comic art by Nelson Dias

The album 'Wanya, Escala em Orongo' (1973), although the only important contribution of Nelson Dias and text author Augusto Mota (b. 1939) to the field, it is a landmark in modern Portuguese comics. The influence and details of the 60's and 70's psychedelics' graphics, which, on their turn, draw often from the Art Nouveau design, are recurrent througout this work. The dynamic pages featuring the birds close-ups are a balanced counterpart to the apparent slow motion and reflective mood of the narrative visual.

Wanya 3, by Nelson Dias

On the other hand, the pontillisme technique perfectly counterbalances the weight of black, creating a smooth transition to white areas. The black and white option and its contrast with the color explosion in the graphic design of the period (e.g., The Yellow Submarine, rock albums' covers and Push Pin magazine) becomes then metaphoric and clearly political and intentional when several pages evoke Picasso's Guernica, Goya's The Third of May, 1808, racism, Watergate, Vietnam, and many other wars.

Wanya 5, by Nelson Dias

Nelson Dias and Augusto Mota also contributed to the short-lived fanzine Copra with the work 'Copra, A Flor da Memória' (1974). The last issue of the Spanish comic magazine El Globo (#21, November 1974) featured a collage of two politically engaged pages of Wanya as its full cover and published an interview with the authors (pp. 53-59).

Wanya: Escala em Oronga, art by Nelson Dias
Wanya: Escala em Oronga, art by Nelson Dias

Series and books by Nelson Dias in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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