By Daniel Elkin

Terms. Definitions. I want to be clear about meaning before we go too far. I want to be sure we’re in this together. I mean, how can I expect to communicate what I mean if I’m not sure we are starting from the same place to begin with? So let’s be clear that you’re clear that I’m being clear, so that we’re both in the clear.

Clear?

casanova 2

Fuckity. I’m about to tell you that Casanova: Avaritia #2 is one of the most Fuckity comics ever created.

When I say “Fuckity,” I’ve already put you at a disadvantage (or, perhaps, you might go so far as to say that I’ve put myself at a disadvantage — but I’m talking to you, so stop thinking and listen). You’re either turning askance because you’re not expecting coarseness (crudity) in criticism, or you’re wrapped tightly in the bandages of your a posteriori knowledge as it relates to the semiotics of the base word (in this case, fuck) and have already spent this moment twitching through neuronal firings across your dendrites (and, if so, quit that puerile giggling).

Casanova: Avaritia #2 is one of the most Fuckity comics ever created.

To wit:

Fuckity [fuhk-eh-tee] adjective 1. the state or quality of being all fucked up (i.e bonkers). 2. having the rhythmic qualities of prolonged sexual intercourse, (e.g. at times fast, deep, and hard, at others, slow, steady, and undulating). 3. Slang, spectacular.

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Definition 1: the state or quality of being all fucked up (i.e bonkers).

 

Casanova: Avaritia #2 is one of the most Fuckity comics ever created.

Debuting in June of 2006, the Casanova series has, for the past 12 years, been folding itself into creation like an origami multi-tentacled cephalopod made out of lunchmeat, bouncing as it has from Image Comics to Marvel’s Icon line and back to Image where, for the past year, it has been on hiatus, leaving its fans in the throes of a cruel withdrawal sickness, willing to curb-stomp puppies for another hit.

Written by Matt Fraction (remember him?) and illustrated by Brazilian wonder twin cartoonists, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon, Casanova ostensibly follows the adventures of Casanova Quinn, a “multidimensional man of mystery.” Thief, spy, assassin, lover, gambler, hero, villain, brother, and son, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes not at all, he is, ultimately, searching for the version of his best self while quipping, shooting, fighting, gambling, loving, huffing, and traveling through the multiverse – all to a soundtrack punctuated by the songs of Teenage Music International and the sound of spatiotemporal holocausts.

Looking like Mick Jagger during the recording sessions of Their Satanic Majesties Request and acting like Sean Connery in Dr. No, Casanova Quinn is both a Bowie cipher and Fraction surrogate, working out the myths that lie behind the roles men explore and inhabit in the world and the consequences therein.

And yet none of it makes sense. At the same time, all of it makes sense. Constantly teetering on the edge of incomprehensibility, the Casanova series flings traditional storytelling into a vast pool of degreasing agent and rends narrative into a series of loops and possibilities, referencing pop culture and itself with equal vigor and vim. The reader is forced into an alternative dimension of sense-making that flexes muscles unused since the age of the Australopithecus.  In this, though, it persists as well as entertains.

In Casanova: Avaritia #2 the entirety of all this shifts in momentum, purpose, and truth in ways that are sweet, beautiful, tragic, and flat-out bonkers, making Casanova: Avaritia #2 one of the most Fuckity comics ever created.

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Definition 2: having the rhythmic qualities of prolonged sexual intercourse, (e.g. at times fast, deep, and hard, at others, slow, steady, and undulating).

 

Casanova: Avaritia #2 is one of the most Fuckity comics ever created.

There is a pendulum swing to the rhythm of Casanova: Avaritia #2. It is sensual and violent, hard and soft, tight and expansive. Matt Fraction’s writing encompasses compression and dilation, allowing the reader to flow from moments of intense frontal lobe concentration to  lizard-brained limbic satisfaction, culminating in a sort of semantic tension and release that leaves you metaphorically covered in sweat and needing a cigarette.

But what really makes Casanova: Avaritia #2 so damn Fuckity is cartoonist Gabriel Bá and colorist Cris Peter. Bá’s layouts and lines make this comic thrust and release — from splash pages to sixteen-panel grids to overlays and full-bleeds — in a manner so fecund and lush that it almost drips off the page. Were you to design a comic that shows people what comics can and should do, it would probably look exactly like Casanova: Avaritia #2. Cris Peter’s coloring in this issue adds an additional layer of sensuality. The oranges, reds, yellows, and greens that make up the palette of Avaritia, here, in this issue, are especially vivid and enveloping. Hot to the touch yet cool to the skin — the expansion of warmth, the restriction of coldness. It is beautiful to look at. Peter and Bá’s work combined makes Casanova: Avaritia #2 one of the most Fuckity comics ever created.

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Definition 3: Slang, spectacular.

 

Casanova: Avaritia #2 is one of the most Fuckity comics ever created.

I don’t know what you know about comics, but what I know about comics tells me that most comics don’t look, sound, or act like Casanova: Avaritia #2. If you ask me, more comics should.

I’ve been writing about this series for years, most recently mainly quoting Bowie lyrics to mask my inability to truly express how much I love Casanova in all of its iterations. I’ve stuck with it through publishing delays and swaths of time where it just lay seemingly in limbo.

Casanova: Acedia #8, the last issue released in the series so far, was in the shops in mid-March of 2017. Every week since then I have checked the Image Comics solicitations in hopes that a new issue of Casanova is slated to be released. I have stalked the social media of Fraction and Bá and Moon in hopes of seeing a hint that there may be something Casanova still on the horizon. I hold out hope that the series continues to a full conclusion. After all, there are still three deadly sins left to explore (Ira, Invidia, and Superbia).

See, I don’t have hope that humanity will be able to turn the tide on climate change before it is too late. I don’t have hope that the uptick in global fascism will subside. I don’t have hope that there’s a better tomorrow for all of us to embrace. But I DO have hope that there will soon be a new issue of Casanova released. I have hope that Fraction and Bá and Moon and Cris Peter and Dustin Harbin are just holding back, waiting for the perfect moment when everything (and I mean everything) is at its most bleak and disheartening, to bring forth all the Fuckity they got.

Because, good lord, don’t we deserve it? After all this endless shit, don’t we deserve something spectacular, something off-the-charts Fuckity as hell?

Something like Casanova: Avaritia #2?

Because Casanova: Avaritia #2 is one of the greatest Fuckity comics ever created.

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Casanova Avaritia #2 – What If It’s Never Enough?
Published by Marvel Comics (Icon) in 2011
Written by Matt Fraction
Drawn by Gabriel Ba
Coloured by Cris Peter
Lettered by Dustin K. Harbin

 

Alongside work published on websites like ComicsBulletin, Daniel Elkin runs the site Your Chicken Enemy, which celebrates and champions creator-owned and small press comics works. You can find him on twitter here!

 

Casanova Avaritia #2 was voted by critics as the 78th best comic book issue of all time! Read more about it here!

This post was made possible thanks to the Shelfdust Patreon! To find out more, head to our Patreon page here!

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