Have you ever seen a stranger next to you and wondered what their life is like? What are their dreams and goals? What are their fears? Who do they love? It’s common to live our lives among millions of strangers and never think about them as people with their own lives, their own feelings, their own stories. We don’t think about everyone else because it’s easier. After all, if we think of everyone else as people things would be complicated. But maybe we should start taking the complicated route because if we don’t, things that shouldn’t happen become easy. This is what And We Love You is here to show us.
And We Love You, written and drawn by Fell Hound and with lettering by Lucas Gattoni, is the story of Julie, a woman living in a country on the brink of war between the oppressive government and a small resistance. We see everything from her recruitment to her last battle, but what makes this story different is the fact that we see all this reflected on her blood, on the last remains of a life that only wants to continue.
The best thing this story does is put the focus on the little details of Julie’s day-to-day life: conversation, meals, and moments of peace. Showing us these things is what gives so much weight to the story and differentiates it from so many other war stories. It’s pretty easy in a war story to end up glorifying or romanticizing war, even in an anti-war story, but Hound does a wonderful job by showing us the horrifying aspects of actual war and, more importantly, showing us all those moments that are lost when someone loses a life, how they are dragged away and discarded as they are nothing, when in reality (as Houd beautifully shows us) they are the bits of color in a black and white world.
And it’s just this what makes And We Love You so good and so heartbreaking. It’s not only that the moments the comic shows us are heavy with emotions and meaning, but also the way we are shown these moments. The contrast of colors brings so much strangeness to the emotions of this book; every coloring decision impacts the story. There are a couple of panels that focus on Julie’s eyes which were some of the most devastating moments, in no small way, because of the contrast between the bright green and dark and gray surroundings. There is also the fact that most of the panel borders are drawn in red or with the actual blood of the protagonist, showing just how fragile life is and how easy it is to just splatter those moments on the floor like they don’t mean anything at all.
Gattoni does a wonderful job with the lettering, giving each worthy the appropriate emotions. There are moments, especially at the beginning, when things are really intense, that the lettering gives the page exactly the heat it needs. Gattoni’s work does an excellent job of showing us the violence of war and the tenderness of love.
And We Love You is a devastating, beautiful comic that appears at the most relevant moment, and I really can’t recommend it enough. I will always be thankful when someone dares to show us some really hard truths in the most beautiful of ways.