94 years ago today, my grandfather and great-uncle, Paolo and Vincenzo Cavallaro, respectively, and their cousin Vincenzo Cordiano, were involved in a shootout on the streets of Maropati, in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. It was during the Feast of the Epiphany in 1923, the year Mussolini’s Fascists became an official political party, emboldening thugs and “deadenders” throughout a country that was still suffering from the effects of World War 1.
My grandfather’s family, along with much of the countryside, were Socialist Party supporters, while their adversaries had pledged themselves to the new Fascist Party. The mood in the country was tense, and seemingly, it didn’t take much to ignite passions.
I used this family story as the basis for my 2009 graphic novel, PARADE (WITH FIREWORKS), published by Image Comics. PARADE earned me a Will Eisner Comics Industry Award-nomination for “Best Limited Series”, and it still stands as one of the books I’m most proud of: not only for my own accomplishment, but for the bravery of my ancestors in the face of emerging tyranny.
Here’s a video about PARADE created (what feels like a million years ago) by Bradley Hatfield. The “two issue” format referred to at the end of the interview was how the story first appeared in print, but I later remastered and expanded it while creating the trade paperback version.