This year s edition of the New York Comic-Con was no exception. …I was moving through the aisles around lunchtime of the con s first day when I caught a glimpse of the evocative art and elegant design for Nuncio and the Gypsy Girl in the Gilded Age and came to a screeching halt. Intrigued by the cover and displayed art for this inaugural graphic novel from writer Kristin Kuhn Alexandre and artist Thomas Loepp, I talked briefly with both before leaving with a review copy and a promise to try to stop back later in the con.
Later, over dinner, I casually opened the book I d grabbed from the small pile that always magically accumulates around me during these events, and began reading. About an hour later I finished the final pages of that book, which turned out to be Nuncio and the Gypsy Girl in the Gilded Age. As I chewed the final, chilly bites of my dinner, I decided then and there that I had to introduce this richly imagined story which mixes a socially conscious romance with liberal amounts of magical realism and historical figures and events to (Morton Report) readers. –Bill Baker, The Morton Report
“It is a time when one’s spirit is subdued and sad, one knows not why; when the past seems a storm-swept desolation, life a vanity and a burden, and the future but a way to death. It is a time when one is filled with vague longings; when one dreams of flight to peaceful islands in the remote solitudes of the sea, or folds his hands and says, What is the use of struggling, and toiling and worrying any more? let us give it all up.” – Mark Twain, The Gilded Age
It was Mark Twain who coined the term “Gilded Age.” it referred to a time in American history where everything was about reform, wealth and its ostentatious display. yet beneath all the glitter and progress there was also corruption, greed and filth. people could be categorized into two distinct groups – those who had achieved great success and money and those who were struggling to obtain both by any means. Author Kristin Kuhns Alexandre sets her story amidst this period and illustrator Thomas Loepp brings it to life through his beautiful artwork. Neci is a young Gypsy girl who is deeply infatuated with Ezra, a composer. Neci craves for his love and affection but Ezra resists her advances. Neci’s obsession and desire to have Ezra to herself becomes more intense when she learns that Ezra has met and fallen in love with Marlene, a pianist. This graphic novel is the first of a series and i loved how the author gave the story an authentic feel to it by placing her main characters alongside known historical figures like Orville and Wilbur Wright, Charles Kettering and Elbert Hubbard. At first, i found the illustrations quite dark but after i read the story twice and looked at the pictures closely, they felt and looked right. the drawings reflected not only the characters’ emotions but also the time in which they lived. pastel colors are visible here and there but they blend and are gilded with black and gray tones. the contrast is striking and just perfect for the whole story. Images of an eye – an all-seeing one and the dark heavy lines that are evident throughout the book also heighten the mystery that seems to lurk behind Neci. The ending was dramatic and tense at the same time. it made me wonder who Neci really is, what her intentions are and how things would turn out for her, Ezra and Marlene.
All in all, Nuncio & the Gypsy Girl was an exciting read and i recommend it to anyone who loves reading about history with a dash of intrigue and romance.
Unbeknownst to her, he doesn’t really share the same feelings as she does for him. When Ezra decides that it’s time for him to make his own fortune, Neci knows she needs to make him see that she’s the one for him. But how can she do that if he refuses to see just how perfect they are?
Leaving the gypsy camp behind, Ezra immerses himself in his new world. Determined to make the most of things, he decides to open up a studio, never once imagining the good that would come of it. The beautiful and talented Marlene enters his life. Erasing the young gypsy’s memories and replacing them with new ones of the woman who’s now captured his heart, Ezra feels his life is going just the way he wants it to. In his heart, he intends to make Marlene his for the rest of his life.
As word of Ezra’s engagement reaches Neci’s ears, she refuses to believe that he and the mystery woman are made for each other. Her heart clamors for his love just as her mind screams that they were meant to be together. Try as she might, she cannot let that fact go. Ezra was, and always will be, her first love and nothing anyone can say will change that fact.
This was quite a unique and intriguing read, very different from anything I’ve ever read before. The comic book aspect of the story was nice and I think the artist did a good job with the depictions for each panel.
Although the story is supposedly told via the eye of a parrot named Nuncio, it was actually a little difficult to decipher that fact in the beginning. Reason being is that the parrot doesn’t make an appearance until the halfway mark of the story. In true retrospect, it doesn’t really feel as if the parrot is the narrator since the characters are at the forefront of the story, in my honest opinion.
All in all, the premise of the story does capture the reader’s attention and it’s pace throughout is consistent. The book is a good read and the illustrators do depict what happens along the way more so than the dialogue itself does, keeping the reader focused on the story itself.
Ezra however feels that Neci it too young for him and leaves the gypsies to further his musical career.
While away Ezra meets Marlene, a young woman and talented pianist and soon the two become very close, much to Neci’s despair. Ezra and Marlene work their music in the company of some of the inspirational men who would make America into the great power it turned in to, like Elbert Hubbard and Orville Wright.
Although it seems to Ezra that he and Marlene are made for each other and the two get engaged, there is a much darker side to this woman, a side that could cost Neci dearly.
This is a fascinating story set at the start of the 20th century while the world is preparing for war and big changes both in technology and in the structure of society itself.
Being a love story with gypsies at its heart, this story contains both mystical aspects and historical fact, which gives it an added dimension. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the fact that the story is told by Nuncio, a parrot belonging to Neci. While it facilitates a wider point of view, it also takes the story into the realm of fairytales. Since this story is based on the lives of real people, I’m not sure how effective it is to present it as a fantasy tale.
The drawings in this graphic novel are wonderful. They tell the story as much as the dialogues do and in a very successful way.
Overall I have to say I enjoyed this reading experience, and since the story ended on a massive cliff-hanger I can see myself reading the sequel as well in the future.
Nuncio and the Gypsy Girl is not your typical graphic novel. There are several historical figures, a love triangle, and no action-driven plotline. It is also narrated by an African Grey Parrot named Nuncio. Taking place at the turn of the century in Dayton, OH, the characters are right in the middle of the making of many great inventions, and intellectual society.
Which brings us to the gypsy girl- Neci- who is at the center of the story. She is a young woman who is coming of age and is convinced of a love between her and Ezra, a composer with big dreams. After leaving Neci in order to follow a path to what will hopefully be his success, Neci tracks him down- only to find him with another woman.
At this point, it becomes clear that the two women will be vying for the affection of Ezra for a good part of the story. The question remaining is: who will win, or will either? If Marlene, the “other woman” has her way, Neci will be completely taken out of the picture when she arranges for her to be put in harm’s way. Will Marlene’s plan be successful, or will Neci find her way back into Ezra’s heart?
While this graphic novel (the first in a three-part series) is not a thrilling page-turner, it does supply a lot of historical insight into the time. With the placement of many key historical figures and events, there is a certain quality that makes the characters seem very real. The storyline will hopefully pick up pace a bit in the next two installments, to allow a greater growth of the characters and their struggles.
At first, Nuncio and the Gypsy Girl takes a bit to get an understanding and focus on the drawing style. However, after the first few pages, the washed-out, slightly dark colors become clearer as one gets used to them. There is also a feeling of uncertainty that may be felt in the first half of the book, as to where exactly the story is going and what it is about. But, the wanting to know will keep you reading until the end.
If one is wanting a graphic novel that has a superhero, or something like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Nuncio is not it. However, the realism and accuracy of the characters and the intrigue of the Gilded Age is enough to find an audience with readers who may not otherwise explore a graphic novel. That being said, it will be interesting to discover what will happen to Neci and her companions- even if it is a parrot telling us the story.
Thomas Loepp’s beautiful illustrations bring the story to life. In the beginning, the very basic, scratchy artwork can make telling people apart a little difficult, but as the story moves along, it’s easy enough to sort out who’s who. This is far from a drawback; the artwork brings a simple elegance and tone that adds so much to the romantic feeling of the book, I can’t imagine it being illustrated any other way.
Author Kristin Alexandre brings the Dayton, Ohio of the era to life with a plethora of historical inventors, engineers, and other innovators of the time. Expanding to a national scope, Alexandre adds President and First Lady Wilson to the cast of characters, and expanding further still to a worldwide view, elements of what would become the Great War haunt the reader’s subconscious mind as the danger of German forces on our protagonists becomes apparent. The narrator, Neci’s African Grey parrot Nuncio, along with Neci’s snake Coil bring a vague symbolism to the story that adds to the haunted tone.
Questions of good and evil are a pervasive theme in the story. The author seems to like asking what they mean, if they are always large and absolute concepts. Neci and Nuncio repeatedly state that Marlene is evil: “…and it’s not all of her own doing, but nothing good will come of her.” Soon after, the point is made, when we see how romantically manipulative Marlene can be to get what she wants, and the dire consequences that result.
We see the wisdom in Alexandre’s choice of Nuncio as narrator when she uses him to make large statements about the human condition that perhaps no human could make without certain pretenses. Nuncio remarks on the importance of being careful in courtship… a thing no human ever really considers at the time, often to our detriment. If we were so wise, we would all date and marry only one person in our lives, never giving our hearts so easily, never ending up broken-hearted. But then, we would miss out on so many of the very feelings and experiences that make us human, wouldn’t we?
The author examines love even more closely when Nuncio adds that in the human world, “the plumage is all artificial.” This begs the question, what is it that we fall in love with? We, all of us, as human beings, are always so acutely aware of the judgments of others, that we make every attempt to sway those judgments in our favor. So how can any of us ever truly know another in the short amount of time it takes to fall?
For fans of romance, graphic novels, and cerebral reads, Nuncio and the Gypsy Girl promises to be a rare treat of blended genres. Nuncio and the Gypsy Girl in the Gilded Age is the first in a series, and the cliffhanger ending…
Nuncio y la gitanilla (Nuncio and the gypsy girl) es una novela gráfica de Kristin Alexandre que ha sido ilustrada por el artistaTom Loepp.
Having been quite some years since I’ve read a graphic novel (I used to read Buffy The Vampire Slayer graphic novels) therefore rusty, I was surprised at how fast paced it was but then had to remind myself that it IS a graphic novel, usually considerably shorter than your average novel, so it’s bound to be fast paced. As the story unfolds, the characters personalities really shine through and the amazing artwork does the rest of the talking. I found Neci (the gypsy girl) to be quite an intense and passionate character who is very insightful and you really feel for her as she worries about Ezra, a composer who comes to stay amongst the gypsies to learn more about their lifestyle, throughout the novel. She has fallen for him hook, line and sinker. Ezra, however, is concerned about the age difference between he and Neci though and I get the impression his feelings for Neci aren’t as strong as hers. She has her sights set on him though and, throughout the story, is determined to win him over. Ezra decides to leave the gypsies and return back to the new world to pursue his music career and, on doing so, he meets Marlene, a talented pianist. Marlene is quite devious and conniving though she is also driven and wants to help Ezra further his music career. I came to really dislike her especially as it becomes clear that she chose to keep something incredibly important from Ezra which leads on to an explosive ending. I love that Nuncio – the parrot – narrated the story and occasionally the snake, Coil, too. I thought it was a great touch!
The artwork is quite simple yet could also show great detail at times. Quite unusual artwork for a graphic novel I thought. It is something that I would normally see in paintings. There is a close up of Nuncio at the end of the story that just says it all! That picture really does speak a thousand words. It made me feel so emotional when I saw it.
The only bad point I have to say about the graphic novel is that although I love the artwork, I wish it had been a little more detailed at times. There were just a few occasions when it’d take me a moment to figure out what was going on in the scene. That aside, it was a fantastic read. I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel.
Intense, passionate, and thrilling Nuncio is a romantic thriller series for anyone wanting a good read (or even perhaps a good television series). Come on this journey filled with drama and mystery. Nuncio is a romantic thriller based on the intense and passionate relationship between Ezra, a composer and the insightful and lustful gypsy girl Neci. This graphic novel series is narrated by the magical African Grey Parrot, Nuncio and takes place at the turn of the Century.
Neci, the young and willful gypsy, is willing to risk everything to fulfill her need to be with Ezra, the object of her affection. She feels a calling to protect Ezra from his love, Marlene, a beautiful pianist. We hear her mental wanderings and feel her pain as she struggles to make a place for herself in his world. She feels no connection to girls her own age and Ezra struggles to resist her allure. This drama and romantic thriller is based on real people and real events that take place between 1912-1960. Ezra interacts with Orville Wright, Charles Kettering and Elbert Hubbard, celebrities from the day.
What I am reviewing is the first volume of the series, in which we are introduced to Neci, Ezra, the many animals, including a dog, a snake, and Nuncio the parrot. Neci is a gypsy girl with a group outside Dayton, Ohio, who has befriended the composer Ezra. They’re friendship is sweet, and Ezra feels great affection for Neci, but Neci wants more and Ezra is afraid she is too young. Instead, he ends his visit with the gypsies to return to Dayton, entertaining the great inventors of the day and also meeting Marlene, a quick-moving, manipulative, and Neci’s rival. I won’t say anything more about the plot, except to say that the volume ends on the Lusitania. Yeah, that Lusitania.
What I Liked:
I enjoyed the historical aspects of the story. Using people like Orville Wright and Charles Kettering as characters was interesting and fun. I also like the illustration for the most part. They take some getting used to: they are very sketchy, almost unfinished-looking, and it’s difficult in the beginning to keep track of the characters because the faces start to look alike. But the understated nature of the illustrations is often attractive as well, and by the end of the volume, I was really started to enjoy the art.
I also liked the idea of Neci, the gypsy girl. She has a passionate, in-touch-with-the-earth kind of outlook on life that I appreciate and I love that she has a snake for a pet. But she is underdeveloped – it’s not really clear why exactly she is in love with Ezra, and she has very few other personality traits other than the fact that she is desperately in love with him and painfully jealous of Marlene. Which leads me to…
What I Didn’t Like:
First of all, all the characters were a little underdeveloped. Obviously, this is the first volume, so there is still room for plenty of development. But you have to be very careful with these kinds of things to get the reader hooked on the first volume, get them to care about the characters quickly, or you run the risk of the reader deciding not to buy anymore. After all, a graphic novel series is a big investment in both time and money, and readers want to know the investment is going to worth right from the get-go. But, back to the characters, both Neci and Ezra had some interest, but definitely could have been stronger faster. Though, actually, Ezra has a little more personality than even Neci does, if you ask me. Where Neci seems to be defined only be her love for Ezra, Ezra has several things going for him: he is affectionate with Neci, but also seems to be in love with Marlene, he’s passionate about his music, loves animals, and is inspired by all the inventors he associated with.
As for Marlene: she was a cypher for me. She is introduced, and its obvious that she’s Neci’s rival and that she moves quickly in her relationship with Ezra. But when Neci learns about Marlene, Neci freaks out and rants about how Ezra can’t see how horrible Marlene is, etc etc etc. Now, jealousy is one thing, but there seemed no reason to me to assume that Marlene was some kind of evil conniving bitch – she just happened to catch Ezra’s interest. Yet both Neci, and the narrative, seemed to want me to think Marlene was up to no good. And when Marlene finally does do something that is “up to no good,” I think the narrative wants me to see it coming – but honestly, I didn’t think anything in her character before that really foreshadowing anything half so horrible.
Lastly, I had a problem with the dialogue. It was often very stilted and awkward. There was a lot of unnatural info-dump with characters saying things to each other that they obviously should and do know, and which is being said merely for the reader’s sake. Things like: “I love that fox TwoBucks. What a devoted creature, and who would have guessed that he would play so well with Theda, my Dog,” when it’s obvious that all the characters know who “TwoBucks” and “Theda” are. This is a problem not only at the very beginning of the story, when readers understandably need some intro. The dialogue is awkward throughout.
As you can see, the things I didn’t like slightly outweigh the things I did like. However, the first volume ended on a cliffhanger, and I do see some potential, so I will probably give the second volume a try. I’m hoping some improvements will be made, and I’m curious enough to see what happens next, so we’ll see how it goes.
In other words, it’s not high on my list of recommendations, but it might be worth a shot if you like historical fiction and graphic novels, and are willing to overlook some problems in order to give a new writer and new story a fair chance.
Marlene has her own agenda and though the book leaves you with a continuation, you’re definitely going to want more. This was a fantastic graphic novel, illustrations, and story! I anxiously await book two!
|Immortylcafe.com||Review and Interview||April 25th|
|YA Bound||Guest Post||May 7th|
For more information about Kristin, Tom or Neci, please check out the Neci’s Ascent Website.