Graphic Novel Review 129/365: De: Tales

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days!  Or hit up #GN365 on Twitter.

This week I will feature a great variety of comics and graphic novels that contain little to no words.

Title: De: Tales (Stories From Urban Brazil)  

Author(s): Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics (2006)

Age Rating: 17+

If you have yet to explore the works of Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba, you should.  Like a new film student exploring the works of an acclaimed director for the first time, if you are new to the medium or have just buried yourself in hero comics, once you read a title from these prolific Brazilian twins, you will be seeking out the rest of their work.

In this graphic novel, the brothers take turns writing and illustrating to bring us some amazing short tales about life in urban Brazil.  And while there are a fair amount of words in this book, slightly veering from the theme of the week, there are outstanding wordless pages and panels in this book, good enough to land it on a list of titles that successfully utilizes silent story-telling.

The black and white images in the book accompanied by fairly simple and blank backgrounds, allow Moon and Ba to utilize detailed yet subtle facial expressions to create emotion in the reader.  And larger panels with no words are used to cap a scene or enforce an emotion.  Moon and Ba are masters of indirect characterization.

A word of warning: there is nudity in this book, so if you use it in the classroom, you might want to edit what you show, or just use excerpts.  Moon and Ba are excellent story-tellers, and I would not ask them to edit their work, but if they did, they’d end up in many more classrooms for sure!

I’d grab De: Tales and experience it for yourself.  If it’s your first Moon and Ba title, congratulations!  May you have a long and healthy relationship with the twins.

Happy reading!

Eric

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