Monday, March 7, 2011


Within my first day in Argentina I bought $40 worth of comics. When I told my friend Anna, she replied "If you hadn't purchased any comics within 48 hours of your arrival in ANY place, I'd be worried. If there is one thing that you most definitely are, it's a comics hoarder." I plan to die buried underneath all my comics, so I obviously need to start buying now.

I walked down Corrientes, a street known for its abundance of bookstores. Librería Diogenes on Corrientes and Callao is my absolute favorite because they have a large selection of discount comics. Obviously, these comics aren't the best quality. Some are printed on newsprint while others are bound with cheap paper covers. I've read three of the seven comics, so far. My favorite is Estupefacto by Lucas Varela.

Carlos Trillo begins the prologue to Estupefacto by saying "We call someone crazy if they don't think like the rest of us. And Varela doesn't think like me. Or like anyone else, it seems." Varela has a morbid sense of humor and a litany of amoral, repulsive characters. Paolo Pinoccio, a lecherous wooden marienette, takes great pleasure in tricking other fairy tale characters. Most often, he dies and goes to hell, always managing to escape through some intricate plot. Estupefacto features a number of short comics. "Ese Placer de Morir" tells the story of a rabbit who dies, goes to heaven, comes back to earth when saved by doctors, kills himself so he can return to heaven, and ends up in hell. "Scatter: Un Amor de Mono," probably one of the more ridiculous comics, deals with a relationship and eventual marriage between Elvis and a satanic monkey. These stories are as ridiculous as they are terrifying. Varlela's true strength lies in his artwork. All of his stories have a dominant color pallette. "Scatter" is drawn in orange, red, and white, while "El placer de morir" uses blue and purple. The color scheme give a distinct feeling to each comic, allowing Varela to give the impression that each comic happens in a different world.

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