Highest Recommendations: ‘De:Tales—Stories from Urban Brazil’

Presently, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá are well known in the world of comics with especial thanks to Dark Horse Comics’ popular Umbrella Academy. Later this year, the Brazilian twin brothers join the ranks of artists who have helped make B.P.R.D an institution since it spun out of Hellboy. Me? I first came across Bá and Moon in Image Comics’ sci-spy story Casanova written by Matt Fraction. Their style so completely captured me and when I saw De:Tales in the Columbia Missouri Public Library back in 2007 I had to check it out.

De:Tales—Stories from Urban Brazil
De:Tales—Stories from Urban Brazil

My first reading of De:Tales took place on a toilet in a Super 8 Motel in Washington, Mo. Not as seedy as it sounds, I was doing a week-long field-trip/internship for a community journalism class I was taking and the Washington Missourian put me up at the Super 8 for the duration of my stay. (For the record, a very nice place to stay and far above what you’d expect from a chain motel across the rest of this country.)

Internships are funny things. They’re great opportunities and everyone is glad for the extra help, but they’re temporary and therefore inevitably end up being pretty lonely as making lasting relationships—especially with only a week’s time—is rare and even temporary friendships aren’t guaranteed. Knowing this would be the case, I went to CoMo’s (Columbia, Missouri) public library to pick up some graphic novel reading to accompany me during my week in Washington. De:Tales was one of those books.

Short, sweet and gorgeous to look at, De:Tales pulled me into its world of short stories, love and magical realism. I pored over the pages for forty minutes and completely forgot where I was—as if I had literally taken a trip through Bá and Moon’s Brazil. Casanova got me excited for the duo’s art, De:Tales made me fall in love with it—which is backwards chronologically, but who’s counting.

Today, my forty minute train commute was transformed into another mystical journey to Pele’s homeland as I dove head first into a copy of De:Tales I’d recently acquired. It’d been a over two years since I visited this book and I found myself still delightfully surprised by the same story points and twists; touched by all the same half-forgotten sentiments; in awe at all the same simple and deeply beautiful aspects of this work. When I turned to the last page and looked up to find I wasn’t drinking merrily with the ghost of a dead friend or at a rooftop barbecue on a sunny Saturday, I immediately wanted to escape back into the 112-page world of De:Tales.

De:Tales is a great read for art fans and short story fans alike, but it’s true value comes from the engrossing experience the book as a whole delivers. It’s a must read that I give my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

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