Ahrens – University of Copenhagen

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Jörn Ahrens: Fatherhood and Social Order: Igort’s "5 Is the Perfect Number"

With 5 Is the Perfect Number (2002) Italian comic artist Igort presents a graphic novel that combines stylistic elegance with a classic, but highly sophisticated content. Its graphic black and white elegance, added by pale blue and spectaculous lighting effects, rather seems to neutralize the narrative’s violence than to aesthetisize it. The storyline is repeatedly fractionized by reflexive flashbacks and dream sequences. Aesthetically, Igort invents a discrete form to merge the story with his graphic style –especially expressed in his compostions of each page’s hyperframe.

Igort tells the story of an old gangster, Peppino, who is looking for vengeance after the murder of his son. Transcending the motif of vengeance, he unfolds an interpretation of fatherhood and transports reflections about loss, justice, and society. All of these are related to Peppino’s identity as a father which is connected to his former being a hitman. Both are lifelong components of his personality, whereas Peppino can’t ever live both aspects simultaneously. Only after his son died, it is his existence as a gangster that comforts best his grief and reconciles both parts of his life. Igort creates a melancholic reflection on the status of intimate values like fatherhood and friendship within modern society. The motif of crime, thus, functions as a transmitter that transports and compromises these aspects. As such in Igort’s book art and narrative are mediated in a unique way.