Article on “Comics Memory” (Palgrave)

Just to let you know that a new volume of the Palgrave Studies in Comics and Graphic Novels series is out, entitled Comics Memory. Archives and Styles. Edited by Maaheen Ahmed and Benoît Crucifix, this collects the papers and essays presented at the Comics and Memory conference, that took place in Ghent in April, 2017. I was blessed to be accepted to this incredible company, so this volume does contain an article written by me. Continue reading “Article on “Comics Memory” (Palgrave)”


Sequences. Stanley Wany (Trip)

Apparently, Sequences is the third part of a trilogy of highly personal books, being the first two called Agalma and Dreamcave. Having not read any of those, I will trust extratextual information that the associations between these books are more topical and methodological than actually diegetic, even if some characters and visual traces cross them all. To a certain extent, each of these books seems to act as a sort of diary for Wany’s semi-hallucinatory, hipnagogic experiences, something that has been attempted before by artists such as Aleksandar Zograf. But whereas Zograf is rather more whimsical and filled with poignant observations about life in Serbia and zany humor, Sequences explores narrative structures and relationships between characters and symbol straight out of an archetypal repertoire (Jung is quoted in the epigraph, there’s cameos by the major arcana, Joseph Campbell is discussed in the preface by Marc Tessier). Continue reading “Sequences. Stanley Wany (Trip)”

Tumult. John Harris Dunning and Michael Kennedy (SelfMadeHero)

Tumult is… well, tumultuous. A stirring, science-fictiony, high-octane and tech-savvy plot of deceit, espionage, and noirish seduction. A toothsome cocktail with a bittersweet aftertaste that throws a number of classics into a refined, contemporary crisp form. A zest of Lolita for first sip, and then a barrage of Highsmith and Hitchcok, as promised by the back cover blurb, but also Burroughs, Palahniuk, B. E. Ellis, and a plethora of direct references to other books, comics, films, music and even to board games, with the role-playing Dungeons & Dragons at the fore, unsurprisingly. After all, Tumult‘s core story spins around a woman with “split personality,” the popular misnomer for dissociative identity disorder. From such a popular standpoint, dangerous roleplay is king. Continue reading “Tumult. John Harris Dunning and Michael Kennedy (SelfMadeHero)”

Acquisition. Cátia Serrão (kuš!)

In 2011, I had the privilege and the honor of curating a show at the Berardo Collection Museum in Belém, Lisbon, focused on the contemporary scene of Portuguese comics and how they responded to formal and aesthetic experimental concerns as well as to see how certain artworld objects or from contiguous media could be addressed as being part of an expanded vision of comics themselves. This was entitled Tinta nos Nervos, and it counted with the help of many friends, including the participating artists. Among them was a young experimental artist who had not produced that much work by then, and not known at all. In fact, it is still not that known today, as Cátia Serrão – that’s her name – has made choices that are not conducive to fame and fortune. Then again, every time one mixes the words “comics” and “experimental”, more often than not one is going down a world of trouble.  Continue reading “Acquisition. Cátia Serrão (kuš!)”

“Magma”, in Strapazin no. 130

The Fumetto International Comix Festival, held last April in Luzern, Switzerland, is probably the closest one has to contemporary art fairs, probably. Now, there’s a number of shows which present new work, but more often than not those are small gallery shows. European festivals seem also to be more prone to present original art from comics projects as art exhibitions, and less as a commercial-drive convention, but there’s always a mixture of those dimensions (and beyond). In any case, Fumetto goes a little further, by commissioning new work, and usually in innovative ways. Continue reading ““Magma”, in Strapazin no. 130″

Poster Book. Andrzej Klimowski (SelfMadeHero)

More often than not, mainstream accounts on the history or celebration of comics repeat the same names over and over again, until they’re congealed in a canon, that can go by many names: “the indispensable”, “the masters”, “the definitive best”, “the consensual”, and so on. Even not so much mainstream accounts, that do make an effort to cast their nets wider and in a more diverse way, seldom include work that has been done in order to transform the medium, language and art of comics into something riskier when it comes to storytelling structures and representational strategies. Andrzej Klimowski has been creating books that at one time recuperate older traditions of visual narratives, such as the woodcut novels of Frans Masereel and Lynd Ward, and deploy tropes and techniques from other art realms into comics-making. Klimowski belongs truly to the core of that which Domingos Isabelinho has called for multiple times: not a history of alternative comics but an alternative history of comics. Continue reading “Poster Book. Andrzej Klimowski (SelfMadeHero)”

Steven Universe, Art & Origins. Chris McDonnell (Abrams)

Steven Universe is an incredible animated series, celebrated by both fans and critics. In many ways, it is a very simple, straightforward show, with short episodes on the life of Steven Universe, who, according to one of the primitive notes that Rebecca Sugar wrote down when starting to think about the show, and included in the first pages of this book, is “a little brother”. But, the note continues, the show “would touch on a feeling that all kids can relate to – just wanting control over your own life!” Does it help that Steven is a little boy whose mother, Rose Quartz, was an alien, crystal-like entity that had to give up her human form so that Steven was born? That his father is a warm, but pretty deadbeat rocker who works in a small car-wash business now? And that he is raised by not one, but three surrogate mothers in the shape of other Gem-warriors from outer space, protectors of Earth from a universe-spanning conflict? Does it help that Steven has to deal not only with regular Earth life but also with his budding magical superpowers? Maybe not, but Steven has sure a lot of people willing to help him.  Continue reading “Steven Universe, Art & Origins. Chris McDonnell (Abrams)”

Best Comics of 2017 @ Paul Gravett’s

Every year for the last few years, Paul Gravett invited me to contribute to his global Best Of list, to which I contribute with my own take on Portuguese comics. This year is the last, as I’m stepping evermore into the role of an author. I’m not a fan of “best ofs” and “top tens” and the like, as we will always leave something out that deserves one’s attention and there’s too many factors to think, so any comparison is always problematic. Still, among the pile of work to do, books and mags and zines and newspapers and papers to read, I hope I can can call the attention of an international audience to some of the vibrant books being put out in your little corner. Enjoy!


La terre des fils. Gipi (Futuropolis)

There are, perhaps, one too many “post-apocalyptic dystopian stories” to the point that it becomes, sometimes, not only a genre, with all its expected but exciting formulas and structures, but also very predictable. Genre fatigue sets in fast. Nevertheless, once in a while, an author is able to explore still a fresh take on a well tread territory, not by piling up upon it new facets, or expanding its scope, but rather by zeroing in on a single dimension.  Continue reading “La terre des fils. Gipi (Futuropolis)”

Site no