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Larva scan page 1From Marca de agua by Nik Neves in LARVA 17

A few months ago, a friend passed me the latest issue of LARVA, a Spanish-language  comics review from Colombia. It’s kind of their answer to Toronto’s Wowee Zonk, or other off-the-beaten -path platforms for graphic narrative.

Even if you don’t read Spanish, many of the comics centre movement and body language through the illustration, many without words. And some of the creators are not Spanish speakers themselves, like the UK’s Simon Moreton, whose work appears in translation but hardly needs interpretation; and Brazilian Nik Neves, whose dark, blurry, atmospheric illustrations feel like they come from another dimension.

Other highlights include Argentina’s Delius, whose stripped down strip tells a short Buenos Aires romance, and Montevideo’s Maco, who walks you along the beach.

But perhaps what I most appreciated about this collection was the opening essay where the editors discuss how fruitful it can be to take a break. Two years after its previous issue, the new edition of LARVA comes from a mature decision to take some time away, to look around, to take a walk, and to try to make a new face out of what they found.

LARVA is an awesome contribution to the comics landscape and is clearly on the pulse of the South American comics scene.

Jonathan Valelly is a writer, editor, and zinester living in Toronto. He is the Assistant Editor of Broken Pencil Magazine

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