Graphic Novel Review: Listen, Beautiful Marcia by Marcello Quintanilha

Listen, Beautiful Marcia by Marcello Quintanilha. Translated by Andrea Rosenberg. Fantagraphics, 2023. 9781683967774. 128pp.

There’s something super slick about this book despite all the pain in its pages. A lot of it has to do with Quinanilha’s art; the way his unusual colors don’t all have inked outlines seemed to let the images go straight to my brain. The hand-drawn word balloons had a similar effect, thanks to the large format of the book, which made it readable and easy to appreciate its beauty.

This is an adult graphic novel about a mother, Marcia, working as a nurse. She is in a long-term relationship with Aluisio, and both live with her adult daughter, Jaqueline, who is making bad choices and is mostly awful. Shortly after the book opens Marcia finds out Jaqueline has an STI, and gets some free drugs to treat it from the hospital where she works. Jacqueline is angry and says Aluisio gave her the STI (though Marcia doesn’t believe her daughter.) Aluisio’s support means something to Marcia, but it’s not enough; Marcia’s only real refuge is her part-time job, where she provides private, in-home care to Dona Cremilda.

There are lots of intense scenes in the book, many of them having to do with local gangs and the violence they perpetrate. But at the heart of it all is Marcia’s love for her daughter and Aluisio’s love for Marcia.

This is an intense, readable graphic novel by a Brazilian comics creator.


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