Sunday, October 10, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 249 (10/10) -- De:Tales by Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba

Gimmicks are great things to get attention, but you've got to have talent for the long haul. Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba first were known to the North American comic-buying public because of their oddity: they're twins from Brazil who both write and draw comics (sometimes together, sometimes separately). But their work is worth seeking out -- and clearly more so the longer they've been working -- because they are both genuinely talented and devoted to their craft, and because they work so magnificently together.

De:Tales is a collection of personal stories by Moon and Ba -- some more-or-less autobiographical, and some not, but all short, down-to-earth stories about people and their relationships -- originally published in 2006 but brought back this month, perhaps to catch the twins' greater recent profile after projects like Casanova and Umbrella Academy.

Whatever the reason, seeing a collection of comics stories about people -- none of whom punch each other, or wear distinctive costumes, or declaim at great length about their angst and responsibilities -- is wonderful, and should be encouraged whenever possible. De:Tales -- subtitled "Stories from Urban Brazil" -- collects a dozen stories from the first half of this decade, about dreams and dates, chance encounters and old friends, drinking and travel and meeting yourself in the bathroom. The main characters of these stories are sometimes explicitly Moon and Ba (or one or the other), and sometimes not -- but always young people like them, living in a Brazilian city like the one they do, meeting the people they know and see everyday.

The credits on the stories are in little Ba-Moon hieroglyphics, so I won't try to guess the credits -- they're all by Ba & Moon, in whatever permutations, and that's fine: these stories are all at least five years old, so they don't quite draw like this now anyway. (The most interesting artists are the ones who can keep drawing like themselves even as they grow; Moon & Ba are instantly recognizable, even as they change and refine their styles.)

De:Tales is a fine book of stories, by two excellent storytellers who always sweat the details -- and aren't afraid to let everyone know it.

Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index

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