Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Golden Bookshelf:

This critically-acclaimed collection of short stories from Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, twin brothers from Brazil, retells the move of two very similar characters from their urban home in São Paulo to the magical-realism of the world of Guyville.

 

De:Tales–Stories from Urban Brazil

Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, twin brothers from Brazil, are the latest in a promising crop of young creators using the comics form to tell straightforward literary stories without any apparent self-consciousness or pretension. De:Tales is a collection of mostly short (4-6 page) stories by one or both of the brothers, done in an uncluttered black and white style full of atmosphere and character.

The stories take place in the brothers’ home city, São Paulo, but they could just as well be set in any modern city. The real scene is “Guyville”—that transnational state of mind where 20-something lads wander, mingle, philosophize and engage in complicated mating rituals with women who seem to have it much more together than they do.

At their worst, the De:Tales stories represent a credible, if predictable take on the current state of Guyville. At their best, as in the centerpiece story “Happy Birthday My Friend,” they reach a place of real imagination and emotional authenticity.

The back jacket of De:Tales compares Fábio and Bá, inevitably, to Los Bros Hernandez. Maybe so, but the evidence isn’t there to support the comparison yet. It’s hard to say exactly what De:Tales is up to beyond telling a few mildly-compelling stories in an appealing if undistinguished art style. These bros have talent for sure, but their debut lacks sense of urgency behind the early Love and Rockets or something more comparable—say Alex Robinson’s Box Office Poison.

 

De:Tales

Art and writing by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

Dark Horse Books, 2006

TPB, 114 p. b/w, $14.95

Rob Salkowitz is a Seattle-based writer and authority on all manner of aging newsprint. You can e-mail your comments and queries to Rob at rob_comics@yahoo.com. Use "ComicBase" as the subject line.

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