AUTUMN. THE WIND IN THE TREE, THE WIND IN THE WATER
Autumn. The Wind in the Tree, the Wind in the Water (excerpts), 2019.
Joana Escoval (story) & Hetamoé (drawings).
Published by KUNSTHALLE LISSABON (Lisboa, PT) w/ GALERIA VERA CORTÊS (Lisboa, PT)
Digital drawing, offset print. 24 pages. Cover and book design by ATLAS.
Written in Japanese and English.
A work of “global manga,” resulting from my collaboration with artist Joana Escoval. The book, presented in the Japanese reading direction (right to left), was drawn digitally using programs popular in anime fandoms, like Comipo! and PaintTool SAI. Sound, by means of the onamatopeias in hiragana (the only text in this "mute" comic), plays a particularly important role in the course of the story.
Based on a dream that Joana had about girls walking in the forest, Autumn portrays the Heroine’s journey and coming-of-age mutations as she follows a Matriarch and her female army among trees, wind, cliffs and ponds. The bright red dresses, the falling leaves, the mushrooms and the light reflected on water surfaces and the girls’ eyes envelop everything in fiery autumnal tones, contrasting with the occasional silences and blank spaces. Ambiguity reigns throughout. Are these advancing girls human, or the hive-minded growths of a larger, fungus-like organism? Are their anachronistic dresses à la Marie-Antoinette cloth garments, or their skin? What is the strange, snake-shaped appendix on the Matriarch’s chest? And what of the black stain on the Heroine’s?
As in any dream, Autumn presents a riddle to be deciphered, quietly revealing its secrets upon closer inspection. Still, the answers may drift away, like a leave in the water current.