09/02/2012

THE BOAR - A COMIC BOOK ABOUT RICHARD III BY CECILIA LATELLA

In my constant quest for real Richard III, I've found out this graphic tale online. It is by an Italian  artist who happens to be also a Ricardian with a degree and Phd in Foreign Languages and Literatures. Cecilia Latella has been a Richard III fan since she read Robert Louis Stevenson' s The Black Arrow at 13. Later on,  she studied English Language and Literature at University in Italy where she researched, wrote and discussed a thesis about Richard III. 
She works in a graphic studio now. You can visit her at  Holy Grail Comics, her blog.

In the preface to  The Boar  (first published in Italian as Il cinghiale)  she tells how she came to create a comic about Richard III: "I joined the Society in 2003-4 and in June 2008 I had the lucky chance to take part in the Ricardian Rover organized by the American Branch. During the long rides from site to site, to keep myself busy, I started doodling little scenes featuring Richard, who has
been a favourite subject of mine for artistic  exercises for more than a decade now. In Fotheringay Church I bought a used copy of  Rosemary Hawley Jarman's  We Speak No Treason . I had previously enjoyed examples of Ricardian fiction but Jarman's prose somewhat disturbed my jealous nature by presenting Richard from the point of view of his mistress. In the following days of minibus rides, I sketched the beginning of The Boar as you can see it now, centring the story around Richard and Anne."


Leaf through the first pages of The Boar ...










The drawings,  all sketches, no colours, convey all the tragicality of the passionate love story between Richard III and the Earl of Warwick's younger daughter, Anne Neville. The story starts with a hunting scene, Richard is just a boy allowed by his father to hunt for the first time: he kills a boar. And a white boar will become his symbol once he is Duke of Gloucester, then king  Richard III.

The story is narrated from a very personal angle , focusing on the tormented, guilt-ridden soul of Richard Plantagenet  first as a boy, then as  a young man  and finally as an adult. The leitmotiv is his longing for Anne, his only love. She is the strength and light in his life, once she is no longer with him,  he will lose his will to go on living. Bosworth victory is not a merit of smart Henry Tudor, but a battle lost by a man already defeated by life.

The historical facts, battles and politics,  are just hinted at:  it is mainly a romance made up of flashes with many shifts in time. If a flaw must be found in this beautiful , original graphic work it is that someone who does not know the facts  may feel lost and disoriented. But it is such an atmospheric, gripping tale that they may be lead to search and discover more about this fascinating character: "Dickon", the man who will become Richard III.






Visit Cecilia Latella's Blog
Get The Boar at lulu.com
The Richard III Society

8 comments:

lunarossa said...

This seems really interesting and fun! The first time I've "encountered' Richard III was also via The Black Arrow, but not the book initially, by watching the Italian TV drama 'La freccia nera' when I was a kid. Thanks for your post about this. Ciao. A.x

MG S said...

Yes! What a nice memory, A. I remember I loved Loretta Goggi and Aldo Reggiani (my first crush on an actor?) and that beautiful costume B/W drama. I haven't read Stevenson's novel yet. Strange but true. A good friend gave me her copy last summer. I think you may know her ;-)
Thanks for stopping by. Ciao. Baci. MG

phylly3 said...

This looks very good! Thanks for finding it for us MG! Anything that makes history more interesting for young people is always of interest to me. Of course, I always love a romantic aspect to any story. :)

Barbara Gaskell Denvil (author of SATIN CINNABAR) said...

What a fascinating and different idea. Bravissima. I shall follow it up.

MG S said...

Dear @Phylly,
it is a very romantic vision of the personal story of Richard and Anne. And I agree with you, it may well appeal to young people.
And, @Barbara, I was attracted to it just because of its originality. "A comic book of Richard III?
I want to have it!"
And here I am, read it and liked it!
If not historically accurate, it is so visually dramatic and emotionally gripping. It may invite newbies to search for more.

Thanks a lot to both of you for your comments.MG

Cecilia said...

Thank you so much for this article! I'm happy that you liked it... Actually I tried to be as close to history as possible whenever there was the chance, but so many aspects of Richard's life (his bastards, his marriage, the fate of the Princes) are so cloudy that it's inevitable to make hypothesis while writing fiction. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

As a Ricardian from my teens, I have grappled to perceive a strong sense of Richard Plantagenet from history. Still not quite there. This does help, though. He is enigmatic.

fitzg

MG S said...

@Cecilia
Thanks a lot for granting me the interview! It'll be on FLY HIGH! soon.
Congratulations on your beautiful work!
@fitzg
Thank you for joining the discussion. Like you, we are all fascinated by the enigma of Richard. So many questions unsolved leave so much space to imagination ...