Farewell by Joao Fazenda (Mini Kus! #114)

The first thing I noticed about Fazenda’s lines are how deceptive they are. They seem relatively simple at first, with mere suggestions of shapes, angles, and figures. But, the more you stare at them, the more detail, depth, and emotion they convey, the more the craft of comics-making seems to be on display, be it a purposeful cross-hatch, or squiggly motion lines. I love the camera placement in this book, one of my favorite examples being the top of page 3, as the characters and their boat are facing the audience, and we’re in their field of vision. It feels like we’re part of the story, being drawn into the adventure as they become lost on their way to a house. We learn that two sisters and their father are reuniting at their childhood home, to offer their titular farewell. At one point I laid the book down mid-read, splaying it open on my desk, and was taken aback by the gorgeous wraparound cover. It somehow seems to fit the expansive interesting notes about nostalgia that the narrative offers. It’s the idea that the place they recall no longer exists. It’s human nature to try and recapture a time and place, but nostalgia too is deceptive, those places are always lost, the time and place was a finite moment. It no longer exists. People, places, life itself evolves, and the thing we see in our mind’s eye with nostalgia only exists in our memories as a singularity. The affable grandpa seems ready to accept this reality, whether it’s his ability to part with physical objects, like readily giving the ocarina to his grandchild with no qualms, or his emotional readiness to part with the whole space as nature seems intent on subsuming it. While the sisters seem to wrestle with this in their own ways, to varying degrees of contentment, the dad’s wisdom of age allows him to know that these items and places and times have served their purpose. He’s at peace with beginning a new chapter. I felt good reading Farewell. Despite the subject matter having the potential to read bittersweet – it is about goodbyes after all – this is a feel-good book! The colors during the night sequence are gorgeous, as they contend with creatures on the peninsula retreat. The tiger feels like some kind of mythical spectre, which may or may not actually exist, and its ultimate appearance is like a physical manifestation of their nostalgia. The tiger, like nostalgia itself, is fleeting; it makes one final appearance to say goodbye, as the denouement suggests they came not to hold on to some place or memory, but to finally let go. I’ve been so impressed by this latest batch of mini kus! and Farewell is another absolute triumph both visually and conceptually. It’s a great example of utilizing the comics medium to achieve tertiary information delivery from the sublime pairing of art and words.


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