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Notes for a War Story

(GIPI Opera Completa - Repubblica #6)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,092 ratings  ·  100 reviews
"The war arrived in our village on the 18th of January. Obviously there were other wars going on, but they didn't have anything to do with us. There were wars for blacks. Wars for Arabs. Wars for Slavs. Our war started on the 18th of January, and in a few days, everything had changed."

So recounts Giuliano, a loner among outsiders, one of three young drifters caught up in t
Paperback, 128 pages
Published August 7th 2007 by First Second (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,092 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I hadn't loved Gipi's follow up to this, Garage Band, which is about boys drifting optimistically into getting together a rock band, eh, nice art, though… so didn't anticipate liking this that much and ending up liking it quite a bit more. Darker, someone else here (Sam Q?) said it reminded of The Lord of the Flies, because it involved teenaged boys that drift somewhat optimistically into an opportunistic life at the edge of a gang during an endless war. Three boys, one of them from a bit more m ...more
Dov Zeller
This is a story about young men and desperation and I would go so far as to say, about what happens in a bleak masculine landscape of emotional and spiritual starvation.

Three young men Giuliano, Stefano and Christian, are stalking a brutalized territory for any sign of nourishment. They may not see it this way, but what they are really starving for is a community with a clear hierarchy, one in which they have a clear role to play, in which they are valued, contributing members. The moment they
Sam Quixote
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the story of 3 young men in an unnamed war-torn country trying to survive the conflict. They meet a local gangster and begin working for him. The narrator is a middle class boy who's left his family to be with his friends, both of whom are orphans. One of the orphans called Little Killer becomes leader of their small group as they become gangsters themselves. Eventually they become involved as freedom fighters in the conflict but the narrator is separated from his two friends. He returns ...more
Aug 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Maybe I should just find the list of what's won best book at Angouleme each year and go by that for a while because they certainly seem to have taste. I wasn't really looking forward to reading this, with its William Steig-esque art and its serious subject matter (war in an unidentified Balkan country), but it really grabbed me. For one thing, Gipi's art has a real depth to it. The drawing bit might be scritchy-scratchy, but the oils (yes, oils) that overlay it suggest night and rain and Europe ...more
Colleen Venable
Apr 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
The last page of this book seriously put chills up my spine. I was luke-warm to the story up until that point, but the ending was stellar. (No cheating and just reading the ending now!)
Oct 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Unless there are any last minute surprises, Gipi's Notes for a War Story is my book of the year.

Kept me thinking long after I put the book down.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-comics
This one is great, but Land of the Sons by Gipi is even better (and darker). The art in Notes for a War Story is great. The size of the page (paperback) is too small to do it justice.
Mike Fiore
Gipi's "Notes for a War Story" recounts the tale of three friends in a country torn by civil war. The friends start out as the run-of-the-mill ruffians you would expect to find in a previous warzone, trying to find ways to get by. They stumple across a set of jumper cables and other miscellaneous car maintenance materials and decide to try to find a buyer. That buyer changed their lives. A militia soldier named Phoenix not only bought the car parts, but took the three under his wing as militia t ...more
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Blown away.

Fabulous artwork, yes it is oils, amazing dialogue and a truly eye opening account of youth in war. The three main characters represent the very worst of an impressionistic youth and how we as humans try to survive abandonment, false unity and ideology. Anorexic in detail and unashamedly masculine throughout the book, Gipi portrays pain, isolation and tragedy of conflict on society without ever really going in to detail of a / any / the war beyond three young boys lives.

Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Gorgeous monochrome artwork with what I thought was done in watercolour until I read the afterword, turns out is was all done in oils(?!!) compliments the harsh tale of 3 teenage lads trying to stick together and fit in as an unnamed civil war takes place around them.

I'm off to buy more of Gipi's stuff.
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best graphic novels that I have ever read. Taught me a lot about the power of the medium. It's a totally unique tone that I have never felt before, even if the drawings lack the deft hand of a master cartoonist. Phenomenal. ...more
Dec 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ggnft
If I had to choose one Gipi book to make our GGNFT list, this would be it. Great story, engaging, and a hard look at the way war affects young men, and the idea of war versus the reality of war.
Jun 24, 2010 rated it did not like it
I just don't find Gipi's humans appealing or relatable at all. Too many sharp noses and unibrows. Or maybe I was feeling lazy the night I picked it up. I like his landscapes. ...more
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Did not know when I checked it out that it's part of a series...
And it actually works well as a standalone. I didn't feel like I needed to read the others to understand this Graphic Novel story.
The main characters are varied, kind of stereotypical, but I felt that they are relatable anyway...
There's a tough guy, an orphan, and a rich kid... three boys.
Very well thought out book. It's about boys trying to get by on their own during a war. You don't see much of the war itself, but you still see
Mark Schlatter
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: friend_loan
A short coming-of-age tale that meshes with the start of a war in an unnamed Balkan state. However, you never see the war --- just the work of petty criminals as they get closer and closer to the conflict. You follow three young men in various stages of family abandonment as they search for meaning and community with men who will eventually become mercenaries and war criminals.

It's a compelling work, but it felt incomplete to me. (From the written material in the back, that may be Gipi's choice
Alden Bertinet
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the story of 3 young men in an post war country trying to survive the conflict. They meet a local gangster and begin working for him. The narrator is a boy who's left his family to be with his friends, both of whom are orphans. One of the boys called Little Killer becomes leader of their small group as they become gangsters themselves. He returns home to his family rather than fight. He never sees his two friends again. I think this is a great book for anyone who like realistic graphic n ...more
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I liked how the book explores the feelings and paths of the three youths. It's very interesting to understand their life choices when we realize they are boys without family, money or support. (And to see how Giuliano never really fits.) Also, liked the way Gipi explores Felix as a role model to the boys, and how they admire him, because they have that lack in their lifes. ...more
Nicholas Betz-Thorn
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
The end of World War II, for many, inspired hope that brutal wars and civil conflicts were over. These hopes were quickly dashed by the Korean War and were thoroughly destroyed by the long, destructive conflict in Vietnam. No continent was untouched by this wave of guerilla warfare and civil unrest. Africa, North America, South America, and- eventually- Europe all found themselves touched by the defining phenomena of the 20th century. The various waves of unrest inspired many works of literature ...more
Jared Shless
May 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Notes for a War Story, by "Gipi," is a brief, but detailed analysis and reflection on how war can change one's life. In this instance, the victims of war were teenagers - and every aspect of their life became unique in response to the everyday violence they had to face. Though the graphic novel provides an interesting story, there are some aspects of the book that are disappointing. For example, most of the scenes do not dare to differ from one another: violent, profanity-infused conflict, with ...more
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The story of Notes for a War Story centers around three young men, Giuliano, Christian, and Stefano (aka Little Killer), who are somewhat aimlessly wandering through their war-ravaged country. They become involved with a thug named Felix who provides them with jobs and also a sense of purpose in this barren landscape. While I did not find the actual plot that original, I don 19t think the plot is the point. Gipi 19s story is much more character- and theme-focused than anything else, and that is ...more
Rebecca Plaza
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Such a queer atmosphere, with it's unnamed place and loosely sketched boys. I can see this being a story that would compel some readers-those of us that see things to their end, but not enough about the characters for me to care, to feel their de-evolution as it were. ...more
Sarah Beaudoin
Apr 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Notes for a War Story covers the experiences of three friends in the war torn Balkans as they move from teenage hoodlums to organized criminals working for a local crime boss. They travel far from home, shake people down for money, deliver packages, and make more money than any of them have ever seen. As a result, they are increasingly drawn into the lifestyle until the final climax when the war comes to their town and they join the rebel militia, believing this will position them for even great ...more
Matt Graupman
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
So I read this a few days ago but I'm just getting around to writing a review now which is probably a good thing for this book. Had I rated it right away, I'd probably have given it three stars but, having had the chance to reflect on it a bit, I bumped it up to four stars. "Notes For A War Story" didn't "wow" me as I was reading it, it's not that kind of in-your-face book, but it had a really powerful ending that ended up sticking with me and altering my whole perception of the book. It's defin ...more
Randal Schmidt
Jun 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Good story set during an unnamed war, presumably in the Balkans. I enjoyed reading this book, and I would recommend it based on the intensity of the atmosphere created throughout and for the character development of the three main characters.

As a graphic novel, however, its artwork is pretty terrible. It's so bad as to almost make me want to warn people away. I mean, I get that the artist has a "style," but I have seen similar styles done much better elsewhere. The cartoonish stylized people do
Jul 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Notes for a War Story is a graphic novel that discusses the trials of being a teenager growing up in a "war zone." The narrator Giuliano, is a boy of 17 who is trying to figure out where his place is during the war. Is his place with his friends as they steal, deliver mysterious packages, and collect debts for a man they barely know to make ends meet, or is it at home with his computer, comfortable home, and parents where all the comforts of home are available?

According to Giuliano's friends Ste
Well I don’t know where to start with this book. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it. I don’t like it but I don’t hate it. I think I understood what happened through the novel but to tell you the truth I’m really not sure. From what I could gather rich kid leaves his family joins a, what I would call gang and then they go to try and sell some car parts and during this whole time they are in a war. They can’t sell the parts so they go to this bigger “gang” and these people take them in and s ...more
Dani Shuping
short notes for review: I'm a bit torn about what to make of this book as I feel like I'm thrown into the middle of a story without any idea of where I've landed, the time period, or anything else. Part of my troubles maybe that the book was originally written in another language and I've always found it difficult for graphic novels to be translated to other languages, in part because not only are you translating the words, but in some ways you have to translate the images as well as the visual ...more
Dec 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers
Shelves: graphicnovels
An extremely heartfelt piece that balances its realistic monotone oil-painted settings with a skilled stylization of its human characters. Its a coming of age story set in the midst of a war in the Balkans in which the teenage narrator Giuliano and his friends Christian and Little Killer wander the landscape surveying bombed out villages and dodging soldiers. They eventually cross paths with a slick war-profiteer named Felix who takes a liking to Little Killer in particular and sends the three o ...more
I was hoping that this book would be an account of the Balkan conflict suitable for teens- its not.

However, this book does get into the more general theme of gang violence and the question of choice.

What I like is that the characters acknowledge both the positive and negative things that come from running with a gang. It acknowledges the fancy clothes, piles of cash, the sense of family and brotherhood. It also addresses stress, intimidation, pain, power, and murder. One of the characters beg
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the fourth work by Gipi that I've read to date, and I have to say that this one is the best of the lot. Gipi uses a wonderfully loose line coupled with monochromatic watercolor fills that shift in intensity as he moves backwards and forwards in the timeline of this compelling story. [return][return]There is a definite thematic sympathy between Notes for a War Story and Joe Sacco's Safe Area Gorazde, but Gipi delivers a fictional storyline that focuses on the difficult proposition of youn ...more
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Born in Pisa, Gianni Pacinotti (Gipi) started out illustrating for the publishing and advertising fields. From 1992, he creates illustrated stories and comics, published in magazines like Cuore, Blue, Il Clandestino, Boxer, Il Manifesto and La Straniero. In 2000, he founded Santa Maria Video, a studio through which he creates video and animation shorts.

His graphic novel 'Appunti per une Storia di

Other books in the series

GIPI Opera Completa - Repubblica (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • L'Ultimo Terrestre - FILM E CORTOMETRAGGI
  • Come lo feci. L'art book di Bruti
  • Una Volta Sono Stato Buono - RACCONTI
  • Fiducia nell’Acqua – Illustrazioni e Disegni
  • Ricerca di base  – Inediti e incompiute
  • Il Cacciatore di Cuori - STORIE Volume 3
  • il pugile – Storie vol. 2
  • Effetti collaterali
  • Esterno notte
  • Garage Band

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