“Examining his mother and father’s broken relationship, Santoro expands their story into a superb combination of family saga, coming-of-age memoir, and tribute to his hometown of Pittsburgh … He simultaneously pays tribute and bears witness in artful detail, creating an origin story sure to move many readers to reflect upon their own beginnings.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review
Pittsburgh is the story of a family, and a city. Frank Santoro (Storeyville and Pompeii) faces a straightforward yet heart-rending reality: His parents, once high-school sweethearts, now never speak to each other—despite working in the same building. An extraordinary reimagining of the comics form to depict the processes of memory, and a powerful, searching account of a family taking shape, falling apart, and struggling to reinvent itself, as the city around them does the same.
Using markers, pencils, scissors, and tape, with a variety of papers, drawing in vivid colors and exuberant lines, Santoro constructs a multi-generational retelling of their lives. Framed by his parents’ courtship and marriage, and set amid the vital but fading neighborhood streets, the pages of Pittsburgh are filled with details both quotidian and dramatic.
“The paper looks like the kind of yellow construction paper I used too, that we stuck under magnets on refrigerator doors across American suburbia. Santoro even shows the wear of wrinkles on the paper. Those imperfections could be corrected in Photoshop, but he’s aiming for the opposite aesthetic. His pages look like they’ve been lifted directly out of his childhood.”