Mike Cavallaro - Parade (with Fireworks) [book] (Cover Artwork)

Mike Cavallaro

Mike Cavallaro: Parade (with Fireworks) [book]Parade (with Fireworks) [book] (2009)

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: jamespastepunkjamespastepunk
(others by this writer | submit your own)

If the first couple issues of 66kMPH are any indicator, Johnny X might one day wind up more famous for his comics than for his music." - Ronen Kauffman, 2004. Unsurprisingly, Ronen is right. We'll get to that soon. For now, like many good things in my life, this starts with the Bouncing Souls. .

If the first couple issues of 66kMPH are any indicator, Johnny X might one day wind up more famous for his comics than for his music."
- Ronen Kauffman, 2004.

Unsurprisingly, Ronen is right. We'll get to that soon. For now, like many good things in my life, this starts with the Bouncing Souls.

I knew they had this song called "Johnny X," which is an early tune dedicated to Sticks and Stones axe-man, Mike Cavallaro. It's roughly two minutes long, energetic and still gets played live, every now and again. It would be another three years after I heard that song before I would buy the Sticks and Stones greatest hits, The Strife and Times, from a local record store. It didn't really sink in and still hasn't. But, it did have "Theme Song for Nothing," which I do love. I would learn from that that the singer from Sticks and Stones, now called Jack Terricloth would go on to do other things.

He's the same Jack Terricloth that now fronts the World/Inferno Friendship Society, a group of whom I am quite fond of. During all of that, I found a feed to an old comic project of Mike Cavallaro, 66 Thousand Miles Per Hour, and kept up to date on it. It hardly ever updated, but around 2006, it had pieces from an upcoming comic, Parade (with Fireworks). And it was awesome. But, just as it got to its climax, it stopped putting up comics, and in its place, Mike started updating about various comic things that didn't make sense to me.

So. I see a couple months ago, that the full book of Parade (with Fireworks) was available on Amazon, and seeing that I needed another $5 or so to qualify for free shipping, I picked it up for $10. Apparently, an Eisner is a prestigious award for the comics industry. It's nominated for one. Considering this is the second comic Mr. Cavallaro has started, the first being 66 Thousand Miles Per Hour, it seems that the comic industry is recognizing his talent awful quick.

It's 72 pages, but printed on high-quality paper. It's not glossy, but weighty. Grainy might be an appropriate term. The story (a more dramatic version), about Mr. Cavallaro's Italian ancestry in 1923, feels energetic but somehow classic due to the wide range of colors used. It's not all bright or all muted. A war vet comes back to Italy from moving olive oil in Chicago, which is illegal in the U.S. After being home for about a week, the narrator then gets caught in the middle of a fight over the Feast of the Epiphany.

The foreshadowing is clear, but not intrusive. You know something is coming, but not when or how and when it goes bad; there's a moment where it could have been averted, if only...if only...if only...

I don't know how I'm supposed to talk about comic books. The colors are bright and unsaturated, for the most part. Mr. Cavallaro understands how to use time and space and uses language very carefully. Very few words seem superfluous. The backgrounds actually seem interesting on their own. There's not a "filler piece" in there. The comic itself is bright, thematically dark and is ends on a somehow hopeful note, despite the tragic events beforehand.

Like all good debut records, Cavallaro exceeds expectations by turning in something that seems straightforward, but carries with each word and each riff or color stroke, a vivid washing of emotion. I can't wait to see what he does with more time and a further honing of his craft.

[originally published on pastepunk.com.]


People who liked this also liked:
Millencolin - Pennybridge PioneersWith Honor - This is Our RevengeThe Briefs - Steal Yer HeartWorld/Inferno Friendship Society - Red-Eyed SoulPolar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just DisappearGerard Way / Gabriel Ba - The Umbrella Academy: Vol. 4 [comic]Inquisition - Uproar: Live and Loud! [CD/DVD]Gerard Way / Gabriel Ba - The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse SuiteEnvy - Transfovista DVDDefeater - Lost Ground

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
wallofyouth (May 14, 2009)

i got the impression that jaw knee music was about all the punk songs that referenced a character named johnny, but am probably wrong

aggropaul (May 13, 2009)

I have a theory that "The ballad of Jimmy and Johnny" by Rancid. "Jaw, Knee, Music" by NOFX and "The ballad of Johnny X" by Bouncing Souls are all about the same man. Maybe even "Johnny Quest" by Less Than Jake, but thats just a shot in the dark.

Too much time on my hands? Probably.

Don't get me wrong, this was very nicely written, but it definently read more like a blog post than an actual review. The first 3/4 is background story (seemingly to justify why it's getting a review) and the rest seems like you're simply describing to a blind person how the comic book looks.

Now, sure, you don't want to spoil key elements of the plot, but there's definently ways to review comic books without doing that. How does the writer approach the story? How does the characters develop? Is there any re-read value? Is it a compelling story? Does it work on levels other than "just" being a comic book? etc..

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