Written and drawn by Alberto Madrigal
Published digitally by Europe Comics (forst published as Un lavoro vero)
129 pages – Full Colour
Release Date 15/8/2018
The Story: Javi has left Spain for Berlin. He doesn’t speak German and hardly knows anyone there. He wants to be a comic book artist, but all his friends advise him to find a real job. He desperately needs to believe in himself, and to be believed. Burning with the desire to leave his mark, yet patient like any professional observer, Javi tells the story of his world, which becomes his first comic…
The Preview: I read this comic a couple of days ago, after Irina Polianina from Europe Comics kindly sent a preview copy. I have found that it has been playing on my mind since.
I’m not sure why, but images of the pages and panels are drifting back into my mind. I think I am being totally fair when I say that not much happens in its narrative – but that it is also totally entrancing.
Javi is a slightly lost character, full of the indecisions of youth. He is a little directionless, but believes that his dreams are attainable, but just when it can be accomplished eludes him. For Javi wishes to be a comics artist – a familiar story, for sure, but this is done with the twists and turns of reality added to some outstanding artwork.
Originally published by Bao Publishing in Italy as Un lavoro vero, A Real Job is a story told with a smile and a sense of melancholy, a book of memories of how we form ourselves into who we are and want to be. A book of friendships and personalities.
Alberto Madrigal creates circumstances, a sense of place and a group of friends and colleagues who you feel familiar with. The outspoken one, the friend for life, the encouraging one. His characters wander round small bedsits and flats as well as the gloriousness of the big city. The creator pulls out from a small vision to a landscape of vast buildings and personal opportunities.
This is a graphic novel that is not missing a sense of humour, mixed in with fatalistic pathos and combining these with a world opening up with opportunities and possibly, just possibly crashed on the rocks, might be his dreams? (No spoilers). You wander the streets and thoughts of Javi. Many of the faces lack detail and are mere iconic cliches but this is done with a sense of artistic style and purpose.
Float along in this artwork. It might take a moment for your eye to adjust but when it does you won’t want this book to end. It has a lovely combination of water colour, washed out sepia scenes from memories past and the lines of a caricature artist.
Alberto Madrigal was born in Spain and has been living in Berlin since 2007. After a few short stories and freelance illustration gigs, Alberto Madrigal debuted on the comics scene in 2013 with Un lavoro vero (BAO Publishing; A Real Job, Europe Comics 2018). He followed this in 2015 by releasing Va tutto bene, again with BAO, in which he tackles the estrangement of a generation fighting to affirm its identity. In the same year he illustrated The Story Tree, a novel for younger readers written by Gabriele Clima and published in the Battello a vapore imprint of Edizioni Piemme.
Most recently, Madrigal has illustrated the graphic novel Berlin 2.0, written by Mathilde Ramadier, published by Futuropolis.
• Head over to www.europecomics.com/album/a-real-job/ to preorder a copy
• You can also find Europe Comics on Twitter at @EuropeComics. Also, make sure you sign up for their mailer
This review first published on my own blog Never Iron Anything. Many thanks for reading.