Start to Finish – De: Tales

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Earlier this week, the Nerd Swole guys got back from San Diego Comic Con and founder/writer Brian Le hooked me up with a signed copy of De: Tales. De: Tales is 112-page collection of short stories written by Brazilian twin brothers, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon. Names sound familiar? Maybe it’s because they are the two authors of Daytripper, the critically-acclaimed graphic novel which inspired the Start to Finish column!

The Brothers

Bá and Moon

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Bá and Moon. They by far have my favorite inking style that I’ve seen and their art is always incredible. They often work together, switching off between art and writing in their works, but they’ve each worked separately on different projects as well. They’ve been writing and drawing comics for 15 years. Some of their notable works they’ve written or done art for include Daytripper (both), The Umbrella Academy (Bá), and Casanova (both). They also have a new graphic novel, Two Brothers, which will be released in October (you can preorder on Amazon now, I already did!).

The Book

De: Tales cover

De: Tales was written in their earlier years – some of the art in the short stories is dated and spans throughout the early 2000s – but it was published in 2006. It’s a drastic contrast between the art in Daytripper because I think their styles were much different in the early 2000s versus now, and it’s cool to see how they’ve developed over the years. It includes 12 short stories of varied length. The longest is 24 pages while the shortest one is just one page, front and back, interestingly enough.

I loved everything about this collection. A few of the stories, particularly El Camino, Estrella, and Qu’est-Ce Que C’est, stuck out the most but I enjoyed all 12 of the stories. Two of them – Estrella and Outras Palavras – had no words or dialogue at all and I was amazed that I fully understood what Bá and Moon were trying to convey without words. I suppose that says a lot for their art and how it can stand on its own. El Camino, the opening story, was really thought provoking and philosophical and left me with a similar feeling I had with Daytripper at the end.  Qu’est-Ce Que C’est is on my list of favorites because it’s actually directly about an experience that Bá and Moon had in Paris – and being my favorite graphic novel writers, I loved having a small view of one of their personal experiences.

A couple of the other stories involve the brothers in some way, and I expect that the majority of them do stem from experiences they’ve had. A lot of these stories are simple and involve everyday things that happen: meeting someone in a bar or on the street, waking up next to someone you don’t really feel anything for, missing out on opportunities by not taking chances. But Bá and Moon turn such simple experiences into extremely thought provoking pieces by throwing in the “what-ifs,” internal dialogue, and a little confusion in some places to leave readers thinking about the “endings” of these stories in terms of their own experiences in a sense.

Being short stories, none of them really have a definite ending – but that’s not what they are meant to be. They are meant to be a chunk of the whole story, where you fill in the end for yourself. Your take on some of these stories could be the complete opposite of my take on them, and that’s the remarkable thing about Bá and Moon’s work here.

I’ll finish by saying any time I read something by these two, I’m left feeling inspired for days. And I hope other people pick De: Tales up, along with Daytripper or any of their other works, and are left with the same feelings I have. Also, check out this video of Bá inking a page for their new book, Two Brothers, to see his inking style!

If you want to talk about any of these short stories or the brothers in general, let’s do it – contact me!

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