“Rosie in the Forest”: panties and a talking dog star at HQ – 05/17/2022 – Illustrations

When the fringe shines—or worse, it can be hard to determine what really defies the boundaries of tradition and what only recycles other people’s fears for success. So how can talking about killer panties, a dog being forced to sniff cocaine, and a girl always half-naked have anything to do with anything other than teenage catharsis?

“Rosie in the Forest” doesn’t answer that question, but it could give some clues into this abyss. The first graphic novel published by British author Nathan Cowdery confronts the reader, from start to finish, at around 130 pages, as the cute and the disgusting coexist in a story that is not very touching, even simple – above all, very enjoyable.

Overall, through a flashback of the dog Denton – who is found tied up and stabbed on the banks of the Amazon by two missionaries who have just lost their virginity – we meet the mysterious and indifferent Rosie, a ruthless young woman who makes a living by the drug trade.

In addition to dog loyalty, Denton has a strong sexual and platonic attraction to her, although the girl forces him to board a plane with kilograms of cocaine in his stomach. The animal in love will end up being the victim of another strange and surreal character, Kalcinha’s costume – a separate star, who has legs and arms, speaks, makes a Machiavellian plan and still denies the Holocaust.

The original name, “crash site” – or area of ​​impact – refers to the crash of the plane with Denton, Rosie and their underpants into the Amazon rainforest, after the duo leave Manaus, which will determine the fate of the heroes.

It would be a strange story in itself, but Cowdrey cultivates his demon in the details. Influenced by manga and children’s comics, his lines are clean and precise, human eyes have thick eyelashes and an unreal and excessive luster. Colors, in particular, resume the bar-drawing style of analog animation. His paintings are regular, with some welcome little boldness, which lends rhythm to the narration.

Readers of the latest comics from publisher Veneta, which brought the work to Brazil, may remember the general jellies of Brazilian Gustavo Piqueira in “Domex” as well as Australian Simon Hanselmann — who signs a compliment on the back cover of “Rosie in the Forest” and “Crisis Zone” are published. And the impeccable ‘bad behavior’ here. They are featured references, but they give clues to reading this comic book.

From the start, there is an effort to research and investigate the language that Bequeira, a prolific graphic artist, makes when collecting intrusive images. Of these, Henry Darger is the most represented here, with paintings of hermaphrodite Victorian girls and demons on slates disturbed by mutilated decals, where aberration prevails where there was originally a purity.

However, with Hanselmann, there is a strong dialogue not only with brilliant nihilism and “flat comedy” (and ultimately desolate), but with his world that mixes reality and animation – look at the two heroes, the couple Meg and Mog (a green witch dressed in costume) A character and a black cat), inspired by the children’s book series “Meg and Mog”.

Suppose Hanselmann’s work trumps all the emotional engagement he establishes with his simple art and the continuity of stories—whether on a single page or occupying dozens. But Cowdrey shares the advantage of making a world populated by talking animals and moving things to surprise us and also to explore a world of images imposed by a dominant civilization (represented by Denton and Rosie as loyal viewers of the British reality show “Got Talent.” and the like).

If The Adventures of Tintin (another epic about an adventurous journalist and his dog, often in “backward” countries), the well-defined lines of the Belgian master Hergé also produced racist drawings, here the British author maintains the same clarity in taking shape without getting in his way.. with political goodness but The bad taste of colonialism.

To be affected, beware. There are scenes where Denton masturbates with a magazine where Apu – the stereotypical Indian character from the Simpsons – is being harassed by “politicized girls” until the pup ejaculates his “white privilege”.

There are still moments when Rose and some friends go sunbathing on a shared beach, get beaten up by a lifeguard, and the animal gets excited to see a girl pee behind a rock.

And while there’s no sexual arousal on the album (especially the childish, low-volume graphics), there’s also a great sense of humor when the author censors vaginas or uses bullshit clichés.

At the same time, Cowdrey seems interested in constantly pointing to the cultural appropriations and downplaying death and sexuality that the alternative comics themselves have successfully nurtured in a subjective or realistic way – see Charles Burns or Chester Brown.

It is no coincidence that since opening with missionaries in the Amazon, in a boat befitting a “Fitzcaraldo,” with the right to call an indigenous tribe, the comedy jumps into episodes of the Vietnam War that are sometimes single, in Denton seen – sometimes digital – In the video game played by Rose.

In the end, it is difficult to determine the political meaning of this truly contemporary “Tintin”, and although not Joseph Conrad, Nathan Cowdrey presents himself as an apprentice who does what he can to lead the reader into his own heart. From dark and sinister comedy.

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