Reviews: age, illness, friendship – Roca’s Wrinkles

Published On December 12, 2014 | By James Bacon | Comics, Reviews

Paco Roca,
Knockabout Comics

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The beautiful thoughtfulness of this comic, is hidden within its human charm, an artistic neatness paralleling it’s pleasant story, as we watch a most horrible thing, the inevitability of ageing and for some the onset of the loss of memory of one kind or another.

In Wrinkles we meet Ernest and Émile, there are just two very different yet good characters, suddenly room mates in a nice Care Home for the elderly, Émile welcomes Ernest, and introduces the reader to some amazing characters who live on the ground floor. For the first floor, is where those who are lost go, and if you go there while you still have your mind, you will loose it soon enough.

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The other characters of the Care Home, all have their own stories, and again using the artistic dynamic of comics, Roca is able to take us with them, while also portraying the plight of these fellow humans, with families, that they may see at Christmas, or in worlds of their own, remembering and celebrating past achievements or believing they are elsewhere.

The ability of comics to tell a story in a way that other media cannot is put to great use here, starting with the cover, as we see metaphorical memories in the format of photos flying out of the top of Ernest’s head, while he leans out of a train, that is the realised imagination of a fellow resident of the care home. Roca does some incredible work, while the over all draughtsmanship of the comic is really neat and clean, fine line work.

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Émile is a rather fabulous character, a bit of a chancer and trickster, while the one time banker, Ernest is very straight and at times mistrusts Émile, but truly they become good friends, in what short time they have, and we learn what friendship means, as together they try to disguise that Ernest is slowly loosing his battle against Alzheimers, tricky given the situation.

There are so many moments of hilarity, humour is used in all its ways here, to remind us that the travellers in the care home are human, and that they are also loosing some of their precious humanity to this pernicious, cruel disease.

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There is something so poignant, especially in the way the comic concludes, not actually concluding, for there are for me a number of endings, showing the reader how thoughtful people can be, and yet it is the media of a comic book that really made this story have an impact on me.

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Roco manages in one page to so unequivocally capture the sense that a person must have, as they suffer from Alzheimers that it is stunning, in the sense that it froze me.

Without doubt one of my favourite comics of the year, dealing with a very human situation, one that seems to be increasing in our society, while compassionately helping the reader in a subtle way to question how age is treated, bringing into sharp reflection how we deal with the situation of people with senility and allowing a researched insight into how they really behave, Roca warmly brings you into a beautiful but bleak world. One that could, terrifyingly, face any of us.

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About The Author

James Bacon
James Bacon is a train Driver working in London but originally from Dublin. He also loves comics, theatre, history and books, runs conventions, writes about these activities and has edited a Hugo-winning Fanzine.

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