Dante Elefante by J.J. Rovella
Colección Aventuras Dibujadas
I met J.J. Rovella while interviewing La Banda Dibujada (reflections on the interview are soon to be posted). The day after the interview, I bought Dante Elefante, a children’s comic about a blue elephant that has quite an active life—he falls in love, dies, does sports and tries to lose weight. My favorite aspect of the comic is the way Rovella recognizes the physical constraints of a comic (the panels, text bubbles, the space a comic occupies) and plays with them in a clever way. For example, Dante jumps off a diving board and is so heavy he breaks through the panel and off the page. In another scene, he sneezes while trying to read the newspaper, blowing it to pieces. After diligently taping the newspaper back together, we find that the end of the comic strip we are reading has been mis-taped and features another cartoon. Rovella creates comics acknowledging and then disregarding the limitations of a typical comic strip, challenging us as readers to think outside the panel.