Sunday, December 12, 2010

Macanudo Part Deux

Liniers’ abundant imagination and capacity for turning aspects of daily life into something fantastical makes Macanudo one of the most interesting comics I’ve ever read. He takes a perfectly normal situation and shows us a new perspective. For example, one strip features two tennis players hitting a tennis ball back and forth, observed by two pigeons. In the last panel, one pigeon says “poor egg,” referring to the ball. Liniers reinterprets a tennis match from the point of view of birds. The charmingly naïve view that the characters have of their surroundings makes the comics funny as well as endearing.

It is extremely difficult to describe this comic strip in a blog post because there are so many plots and characters. There are dwarves, frogs, robots, lice, penguins, tomatoes, pigeons, sheep, dogs, ghosts, radioactive toys, and human beings. The strips are set in generic cities and the countryside as well as various regions of Argentina. Liniers features a few regular strips: “Oliverio, the Olive” where poor Oliverio avoids being eaten in a number of cruel ways; “The True Adventures of Liniers” where Liniers, drawn as a human with a rabbit’s head, recounts the mundane, but oddly fascinating things that happen to him; “People Around Here” a strip that focuses on the innermost thoughts of a few people (see above). One of my absolute favorite tropes is his portrayal of emotions as physical creatures. Endorphins are tiny, small oval-shaped creatures. Envy has fangs and weighs people down by standing on their shoulders. Melancholy is a spotted yellow creature that follows people around, harassing them.

There are so many themes I want to explore in Macanudo that writing generally about this comic is disappointing. I taught a class about Argentine graphic novels during interterm last year and we read excerpts for a discussion of portrayals of the city. I might come back to that theme later in my posting.

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