Reporting from Brazil, Shasta Darlington profiles a handful of comics artists for American Airlines’ in-flight magazine American Way, which includes a discussion with award-winning artist and writer Marcelo D’Salete.
D’Salete, 39, grew up in a poor São Paulo suburb. His characters, developed in haunting black-and-white ink drawings, reflect that world: They work in unsavory nightclubs or try to scrape by as parking attendants. Danger lurks in the form of corrupt cops and drunken bar customers. The city seen through the eyes of D’Salete is more shadow than light. “São Paulo definitely has a big impact on my comics,” he says. “They’re very urban stories about marginalized characters. The ideas come from stories people tell me, my own research and my daily observations.”
Read Darlington’s whole piece at American Way.
In late May, I wrote about a new English edition of D’Salete’s graphic novel, Angola Janga: Kingdom of Runaway Slaves. For this big book, D’Salete mined historical texts about black resistance on sugar plantations during centuries of enslavement. The artist re-imagines the history of a community of slaves in the late 1500s who escaped brutalizing plantation labor and fled to the country’s hilly northeast. Read my piece on Angola Janga at The Los Angeles Times. More of my recent writing is at my portfolio page.