What do you do, when your sister calls you in the middle of the night, begging you to take in her son?
In Nestor Lipinsky’s case, you pull the camp-bed down from the top of your closed, and unfold it in the spare room that serves as your office. It will probably just be for a few nights, anyway. Just until whatever happened between your brother-in-law and your nephew has had a chance to blow over. Because it will blow over sometime – right?
Dimitri’s journalist uncle only briefly appears in volume one, but is actually kind of a super important character. This is a comic where adults freely exploit children, where the aftereffects of your kid’s experimental surgery are far less worrisome than the paper trail you left behind when you adopted them. But Nestor Lipinski is the exception to the rule. He puts Dimitri up indefinitely, no questions asked. He doesn’t ask for anything in return, either – except normal casual flatmate stuff, like emptying the ashtrays and buying toilet paper.
Oh, Nestor’s no saint, by any means. He doesn’t even bother telling Dimitri off for smoking, and he’s terrible with women. There is a reason he used to live alone.
But at the same time, Nestor is the best role model you could dream of. Nestor looks after people, and he does what he thinks is right. Sometimes, that involves making a complete fool of himself, and sometimes, that involves breaking the law. Because underneath the floorboards of his tiny Moscow apartment lie the disassembled parts of an ancient printing press. And this is Nestor’s true calling – when he’s done writing up government-approved news, he prints his own illegal newspaper,The Witness. There are other activists who help him write the stories, pass out copies, but this newspaper is Nestor’s personal, subversive baby. If they all got caught, his head would be the first to roll.
Still. You do what you have to do. Whether it’s spreading news of the outside world in a totalitarian regime, or giving your gay nephew somewhere to sleep. That’s Nestor’s code of honour, and he sticks to it like glue.