Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Mesmo Delivery - Reviewed

I have been on an awesome book binge lately. Recently I read Mesmo Delivery by Rafael Grampá, published by AdHouse Books, and immediately fell in love with the book

The hype:
Mesmo Delivery is the full color debut sequential work by Eisner Award-winning Brazilian creator Rafael Grampá. The story is one of mystery and action, as Rufo, an ex boxer, must deliver the goods while promising to NEVER open or inspect his cargo. Mayhem ensues as the precious cargo becomes the goal of others. Wizard calls it Convoy meets The Twilight Zone. 56 pages, FC, 7" x 10", $12.50

I'm not a big fan of Wizard Magazine but they got it right with Convoy meets The Twilight Zone. Maybe more X-Files than Twilight Zone but close enough. The story is simple enough, a trucker is taking a load to a destination and gets in a bar fight along the way. While the story can be summed up in one sentence, there is much more going on than just that. For starters, the trucker doesn't know what he's hauling. And, there's the mysterious passenger who riding along to guard the unknown cargo. And, there's a certain amount of evil hints and allegations about the unknown cargo presented in well timed flashbacks. It's the little bits that raise this above your average book.
If you can't guess, I really liked the story. I’m a huge art fan so I often take chances on books just because they look pretty. In this case, the previews looked great but I didn’t expect anything in terms of story. I have to admit that I was impressed with Grampá story. He manages to take some typical characters make them interesting in a limited amount of space. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking gobs of characterization. I'm talking just enough to get me between beautifully executed fight scenes. But, beyond the characters, Grampá really sets the tone with the mysterious cargo and what it just might, or might not, be.

The best part of this book is Grampá's art, which is amazing to look at. While not completely accurate, I like to think of it as a cross between Dave Cooper's short-twisted figures and Geof Darrow's hyper detail. Yes, it's that good! But beyond figure work, Grampá has a great sense of character design, space, and page layout. And again, it's all in the little details. For example, the trucker wears a baseball hat for 1/2 the book and not once do you see his eyes. It's only after his hat is knocked off that you actually see them. In terms of page layout, Grampá uses various layouts throughout the book to great effect. Whether it's narrow horizontal panels stacked tight for flashbacks or panel-less pages for the most vicious part of the fighting, it's all used to great effect. And, I really enjoyed as I read this for the third time that I was still able to find more and more of these little details in the art.

It's a little pricey for 56 pages but it's worth the price of admission. It has high quality paper and stiff covers which just helps it look even prettier than it is. If you enjoyed Darrow's Shaolin Cowboy then you will love this.

For more fun you can visit Grampá here and see a 10 page preview here

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