A Love Triangle Crumbles in a Single Rainy Night
By Dan Brown
A short column this week reviewing a short graphic novel.
Ivana Filipovich’s What’s Fear Got to do With It? is from East Coast publishing house Conundrum Press, which has been coming on strong the last few years.
If you like graphic novels that feel and land like subtitled foreign movies, you will want to check this slender volume out. It runs 58 pages, but doesn’t suffer for its brevity.
The setting – Vancouver’s Richmond Night Market – isn’t foreign, but the “feel” of the book is. This might have something to do with Filipovich being part of the Balkan Renaissance in graphic novels.
“My main inspiration is (Anton) Chekhov,” the comic creator says in notes accompanying the book’s release last month.
She goes on to say that growing up in the former Yugoslavia she was fed a diet of “the best of BBC, great Russian movies, Quebec TV series and, of course, the best world literature and comics from both sides of the ocean.” She also counts Ingmar Bergman among her influences, as well as Salman Rushdie.
What does it all add up to? A moody tale that unfolds in a single night showing how a love triangle falls apart. The characters are the criminal Max, who may or may not be a crime kingpin, and his girlfriends Eva and Mia.
“It’s a (triangle) in which all characters are faulty, despite some of them being more likeable than others,” Filipovich explains.
Another way to put it would be, if you’re a guy and you ever thought having a harem of beautiful ladies would be fun, this story will make you reconsider.
The saddest part is that love in this milieu has been degraded to the point where to show devotion, all one has to do is buy the beloved material objects. “You always got whatever stuff you wanted,” an unbelieving Max tells Eva when the triangle crumbles.
The tragedy here is Max can’t understand why the unconventional relationship has failed – he spent a lot of money on his foxes, didn’t he? Isn’t that all there is to it?
And don’t get me started on how a single question rules one of the girlfriend’s lives: How will this look to my followers on social media? “I was born online. That’s me,” Mia boasts at the outset of the evening.
All of this is presented in a moody wrapper.
Filipovich evokes another film, Blade Runner, with her scratchy lines. The cityscape is drenched in ever-falling rain, which means the one moment when the sun comes out lands with force.
If you are looking for a departure from the same old, same old, I recommend What’s Fear Got to do With It?
Dan Brown has covered pop culture for 30 years as a journalist and also moderates L.A. Mood’s monthly graphic-novel group.