Salome, deliver us from good | Our first impressions

Emanuele Caponera proves to be a cartoonist with an immediate talent, with a lot of references and influences, even authoritative ones, echoes of Titian slaves and the gloomy stories of the former Dylan Dogbut also of the folk horror from Arthur Machen or of the cinema of Robert Eggerswho with his feature film The Witch has brought to the fore a genre that has come back into vogue in recent years.

Salome she is a heroine pulp placed in context dark fantasy And folk horror. More than heroin, it is more correct to speak of anti-heroine, the protagonist has in fact a lot of characteristics that make her the female version of a typical anti-hero of cinema of a certain type, such as John Carpenter and its iconic Jena Plissken (Snake in the original), characters who have the characteristic of being “tough”, who act according to their own morality, and do not adhere to traditional morality which often turns out to be corrupt and more wicked than the wicked themselves.

The same happens in Salome – deliver us from good, in several scenes during which the protagonist is revealed to be a witch only in appearance. She is introduced to us as a “friend of the witches,” and she reveals to them, after beheading a boy during sexual intercourse, that she is not at all pleasant to kill.

Salomè and the setting of the cartoon

Salome she is foul-mouthed, she speaks with the accent of the author’s area, who is from Velletri, and the same Emanuele Caponera said he transposed his female alter ego into this comic. The protagonist is a bit anachronistic compared to the era in which the comic is set, deliberately, to provide an element of originality and suspension of disbelief, not to make it too historical, and to be able to give shape to a sui generis character, which makes it light-hearted and sarcastic, but no less dark. The colors used are often red and black, in contrast to each other, the night is always something reddish like blood, with pitch black figures who inhabit it and who wander among the shadows. Salome is a name that recalls a very important female character in Herod’s dynasty, she was in fact a Jewish princess, also the protagonist of a tragedy written by Oscar Wilde.

The story takes place in a village populated by superstitions, crows and above all witches, in a medieval setting, even if the historical period is never specified and the supernatural element is also fundamental for the aetiology of the setting and world-building of the cartoon. Salomea Mediterranean beauty who speaks, moves, acts like a character of today, especially in speech and curses and not like a medieval woman, is at the service of these witches who live in the woods on the edge of the village.

Not all women in the Middle Ages were the angelic woman of Dante and Petrarch, but they were much more similar to the female figures of Boccaccio, and femininity does not mean kindness, it means energy, certainly a woman so free and independent in her manners and style of life at the time could easily be accused of witchcraft, the character is therefore historically plausible, but at the same time the author gives her aspects and characteristics that are in total contrast to the villagers. Salome she is in fact linked to the earth, to nature, to the creatures of the woods, she looks more like a daughter of the forest than a villager, she is both in speech and in appearance, a different character who stands out from the others who we see in the comics, also with respect to the witches, making it the founding element of the whole story and around which the whole supernatural part of the setting moves.

The magic and the dark of witchcraft and the idea of ​​pact with creatures that take the form of beasts, but that come from other planes of reality, are masterfully expressed. Visually the stroke and the drawings go from being minimal and with very marked dark lines, almost caricatured, when we see the human characters, to a representation, always quite essential, but softer and more detailed of the various supernatural creatures. The style is always homogeneous and very personal and original, and changes according to the needs of the plot and the atmosphere that the author wishes to convey, transporting the reader who easily manages to immerse himself in the shadows and contrasts between the red sky and the trees black and bare, the forms of the beautiful Salome and the horrific elements more visually related to a concept of horror very similar to that of video games such as dark souls And Bloodbornewhich the author himself mentions in an interview in the special contents at the end of the volume.

It is therefore a comic that is striking for the archetypal and horrific figures that are put into play, a woman, above all, at the service of witches, a symbol of everything connected to the irrational. We see a wolf, a goat, which represents the Devil, the Evil One, Lucifer, a shape-shifting crow, typical images and atmospheres of the folk horror western, at a certain point we also see a sabbath, in short, the story and the setting add nothing new to the genre, but follow a well-defined and consolidated trend over the years, also in literature, as well as in the world of comics.

The author claims to have been inspired a lot by as well Berserkalthough the drawings and style are completely different, in my opinion I think he mentioned it precisely because it is one of the most influential works in the genre dark fantasy with tendencies tohorrorfor sure Emanuele Caponera refers to the dark atmosphere and the mixture of real and unreal typical of the manga. In all Salome – deliver us from the goodin fact, the supernatural element mixes with everyday life, with normality, and the world of this comic is immersed in this almost dreamlike setting, made up of very strong symbols, even at an unconscious level, while reading the author has the ability to immerse the reader in the story of this girl with thick curly black hair, with a simple plot, but with plots and characteristics that make her fascinating and intriguing, with typical implications of the genre folk horror.

Considerations

Why read this comic, then, if it seems very classic in its plot and setting, as well as in the symbols used (the goat, the wolf, the raven)? For Salomeshe is the original element and the keystone of the whole story, and despite Emanuele Caponera refers to the typical stylistic features of the genre manages to create something new, just through the protagonist who lightens the gloomy atmosphere with her easy way, with her speech, the reader sees himself again in the protagonist character who provides a look, a point of view, very similar to ours, also for plot reasons that I’m not here to specify so as not to spoil too much. We therefore have this medieval village of peasants surrounded by witches, superstitions, crows, nights where wolves are heard howling in the distance, and then Salomemodern, contemporary, one of us, beautiful, carnal, real, a character you get attached to easily, who has a solid, simple, but convincing background, and with many facets, more than they appear from the role of anti-hero to which adheres in the first pages of the comic.

Salome – deliver us from good is a comic that is visually striking for its colors and drawings, the author has a trait and a style of his own, perhaps because he is self-taught, and as also happens in music, those who are self-taught often develop a completely personal style, influenced by many other authors of the genre, but with that very particular attitude and with his own personality which, in this case, successfully asserts itself, he is one who has read many comics, and it shows, and manages to take all his baggage of knowledge and to transpose it with his own personal style in the tables concerning the stories of Salome.

Salome, deliver us from good | Our first impressions