WHERE YOU ARE NOT LORENZO GHETTI Coconino Press (Italy) | 2018 | 174 pages | Color The thing feels so crisp and user friendly, and the storytelling is so sharp.—Scott McCloud on To Be Continued A nerd at heart, Lino divides his time between school, homework, and devising role-playing games for himself and his friends. Indeed, his life wouldn’t be that intriguing if it weren’t for the fact he inhabits an alternate universe where people wear astronaut suits that allow them to teleport anywhere they want. In a way, these suits, which people in Lino’s universe use with total nonchalance, work as a time machine, except through space—you get into one of them, get to your destination, and once you want to return, all you need is to ask someone to switch off the receiving device to be back into your bedroom. Nice and easy.
Half Stranger Things, half Spike Jonze’s Her, a new sci-fi teenage romance by Italian rising star Lorenzo Ghetti that speaks volumes about loneliness in our hyperconnected, social mediadriven contemporary world.
It’s the first day of the school year and there’s a new entry in Lino’s class. Mobi is not actually there, she can’t physically move just yet because the school dorms are at capacity. Until then she will come to school wearing her hermetic astronaut suit without anyone actually knowing how she looks like behind her screened face shield. She might be there only in spirit, as it were, but still Mobi would like someone to show her around town. Lino volunteers himself and thus he becomes Mobi’s chaperon for the next three weeks. The two don’t exactly start off on the right foot, but slowly a weird friendship develops. Lino even invites Mobi to the role-playing game he plays with his closest friends. By the time a spot in the dorms opens, the two are nearly inseparable. And yet, when time comes for Mobi to finally get there, Lino will receive a disappointment. For the first time in his life, however, he won’t retreat to his room and will do whatever it takes to know what happened to her new friend, and why she disappeared so abruptly, and his finding will be shocking to say the least. Drawn in a style indebted to the imagery of Facebook, Instagram, and Skype that might seem misleadingly simple, Where You Are Not with tenderness and subtlety, shows how difficult it is in our day and age to establish meaningful relationships and how easy instead it is to safely withdraw behind a digital identity.
LORENZO GHETTI is an Italian illustrator and comic book author. Born in Pisa in 1989, he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. In the past, he was published with the collective Delebile. He regularly collaborates with the cultural association Hamelin. He is also of the very successful webcomic To Be Continued.