Friday, July 30, 2010

Mondo Urbano Vol. 1

by Mateus Santolouco, Eduardo Medeiros, and Rafael Albuquerque

This is a very cool new graphic novel coming out of Brazil, drawn by three very capable cartoonists.  I picked this up because of Albuquerque's involvement in it, but once I started reading, I couldn't always tell what his contributions were.  The three artists appear to share pages almost at random, showing that this is a collaborative effort on every level.

The story is decidedly non-linear, and jumps all over the place, but is completely compelling and beautifully drawn throughout.  At the centre of this comic is a musician named Van Hudson, who has risen to stardom after purchasing a 'cursed' guitar.  This is not a new idea - ever since the legend of Robert Johnson was spread, writers have been making the connection between music and the devil - but it is played from a novel perspective here.  Hudson ends up dead in a bathtub, and there are all sorts of questions as to what really happened, and whether or not the stories about him were true.

This comic is not just about Hudson though.  There are vignettes about his fans and their own relationships.  There is a sequence about Hudson's drug dealer, and another story about an anxious young man embarking on a long bus trip without a refill on his Valium prescription.  Two things recur throughout the book - a new drug called Fuckdrine (which sounds a little like Ecstasy mixed with Viagra), and a burly music shop owner.

I have no idea when or how this story is going to continue, but I do know that I'm going to be picking up the next volume for sure.  This is not quite like anything else on the stands, with it's purple tones and kaleidoscopic story structure, and it's just the type of comic I love getting my hands on from time to time.

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