Comics and Graphic Novels

Release: Ballad for Sophie – Filipe Melo and Juan Cavia

The best Portuguese graphic novel (of 2020)!

The Portuguese comics scene, after a decade of growth and increased production of interesting works, made by authors and illustrators with great talent, reaches adulthood with the graphic novel “Ballad for Sophie” (“Balada Para Sophie”). This is a breathtaking work, allowing an immersion that is rarely seen in this medium in Portugal. With a bit more than 300 pages, the quality bar of Portuguese comics was raised. The work of Filipe Melo, Juan Cavia, and the production team for this enterprise is of very high quality; all future graphic novels published in Portugal will have “Ballad for Sophie” as an example to surpass, which is good for the quality of the Portuguese comics scene.

This is the seventh book of a duo or artists that are best known for the science fantasy trilogy (plus a volume of untold stories) entitled “The Adventures of Dog Mendonça & Pizzaboy”. Dark Horse Comics published the books in the US [01]. This book – “Ballad for Sophie” – is not a sci-fi or fantasy graphic novel but it has a pinch of magic realism due to the health condition of the protagonist. The English version will come out soon and, online, it’s possible to read the synopsis (I share below):

“1933. In the small French village of Cressy-la-Valoise, a local piano contest brings together two brilliant young players: Julien Dubois, the privileged heir of a wealthy family, and François Samson, the janitor’s son. One wins, one loses, and both are changed forever. 1997. In a huge mansion stained with cigarette smoke and memories, a bitter old man is shaken by the unexpected visit of an interviewer. Somewhere between reality and fantasy, Julien composes, like in a musical score, a complex and moving story about the cost of success, rivalry, redemption, and flying pianos. When all is said and done, did anyone ever truly win? And is there any music left to play?” [02]

It will not be surprising to see a rain of awards, especially after the English and French translations are out. I strongly recommend all lovers of comics and good stories to purchase this book.




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