CLEAN BREAK FELIPE NUNES Self-published (Brazil) | Spring 2019 | 220 Pages | B&W
Foreign sales: Poland (Timof) From the most promising young talent in Brazilian comics today, an uncanny yet bitingly funny dystopian tale of anthropomorphic animals that combines Scientology, Blade Runner and classic hard-boiled. After medical studies confirmed the addictive properties and overall harmfulness of sugar, the World Agreement was established between governments and private companies at the international level to ban the sale and distribution of all sugar and saccharin by-products. Consequently, the Aminanima, an innocuous, organic sugar substitute, took over at a global scale, along with a social movement called The Progress, advocating an uncompromisingly healthy lifestyle and rejecting all things connected to the pre-sugar ban. The Progress propelled the creation of a new city, Varva, with perfect standards of life and consumption and the Old Town was then gradually abandoned, with violence, degrade, and poverty taking over as a consequence. A new 8 steps program called Complete Purification, a weird mix of Alcoholic Anonymous and the religious sect Scientology, started gaining popularity through free pamphlets around the city; its 8 steps (like the 8 chapters of the book) were aimed at transforming outcasts, sugar junkies, and other people that couldn’t fit into the new Varva society into purified people.
Alberico DeLucca and Silas Castan are veteran partner agents of the Varva Police Department’s Low Cases Unit (LCU). The LCU is considered low meat in the police rankings, dealing specifically with crime only related to the Old Town. The duo’s performance has been precipitating for a while due to Silas’ secret sugar addiction. Therefore the department decides to hire some extra help: the young and bright Tarsilla Kopff, star pupil of the Varva Police Academy mysteriously removed from her previous unit. The discovery of a body in the back of a sketchy Old Town bar will bring out an investigation that will gradually shed light on the Progress’ social cleaning agenda, one targeted at eliminating specific groups and classes, and also trigger a series of unfortunate events, including the expulsion of Silas from the Varva Police Department and Tarsila’s embrace of the aforementioned 8 steps social program that will lead the story to unexpected turns. Apart from the page turning mystery, the book, by means of focusing on the reality of the Old Town, showcases the effects and downsides of a society constructed under a dictatorship of the mind, which will prove more oppressive and annihilating than a traditional one and might suggest to us similarities with our contemporary western society.
FELIPE NUNES is a twenty year old cartoonist and illustrator currently studying graphic design. He works at the studio of Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá in Sao Paulo. Having been making comics since age 15, his first published graphic novel, Klaus, won the HQ MIX Award (most prestigious Brazilian comic prizes) for Best New Talent and was nominated in two more categories.