by Prabha Mallya
Mesmo Delivery is Rafael Grampa’s punch-packing 2008 debut in a comic storytelling world that had gone slightly predictable. It’s not an especially complex story, nor too long. It’s how it’s told that matters, and it’s pretty unforgettable.
This here image lay harmlessly in an online collection of great comic art we’d built a while back. Of course it made me sit up and look around for the book.
In this book, noises are loud. Fists move in bold new directions. Body parts are injured bloodied pummelled pounded decapitated in new, painful ways. Here, blows really hurt.
There is a character cloaked in a swirling soundtrack by Elvis. (And a more apt tune couldn’t be chosen. A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action Please seems to be the rousing, relentless underlying principle running the Mesmo Delivery show.) He’s no pretty perfect poster boy. Neither is any other character in the story.
Images, words, hand-lettering, sounds, heads, bodies slide smoothly through clever camera angles and panel compositions. The story reads like a movie - a greasy, sweat-scented, coffee-soaked, bloodstained one. The old western, the low-budget truck movie, freeze-framed anime, the contemporary Quentin-film diner spat all come to mind.
The artwork is hairily detailed and eye-defying in its complexity. The colour palette has been hit beautifully by a truck and pulses with dusty asphalt, old coffee, stale bacon grease, bloodstains and other bodily fluids.
Can you tell Grampa’s been a graphic designer, art director and motion graphics-maker?
Grampa, in true clearheaded creator fashion, describes Mesmo the best: It’s like to be slapped in the face and when you look for the aggressor, there’s nobody there.
‘Nuff said. Here’s a preview, so go read.