Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism by Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden illustrated by Mike Mignola
From the creator of Hellboy, an illustrated novella that brings Twilight Zone originality to the written page.
In the aftermath of a critical World War II battle, Father Gaetano is assigned as the sole priest at the Church of San Domenico in the small, seaside Sicilian village of Tringale. The previous pastor has died and there is a shortage of clergy at the moment, so until another can be spared, the young priest must say all of the masses himself.
Mass is not Father Gaetano's only responsibility, however. The war has created many orphans, and thus the San Domenico rectory has been converted into an orphanage which is also his domain. The children are a joy to him, but they have lost so much, and many have begun to question their faith and their God, and his attempts to teach them catechism are in vain . . . until he finds an old puppet theatre and an ornate box of puppets in the basement. Handcrafted by the building's former caretaker, now absent, the puppets seem the perfect tool to get the children to pay attention to their lessons. But after dark the puppets emerge from that ornate box, without their strings. While the children have been questioning their faith, the puppets believe Father Gaetano's Bible stories completely. But there is such a thing as too much faith. And the children's lives will never be the same again.
Details Format: Hardback Number of Pages: 176 Width: 140 mm Height: 210 mm ISBN 13: 9780312644741 ISBN 10: 0312644744 Publisher: St. Martin's Press Publication Date: 16 October 2012
Has anyone got this yet? It's only been out a couple of weeks, so yeah.
I loved it, to be honest. Really good story, the book is really nice quality, and I really liked Mike's illustrations. I think it's better than Baltimore, but I can't say if it's better than Joe Golem (as I haven't read it).
I felt like the illustrations were better in this book than in Baltimore but I liked the writing in Baltimore better. Not that this was bad, it was a great piece of horror but Baltimore was so much more technically nuanced on a story telling level where as Father Gaetano is rather linear.
As I see it, Gaetano is more like the moralistic stories that it mentions and contains. It seems like Christopher and Mike were going for simpler writing (and a more narrow, focused goal - remember how much Baltimore crammed in?!) to suit the younger characters, and even the innocence (as it were) of Father Gaetano himself. I felt it read a lot better and a lot smoother, anyway. It's almost like a children's book... but not for children.
And while Gaetano certainly has the same level of mastery that Golden and Mignola usually bring to their work, and structure certainty fit the story being told, but from a writer's stand point the literary devices used in the telling of Baltimore really do elevate above Gaetano. There's nothing Gaetano that rivals the use of repetition used to create tension in Baltimore for instance, or the commentary of the relationship between the story and its teller, and it's the way those elemets are strung together so artfully that makes it a stronger story in my mind.
This isn't too say that Gaetano doesn't have its merits, one thing that I enjoyed about Gaetano was the discussion it had about stories influencing reality, this was a theme that was included in Baltimore but was expressed to much better effect here. It was a great read, one of the better novellas I've read in a long time but it just doesn't reach the heights that Baltimore did for me.
I see where you're coming from, but I don't think it takes into account that they're stylistically different. One's a story that's a framing device for three smaller stories about Lord Baltimore, whereas Father Gaetano seems to be channelling stories for children with its simplicity and its focus on a moral.
Yeah, but I think comparing the devices isn't really fair. I mean that comparison would maybe work with Joe Golem and Baltimore, but you're trying to compare a novel and a novella with the same set of criteria, and I don't think it really quite works like that. Gaetano cuts a lot of tricks because it's telling a single story with a distinct start, finish and end (whereas Baltimore is, really, kind of all over the place) with a specific stylistic goal in mind.
Baltimore isn't. It's a framing story that contains three (or so) pieces within that, they follow on from each other but they tie into the framing, but even the frame is just part of a wider picture (as we know due to the comics). I think Baltimore is more along the lines of classic horror books like Dracula in terms of its style and how it approaches the stories, whereas Gaetano is more like... a fable, even.
I just see it as comparing apples and oranges. Both have their merits, and one is better than the other for specific things, but on the whole an apple satisfies a different 'hunger' than an orange, and you even kinda approach them differently when consuming them.
On a literary level it isn't apples and oranges though. If I were saying that Gaetano wasn't as good a pure horror story as Baltimore that would be one thing as Gaetano doesn't attempt to be a classic horror tale so it would be unfair to use that as a factor, but that isn't the comparison being made at all.
I'm measuring them solely by their own merits as pieces of literature, and in such a comparison I find that Baltimore comes out as the superior piece as it manages to make use of several different literary devices in subtle ways that are incredibly innovative and the way it wove its various themes together into a cohesive whole was beautiful. The fact that Gaetano was a novela doesn't effect it one way or another as length is not a limiting factor, case in point I think that the Nesting may be far superior to both Gaetano and Baltimore and it's only 23 pages long, but it displays an astounding use of imagery that is just about unparalleled by any thing else I've ever read.