There is nothing exciting going on in the town of Blumenau in Brazil. The older people are lost in the distant memories of the horrors of World War II, and the younger people are constantly looking for ways to rebel against their elders—but all of that changes when a retired German’s dog goes berserk. That is how Doberman, the brief online graphic novel by Felipe D’Andrea, opens.
D’Andrea himself describes his graphic novel surprisingly accurately as follows: “The south of Brazil became home for many Europeans after WWII, specially Italians and Germans. Mirian is a teenage girl living in the city of Blumenau. Coming back from school, Mirian runs into her German neighbor walking his Doberman-Pincher. A canine attack, a murder, and the fact that the girl is Jewish will all have a drastic effect on her life. A mysterious tale in the shapes of the Twilight Zone.”
A hint of fantasy, a dash of legend, and the mystery spreads like wildfire. Jewish teenager Mirian is attacked by her neighbor’s Doberman Pinscher while hanging out with her boyfriend, Alexander. The next morning, a man is found dead nearby. The tension is heightened by the fact that the older Jews and Germans still remember the war far too well, and Mirian is forced to confront her own heritage as she searches for an answer.
At times, the many entwining narratives get a bit confusing and hard to follow and to connect because of the style and complexity. Each character plays an important role as the background unfolds, and the flashbacks help aid the building tension. However, the story does succeed in doing a wonderful job blending many parts of real life with the most unlikely of fiction elements. Artist Joao Pirolla also shines in bringing this story to life with his detailed and eye-catching artwork, bringing a sense of quality to an otherwise exciting story, and the fact that it is available for iPad as well as a regular PDF file makes for easy reading and wide availability.
Doberman is complete with everything from teen romance to a detailed evaluation of the long-term effects of the holocaust on survivors, but it’s the Twilight Zone-style ending that really makes this a comic worth reading. Why doesn’t the old German man put a muzzle on his savage dog? Who killed that man, and why? Can Mirian ever have the relationship that she wants to have with her boyfriend?
The answers can be found in the beautiful, black and white pages of Doberman, where past and present, reality and fantasy, collide. All this and more, in a manner much like the Twilight Zone.