Mr. Mendoza is the town’s self-appointed conscience.
Be careful growing up in the green, wet, mango-sweet Mexican village of Rosario, where dead corpses rise up out of the cathedral walls during July when it always floods; where vast silver mines beneath the town occasionally collapse causing a whole section of the village to drop out of sight; where a man with a paintbrush, to wit Mr. Mendoza, is the town's self-appointed conscience.
Magic realism, you say to yourself. Luis Urrea affirms to the contrary, "Not magical realism. It's how kids grow up in Mexico. Especially if you're a boy." And the part about Mr. Mendoza is really really true: he brandishes his magical paintbrush everywhere, providing commentary to singe the hearts and souls of boys who are looking to get into trouble. If he catches you peeping at the girls bathing in the river, he'll steal your pants and paint PERVERT on your naked buttocks. And one day, he performs a painterly act which no one in Rosario ever forgets!
Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of the widely acclaimed novel The Hummingbird's Daughter and a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction for The Devil's Highway. Inducted into the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, Luis was born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother. This is his first graphic novel and a riveting book, like Vatos, which young adults will love. Check out Luis' commentary on the upcoming Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush graphic novel.
Christopher Cardinale is a muralist and artist with a social message. His large-scale murals against globalization and war can be seen in New York, Italy, Greece and Mexico. He lives in Brooklyn. He is a regular contributor to the zine World War Three. Check out our blog for an article about Christopher's trip down to the city of Rosario, Sinaloa in Mexico. This is the town where Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush takes place.