Run for It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought for Their Freedom

Marcelo D’Salete. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (180p) ISBN 978-1-68396-049-2
First published in 2015 in D’Salete’s native Brazil, this striking graphic novel exposes the brutality of slavery on that country’s sugarcane plantations via five stories of slaves who attempted escape. With a dry-brush effect, the art conveys the dark, foreboding danger of the jungles surrounding the plantations and the energy and moods of the men and women who react to their enslavement in various ways. A young woman, Nana, is hesitant to leave the relative comfort of the plantation kitchen. Her lover Valu, who works in the fields, desperately longs for escape. This tension between safety and freedom underscores the decision each character eventually makes. D’Salete depicts their determination with a few lines and well-placed shading, though the women lack the same visual individuality that male characters have. Brief touches of the supernatural, in the tradition of Latin American magical realism, show how characters transcend unfathomable horrors. This graphic novel is a beautiful, brutal, and profound work of art that ensures that the legacy of brave men and women who refused to relinquish their humanity will not disappear. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/16/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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