Mr. Mendoza, Mexico’s self-described king of graffiti, blesses the small town of Rosario with his sardonic wit. “Deflate your pomp or float away!” he paints on the body of an unexpectedly exhumed monk. “No intelligent life for 100 kilometers,” he proclaims on the sign that announces Rosario’s boundaries.
The residents of Rosario tolerate or enjoy Mr. Mendoza’s commentary as best they can. But the town goes crazy when Mendoza announceson the side of a pig“Mendoza goes to heaven on Tuesday.” Each new declaration from Mendoza drives speculation about his future. Suicide? Cancer? Syphillis? All the theories were in play until the Tuesday when Mendoza transformed his life with art.
Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush was originally written as a short story by Luis Alberto Urrea, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Devil’s Highway and an Edgar Award winner for his short story “Amapola.” It was published in 2002 as part of his collection Six Kinds of Sky . Artist Christopher Cardinale, whose graphic essays have appeared in the seminal magazines World War III and Punk Planet , adapted the short story to the graphic novel form.
And critics are raving about the outcome. The Bloomsbury Review says, “ Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush is a rich gift, an off-center, enigmatic tale with a well-coupled balance of narration and art. Urrea and Cardinale are a ‘match made in heaven.’” And Publishers Weekly adds that “this lovely comics adaptation
may have found the ideal way to present magical realism graphically.”
|Publisher:||Cinco Puntos Press|
|Product dimensions:||8.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.20(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Luis Alberto Urrea is author of widely acclaimed novel The Hummingbird's Daughter and 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction for The Devil's Highway . A member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, Luis was born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother. This is his first graphic novel. Christopher Cardinale is a graphic novelist, muralist and community activist who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is a regular contributor to the zine World War III .
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Mr. Mendoza is not only the self-proclaimed "king of graffiti" of his tiny Mexican town of Rosario; he is a prophet and a challenge to the society's sleepy complacency. The first example of his graffiti given to the reader is a painted on the corpse of a monk: "Deflate your pomp or float away!" Even as he seems to be a marginal and disliked character of Rosario, the society subtly shifts in its increasing anticipation of Mendoza's next 'proclamation' and anxiety about the ethos he is championing. A gorgeous graphic novel, the size of a children's picture book, which portrays quotidian humanity through its contrast from magical realism and a challenging prophetic perspective brought forth from a marginal and misunderstood social figure.
This is a graphic novel. First of all I have to admit to being a fan of the author, Luis Alberto Urrea. The artist is Christopher Cardinale. I have never read a graphic novel before this one. I admit that I may never read another, I just do not think that they are quite my cup of tea. Mr Mendoza's Paintbrush is about a small town, filled with the usual small town charachters. This town however, like so much that Urrea writes, has magic. The magic is mostly in the person of Mr Mendoza, an eccentric and enigmatic prankster who uses his paintbrush to keep the townsfolk on the straight and narrow.. and to keep them aware of the magic. And that is his primary job, I think. To keep folks aware of the magic. One day, he decides to take his leave .. and it is worth reading to see him go. The writing is typical of Urrea, meaning it is magical. The words tumble and flow and roll around each otherand create a magic of their own. The artwork? Well, that is absolutely beautiful, and has magic as well. This is an altogether satisfying read. Downside? Too short. Perhaps that is also its beauty.
The narrator of this short graphic novel is a young boy growing up in the Mexican town of Rosario. His town is home to lovely young women (of particular interest to our narrator!), sharp-tongued grandmothers, gossipy men¿and Mr. Mendoza, an old man who, with the help of a paintbrush, covers every convenient surface with his moralizing epigrams and scathing rebukes. At once point, he even paints his graffiti on the narrator¿s body when he catches the boy peeping at girls bathing in the river! This continues until one day when Mr. Mendoza decides his work is done and uses his paintbrush to find a surprising exit from Rosario¿and perhaps from the world. The artwork accompanying this charming, magical-realist fable borrows from both traditional Mexican folk art and from woodcuts, creating an appealing mix of the realist and the fantastic to complement the story¿s own similar mix.