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
announces--on 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
"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."
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