17 | AGO | 2019
Mexican comics artist draws his illegal migration to the U.S.

Mexican comics artist draws his illegal migration to the U.S.

Mexico City
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"Cita en Phoenix" is an autobiographic story in which Tony Sandoval narrates his journey to cross illegally the Mexican border with the U.S.

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In interview with EFE, Mexican author, Tony Sandoval, the creator of a mythological universe characterized by terror fantasy and adventure, talked about another story, which he presents in “Viñetas desde o Atlántico,” Appointment in Phoenix (Cita en Phoenix) published by Dibbuks, an autobiographic story in which he embarked to cross illegally the Mexican border with the U.S.

In his documentary with comic vignettes, he drew, 19 years later, his vision of that journey he made out of necessity in 1998 and he confessed that he did not know how to set down one of the biggest feelings that accompanied him in his adventure: “The anguish of not knowing what would happen.”

That feeling, he says, was worse than “running in the desert” or thinking that he was going to be shot or imprisoned, but he admits he “lacked the time to draw it.”

One of the most powerful scenes in the book, adds de author, reflects “the lack of communication” he had with his girlfriend who was waiting for him on the other side with no news.

His previous works, such as The Corpse and the Sofa (El cadáver y el sofá) or Melancholic Epidemic (Epidemia melancólica) have nothing to do with this new one in which the social perspective of the “migration phenomenon” and the strong personal vision of a real situation stand out.

Tony Sandoval, who has always developed more his drawer side, confesses that he never considered himself a “writer”, because he did not know he could write or “structure a story,” but when he got “certain maturity as a narrator” he decided to tell this story he had been saving and that until that moment he had thought of publishing.

Despite Cita en Phoenix departing from his genre, “it had good sales and reception from the public,” for he details that his usual audience read it and also people who “are attracted” by migration, so he has expanded his range of readers.



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Although he has continued with his usual topics, he does not rule out to focus again on social issues; he wants to explore new alternatives and he would like to talk about “nature and pollution.”

To him, culture and books can help reflect many topics that, although “we know they exist, we ignore how they exist” and artistic creations make “you become more curious and investigate more.”

Thereof, he keeps investigating migration in his country, for he says that the journey to the U.S. has changed a lot since now the border is much more “policed” and it is basically “impossible” to cross.

“There is a market that sells you shows that don’t make noise, they cross with camouflage suits. It’s almost like a commando. They go physically prepared, almost as in a military mission,” describes Sandoval still surprised.

When he did it, he experienced “dangers,” but he says that he did not find himself “in situations among life and death” and also states that he has “a soft and poetic style to tell things” which makes the reader submerge in his comic in a calm way.

The drawer is still a relentless traveler; for now, he lives in Geneva, but he has visited a great number of places all over the world and his global reflection about the comic world is clear: “We need more readers, to create more audience and be competitive with so many entertaining offers currently.”

In that sense, the initiative of "Viñetas desde o Atlántico", in which he participates for the first time, is exciting for him because it shows the “works that have quality and sensitivity,” but that are not works that are “on everyone’s lips.”

“I like that it is not the typical thing, what you see all the time. It is nice, with quality, but it’s not the same as usual,” says Sandoval about the 22nd edition of Viñetas.


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