cover image Memories from Limón

Memories from Limón

Edo Brenes. Nobrow, $19.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-913123-04-8

Brenes delves into how the past and patterns of migration shape family and relationships, in this funny and sweetly told graphic novel debut full of reminiscences. Ramiro is visiting his mom when she shows him a box of photo albums. Curious about his family history in Limón, Costa Rica, Ramiro leaves his girlfriend Yoss in England and goes on a trip to collect stories. What he encounters are wildly entertaining tales of love and laughter, with some darker moments. Notable bits include his grandfather’s plastic hand but also his prowess at soccer, how his dad’s cousin lost his virginity, and how men used hair product to keep their pants from getting wrinkled. The art focuses on character drawings, with coloring changes to help differentiate between past and present—the past is rendered in muted grays and pinks, and is frequently shown through old photos. There are sequences when the stories told don’t match the shots; such as a yarn about catching a woman naked at the beach, where the art is her posing in a bathing suit (was the boyhood mind exaggerating or is it modesty for the page?). Also, cursive lettering occasionally renders the dialogue cramped. But, the variety and accomplished art outweigh any shortcomings. This meditation on the past melds melancholy and jubilation. (Feb.)