CARAVAGGIO: A LIGHT BEFORE THE DARKNESS Review: An Angel with a Brush, A Demon with a Blade

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Written by Ken Mora, Art by Cyrus Mesarcia, Colored by Lancelot Catan & Beezzz Studios

Thanks to Bella Fe Media for providing a copy of this title for review!

Synopsis: His art saved The Church. Ambition exposed his secret lover. His Sword sealed their tragic Fate. The biography of volatile Baroque-Era artist Michelangelo Di Merisi.

Review

Admittedly, Baroque-Era artists are not my specialty. When Dan passed this title my way, I was skeptical but I found a lot to enjoy within these pages. In Caravaggio, readers get a glimpse into the secret and sheltered aspects of the artist’s life. His tempestuous attitude and rash behavior are not conducive to a very happy ending. It was fascinating to see how Caravaggio’s love / loathe relationship with The Church allowed him to live, and simultaneously live in fear of the Inquisition.

Though it seems hard to believe, a lot of the events depicted in this graphic novel are rooted in historical fact. Caravaggio was argumentative and participated in several documented brawls and duels throughout this life. There really should be more modern adaptations of his life story! Every moment is packed with action, tension, romance, and sheer artistic genius.

Overall, the story is difficult to critique due to its connections to history. I will say that there were a few moments where the dialogue threw me a bit, or I found some of the wording slightly strange. The layout of the speech bubbles was not always completely clear, and I found myself rereading panels a couple times after I could see the correct flow.

The art style is fitting for Caravaggio’s art style. There are a few of his works included in the book, and though they do stand out, they still look as if they could be a product of this world. A panel or two showed a somewhat odd perspective, but on the whole I was really happy with the drawing and especially the color in this book.

If you are familiar with Baroque-Era artists, or you want to learn more I would definitely recommend picking up this book. It’s a really interesting LGBTQIA+ read, and even though Pride is over, who cares! Read diverse stories all year long. It is tragic to see how some things haven’t changed in regard to public opinions of homosexuality even centuries later.

I would love recommendations for more biographical graphic novels! Let me know what I should read next on Twitter or Instagram.

CARAVAGGIO: A LIGHT BEFORE THE DARKNESS is now available on comiXology.

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