Rosa lives in Italy after the Second World War. She discovers a fallen American soldiers and he has comic books. Thus begins a simple and charming issue about a young girl and her imagination.
Golden Age begins with Rosa, she’s lovely, about ten years old, with not too many cares of feelings beyond those of any child. She lives with her father – her mother didn’t survive the War for reasons the reader is not privy to – yet she is surprisingly well adjusted. Writing team Rob Harrington and Giulie Speziani go against the comic book trope of having young characters being poorly adjusted in the wake of parental death. Rosa’s been living in this small town for her entire life and she knows all the short cuts.
As she cuts through a field in order to make it on time to school Rosa encounters the body of a fallen American soldier. It’s pretty sad, but he’s got comic books. A brief fight with her conscience and Rosa leaves with these little treasures. The titular items of Golden Age distract young Rosa from her studies as the teacher attempts to bring multiplication to her unwashed masses of pupils. Rosa, for her part, is more interested in the escapades of Miss Fire and her sidekick Girl Spirit as they take down such foes as Hitler! The panels readers get a peek at present a fair facsimile of actual golden age comic books that are set up lovingly for both them and Rosa.
Beyond the schoolyard Golden Age picks up with Rosa sharing the message of superheroics with her best friend Mario. Mario is one of the only children left in the village since the war ended. En lieu of Miss Fire’s actions Rosa and Mario resolve to become superheroes. This is something all readers of comic book have done throughout our lives so it’s nye impossible not to fall in love with “Rosa the Wrangler”. Rosa’s strength is largely derived from the beautiful purple dress her mother sewed for Rosa before she passed. To be fair, there is very little danger to undertake outside of helping local craftsman and artisans.
Rosa the Wrangler and “Mario the Sidekick” spend the rest of Golden Age creating a training ground for themselves. They craft dummies and practice punching Hitler right in the face – should such a situation ever arise before them. Preparation is everything for Rosa and Mario. The day soon comes to an end, the children are called away to dinner by their parents, and Rosa considers her work well done.
Harrington and Speziani have told a simple, lovely story in one short issue of Golden Age; Rosa is as interesting as she is familiar. Golden Age from Ginger Rabbit Studio is one of the few stand alone independent comic books that truly, truly deserves to be flushed out as a one hundred page graphic novel. The ongoing adventures of Rosa the Wrangler and Mario the Sidekick as their secret identities cope with the evolving post-war Italy is a book that I would be thrilled to read. After all, what lady comic book reader (especially), doesn’t want to see a little reflection of ourselves on the page?
The art of Golden Age is as beautiful as one would expect. Cecilia Latella has utterly simple lines filled in with water colour paints. This hand painted aesthetic highlights the whimsy of Rosa’s dream-life as the Wrangler as well as the inherent appeal in her bright, spritely self as a character. The environment, like Rosa herself, is painted in fresh colours that speak to all the potential resting on the horizon of Italy as a growing country and Rosa as a growing girl.
Cecilia Latella tackles every art duty on Golden Age with aplomb, while at the same thing not giving off the impression of showing off. She brings magic to the page complementing the wonderful story. Even those readers who focus solely on the artistic aspect of comic book production will find Golden Age a visual treasure trove.
READ INDIE COMICS
Read Golden Age. It’s a comic book you will have to search for about a little girl you will recognize regardless of your own gender. It is presented with the utmost skill in all aspects. It’s short. Golden Age should be read by all.