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Review: Rendez-Vous in Phoenix

Just like the Bobby Caldwell song, “Do for Love,” people do the dumbest things when they are in love. Love is what my grandmother used to call having “stupid eyes”, which is a concept I did not get until I was older. When I first fell in love, and then when that same girl broke my heart, I finally knew what she was talking about. As you never really see the person’s flaws until you no longer have feelings.

Another reason, she called it that, is because people tend to stupid things when they catch feelings. This is not to say that love is not complicated and one should not try and find it, as the cycle of relationships and the ritual of courting has been around for centuries because that is what us human beings do, we fall in love. The long-distance relationships that exist in the world, are hard, almost impossible, but imagine a world where it can be even illegal. In Tony Sandoval’s impressive graphic memoir, Rendez-vous in Phoenix, he answers these questions somewhere between Mexico and the United States.

In the opening pages, we meet Tony, a young man, in Mexico, who is in love with his girlfriend Suzanne, an America student getting her master’s degree, in Oregon.  As the strains and the distance wear on their relationship and the length of the immigration process accelerates Tony’s loneliness, he makes the decision to cross the border into America illicitly. What follows is the many roads over the many attempts Tony takes to get to Suzanne despite being caught so many times. By the end of the book, when he does finally arrive in America, it is “not like on TV”, but his love endured the voyage and the sight of her, made him realize she more than worth it.

Overall, at times, funny, irreverent and heart-wrenching journey, which has the reader rooting for Tony to get to Suzanne. The story by Sandoval is every bit of an emotional rollercoaster, as his many attempts would have broken lesser men. The art by Sandoval reminds me of the finest satire cartoons from Esquire. Altogether, a timely tale of love and immigration, when the trials and tribulations of immigrants and refugees affect actual people that you get to know.

Story and Art: Tony Sandoval 
Translation: Jeremy Melloul and Mike Kennedy
Lettering and Design: Neurobellum Productions
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy