Visual artist Marcus Villaça brings us a vibrant chapter of “The Budapest Connection”, a dark and cold-war like mood graphic novel. ¶ After working for a long time as art director for several magazines, Marcus shifted into a different kind of storytelling. “Editorial design was fine as an idea or a concept. But with the way publishing eventually evolved I guess I lost a lot of the drive to tell stories that way. And then I realized that working as an art director in magazines I could not influence the storytelling anymore.” Marcus grew up in Brazil, lived in the Midwest, San Francisco for a while, NY, Barcelona, Lisbon and now Budapest where he’s founded a publishing label, Rocketpig Media. “Duna”, “Banana Paprikash”, “The Budapest Connection” or more recently “Sila” are some his last creations.
“Editorial design was fine as an idea or a concept. But with the way publishing eventually evolved I guess I lost a lot of the drive to tell stories that way.”
M —— How do you describe this project for Mente?
MV —— It’s a graphic novel. The whole concept is based on the fotonovelas — a format where stories are told by photographs — that was very popular in the seventies and the eighties, at least in Brazil, where I grew up. They would feature these very cheesy stories of couples and how they’ve met, their infidelities and whatever. I always though they were great, because it wasn’t a comic but was a story with photographs. And then I thought, why can’t I merge those two worlds and have something that is graphic and have that fantastic storytelling? Of course, a lot of people ask me if I did draw this and a I say no, it is just a filter form an iPhone. The whole idea here is not spending time on creating images showing that I can draw but telling a story using images in a way that can be fun. And also that can be done fast.
M —— On a first reading it really looks like a graphic novel but on the other hand it doesn’t seem to have any major influence from the traditional world of comics and graphic novels.
MV —— It should feel like a spy novel. At the same time it should feel like tongue in cheek. It’s not supposed to be taken seriously. I’m no trying to be intense but playful with dark images. Hence, in that sense, if you go through the story it feels like a little dr. Strangelove on how I play with the concept of storytelling.
M —— Does living in Budapest influenced you to make these kind of stories?
MV —— Yes, very much so. The places you can see here… there’s a lot of buildings and locations that still have that aura that can bring forward the story of what went on here. Although it’s becoming less frequent you still see buildings with a lot of bullet holes from world war II, or later. All the things that have happened in the recent history of Hungary are very present everywhere.
Check Rocketpig Media website here.
Read the full chapter of “The Budapest Connection” and the interview with Marcus Villaça on Mente 01, for free download here: