Review: Hecate’s Will #2
The premise of Hecate’s Will by cartoonist Iolanda Zanfardino is centered around the last works (Or will and testament) of a New York guerrilla artist named Hecate before she goes back to “normal life” as Rebecca the tailor. In addition to her art, Hecate is also doing costumes for a revival of Rent at a local queer community center, and her ex is in the cast so there’s lots of sniping behind the scenes. Hecate’s Will #2 is a true slice of life story going through Hecate’s day-to-day as she makes her art, visits friends, and grapples with what normalcy is through a queer lens.
My favorite sequence in Hecate’s Will #2 is a silent page early on where Hecate is walking from her art installment to her friend Amber’s clothing store to pick up some outfits and smoke weed. Zanfardino nails aggressive, powerful queerness as she brings out the bold red in Hecate’s hair as she walks by some boomer white women in her jacket with a dyke patch on it and simulates cunnilingus as they wander off feebly talking shit. Iolanda Zanfardino’s art is so playful in this scene as she shows Hecate channeling the swagger and fearlessness in her art that she installs in very public places like the New York Times building. (Take that opinion page that belongs in the Washington Times!)
However, Hecate contains millions, and we her softer side as she smokes with her friends Amber and roasts New Yorkers, who pay a high price for clothes they could find cheaper at a thrift store, but they don’t want to spend the time or effort to go to those spaces. She’s also kind to a young trans kid who doesn’t want to have his top surgery scars showing in his costume and has flashbacks about her childhood in Italy and is generally a fascinating character. Iolanda Zanfardino goes away from melodrama in her plotting and spends a lot of time on Hecate’s inner life through both narrative captions and powerful images like a close-up of her lip quivering when she realizes that she’s mesmerized by her ex’s talent. But, then, a laugh brings her out of her reverie, and she’s back to hating.
Hecate’s Will #2 goes from big ideas about art, queerness, discourse, and found family to more personal moments like the aforementioned friendship/passive aggressive ex thing with style and grace. Iolanda Zanfardino doesn’t just preach her ideas about wonderful queer community helping people experiencing homelessness, but shows it in action in a holiday dinner montage that is juxtaposed with captions about Hecate thinking about spending holidays with her biological family once she “retires” from art and becomes Rebecca again. The art is happy, but the words are sad. However, there is a real air of hope to wrap up the comic even though Hecate may end up turning her back on her work and community to embrace normalcy, whatever the hell that means.
Boasting a variety of storytelling styles from the full page spreads of Hecate’s art to dinner table montages and characterization expanded up on in glances, Iolanda Zanfardino’s Hecate’s Will #2 unpacks its protagonist’s journey and feeling at its own pace leaving time for being deep in thought, taunting the straights, or spending time with old friends. It’s art about art, but mainly focuses on Hecate’s daily life, friendships/drama, and the personal context behind her images ending up as an intimate character study that embraces the collective (Aka the dinner at the end) and not just navel gazing.
Story/Art/Letters: Iolanda Zanfardino
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy
Iolanda Zanfardino provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Purchase: Zeus Comics