Parade (With Fireworks)

Created by: Michael Cavallaro

ISBN: 1582409951 (Amazon)

Pages: 72

Parade (With Fireworks)

Politics is one of those things that just really makes no sense to me. Not political theory—I understand to some decent degree the ins and outs of various hypothetical governmental systems. I understand capitalism versus socialism versus communism. I understand monarchies versus oligarchies versus plutocracies versus democratic republics. I understand foreign and domestic policy and the reasons for supporting different perspectives within these spheres.

What I don’t understand is how things within the political realm come to matter so deeply to people. There doesn’t seem any reasonable excuse why reasonable men and women should find themselves demonizing left, right, or centrist. There doesn’t seem to be any real purpose to the vitriol with which voters who appreciate Candidate A will approach voters who appreciate Candidate B—and vice versa. There doesn’t seem to be any plausible reason that a person should hate another simply because the other holds to a variant political philosophy.

And yet, because our world is so often not a sane place to be, this kind of animosity does exist and from time to time feeds into brutal violence, taking ostensibly sensible people and turning them into monsters. Parade (With Fireworks) concerns itself with this very problem.

Parade (With Fireworks) by Michael Cavallaro

Cavallaro’s book is well crafted though slight. He relates a single story of political interest gone awry without exploring at all the depth that makes such a story believable. After digesting what Cavallaro offers, most readers will find the historical circumstance credible and the actions of its individuals plausible. Even though they are, from a modest standpoint, quite insane. Most readers won’t blanch at accepting events as the author lays them out because we all know how history has played out in the past and that wars have been perpetrated over such ideologies. Parade would have been much more fascinating had it sought to investigate the psychological framework of its cast rather than simply relate events as they happened. There is some treatment of those changes in political temperature that can be felt even across a single season of time. Cavallaro also broaches how deeply that alteration can abuse families and individuals caught in history’s maw, but on the whole Parade performs at a rather standard trot.

Parade chronicles moments during and surrounding its central event, the escort of a band from the center of town to its outskirts. It’s 1923: Italy—back when the fascists and the communists were vying for power in the wake of the Great War. Spain set a similar tableau at the time. Tempers heated and venom bubbled. And into this mess of passions steps Paolo, fresh from Chicago (and therefore armed).

Parade (With Fireworks) by Michael Cavallaro

It’s Epiphany and Paolo’s brother Vincenzo is escorting the band he hired from the church to the edge of town to protect them from those who might do them harm. Vincenzo is an important man and, as a communist, someone with rivals. Gato has never gotten along with Vincenzo and he and his fascist friends follow along with the band as well, harassing them along the way and demanding they play some fascist anthem or other. When this small parade reaches Paolo, fuses light and the title-promised fireworks begin.

The story, for all its lack of introspection, is competently handled and the artwork accomplished. If I had to guess, I’d hazard that Cavallaro held some kind of background in animation. This may not be the case, but his characters have the grace and composition common to those familiar with breathing movement into their drawings. Parade is well-coloured and Cavallaro is able to evince mood and tone with his sometimes dramatic shifts in hue and saturation.

Parade (With Fireworks) by Michael Cavallaro

Parade (With Fireworks) may not hold a lasting place in the canon of historical graphic novels, but it does capture the spirit of a historical moment well enough. As a terse read, the book can be digested wholly over a very short amount of time. This may be a positive or a negative depending on who you are and why you read, but for my money, I would have preferred a more thought-provoking piece—one that asked questions of our nature, one that demanded a reason for our reasonlessness.


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I am Seth T. Hahne and these are my reviews.

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