
- Number of Pages: 360
- Format: Black and white offset printing, with stitched binding and embossed cover
- Paper: A5 on 140g paper
- Release Price: €19.00
one is in the shadow – one is in the dawn
one is in the storm – one is in the silence
one is in the path – one is in the wilderness
one is in the conflict – one is in the love
one is in the observation – and sees one that stands alone
one gets closer – asks for a hand
together they walk – like only one
Largely dialogue-free comics are an intriguing medium, pushing the boundaries of narrative storytelling and expression. ‘Uno’ Aka ‘One’ from David Marchetti may very well be the best argument for the validity of the format – An exploration of an alien species reflective of the human desire for survival, community, and exploration.
The rough synopsis follows a group of human-like creatures who navigate the land around them as a cohesive unit. Morphing their bodies to move about the landscape, or partake in rituals.
The focus largely rests on one creature within the unit and their life and eventual death. This works in a cyclical manner – Part of the brilliance of the work, and the existence of the humanoid can (almost) be read the same back to front.
The story itself is sandwiched between blackened textures to further give the idea of the work being a cyclical interpretation of the brief yet profound existence of this elusive collective.
Despite the uncanny nature of the alien landscape, the physical features of the collective, their foreign rituals and the use of minimal dialogue, the subjects in ‘One’ are oddly relatable. Indeed, it is rather astounding how much empathy Marchetti is able to evoke from the reader through the largely silent mass of bodies that navigate the ethereal landscapes.
The strength of the message of the book rests in its lack of one. The reader is very much just an observer looking for familiarity in an unfamiliar world. Marchetti masterfully balances this sense of otherworldliness with the reader’s own search in defining humanity.
As such, it is a very contemplative work full of beauty and tragedy. Add the fact that the work is unending in its
presentation of a cyclical existence, and the value of the book itself is timeless and deserved of multiple re-visits.
The art within ‘One’ is deceptively complex, particularly when you look at the flow between panels and Marchetti’s ability to highlight profound or visually fascinating moments of the narrative. In fact, it is easy to see this comic as an animated film with how particular the art is in capturing the flow of every action and interaction.
To bring it back to a personal note, the panel showing the group transforming into a flower to hide from a large bird has a few successive panels where it shows the still bodies having a shadow briefly obscuring their form…
It was this particular moment that made me become enraptured by the visual approach of Marchetti – So much so that I found myself starting the book over again to give deserved attention to any details I may have previously missed.
Published by Hollow Press, the quality of the release is, as always, impeccable – The embossed cover artwork really pops and the high-quality paper stock speaks to durability. Furthermore, ‘One’ is a welcome addition to the normally more disturbing and cult-focused work that the publisher usually puts out.
Certainly, there are moments that would fit the general description of dark, but ‘One’ is a release that resonates a positivity in its exploration of human expression and visual storytelling.
Overall ‘One’ is a truly unique and unforgettable experience, filled with drama, tragedy, and mysticism. Its lush visual direction and idyllic presentation make it one of the best independent comic books I have stumbled upon in some time.
It is at the point where anything picked up by Hollow Press is worthy of further distribution and discussion, but ‘One’ may be their best-published work to date.
All photos provided by Adam Symchuk.