We are all crazy for Zerocalcare, or in English “Zerolimescale.”
Calcare is our enemy par excellence: limescale happens to tiles, pipes, bathroom fixtures and showers. We are talking about a sedimentary rock composed largely of a specific mineral, from which it takes its name, calcare.
His pen name, was inspired by an Italian TV commercial jingle for a desscaler product—that we all get bombarded in Italy. He had to choose a nickname to quickly join a discussion on Internet, and that was the birth of Zerocalcare the carachter.
I can say he is just a “dude” who cartooned himself, and had the virtue of having cheered the pandemic telling us about the quarantine week after week.
Zerocalcare did not take too long to conquer all of Italy. Many people who see themselves in the stories, characters and social dynamics that he manages to tell with a unique trait. He eventually caught the attention of Netflix.
Tear Along the Dotted Line
On November 17 there was a debut on Italian screens. The Netflix series “Strappare lungo i bordi,” (Tear Along the Dotted Line,) was immediate success and Zerocalcare became the most popular cartoonist in Italy.
Impossible to summarize the influences present in the comics of Zerocalcare. Each strip speaks to the reader of a memory, of an old film, even of an advertising billboard placed in the center of Rome.
My favorite one was his recolletion as a elementary school child who in his imagination breaks his teacher heart when his grades drop, to the point that he imagine himeself attending her hypothetic funeral. Or his struggle over the choice of pizza, between Pizza Margherita and a new one. He ends up suggesting that the “free will” should not be left for such difficult choices.
On the eve of the event (November 17), the author started superstitiously to run away: “Not knowing how the thing-that-comes-out-tomorrow will go, I consider it appropriate – he writes on Twitter – for safety to leave the country, as Gaddafi should have done if he had been far-sighted.”
But Zerocalcare is much more, first of all social commitment. The first job as a cartoonist is the comic story of the day of the G8 in Genoa of July 2001.
The most famous works of Zerocalcare
To prepare for the animated TV series it is good to study a little the world of Zerocalcare, the one described in his works.
• The prophecy of the armadillo (the armadillo is his conscience)
• An octopus in the throat.
• Every damn Monday out of two
• Forget my name
• The telephone directory of welcome guests
• Kobane calling
• Raw rubble
• Raw rubble – Six months later
• The school of pizzas in the face of Professor Calcare
• To father dead. A Christmas story