For us, children of immigrants, there’s nothing like going to the country of our forefathers. As we hear stories about these places all our lives, and how our older family members want to go live back there sometimes. That is why, if we are lucky enough to go there at all, it really is a homecoming. Me, personally have been lucky enough to go both places, and as much fun as I had, I have never felt more out of place.
Yes, my parents came from these places, and technically, these places were considered my homeland, but in the eyes of my family in both places, I was an American. What Rodrigo Duterte said about Filipinos in America, digs into that divide as most of my family members were more than disgusted that anyone I knew. Because the reality is, in the immortal words of the rapper, Rakim, “it is not where you are from, it where you are at.” So, when I got a chance to read Cyril Pedrosa’s Portugal, it reminded of those trips to the Philippines and Trinidad, being in state belonging and no belonging.
We meet Simon Muchat, a comics writer suffering from writer’s block, who feels the pain of being listless, suffering endlessly as an art teacher. Everything changes, when he gets invited to go to a comics convention in Portugal, a place has seen since he was a child. Once he arrives, his life instantly gets siphoned into the ecosystem of the country, as immediately the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood encapsulates him. By book’s end, Simon, falls in love with the people and the country.
Overall, a gorgeous and earnest ode to how homecomings can be rediscoveries of self. The story by Pedrosa is funny and touching. The art by Pedrosa is master class in drawing light in sequential art as it only places in comparison to how lifelike he draws people. Altogether, a book that makes you believe that home can be more than where you are.
Story: Cyril Pedrosa Art: Pedrosa
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy