Last wednesday I went to the local film society to see the 1987 movie A Dama do Cine Shanghai. It's a long, yet seizing thriller that won more than thirty awards worldwide.
This movie has a lot of elements in common with Samsara: noir narration, a mysterious woman that gets a guy in trouble, witty dialogues, old appartments. Some people noticed refrences to The Godfather and Hitchcock too.
After the movie, we had a chat with the author and director, Guilherme de Almeida Prado. Apparently, some critics had found references to movies Guilherme didn't even know existed at the time! We talked a lot about cinema, but that's not our focus here.
Then I brought up the comics. Hector Gomez Alisio was doing the storyboard for the movie, and he said, hey, we should make a comic out of this! But it was a B movie script, with lots of dialogues and most of the action not happening on screen, it wouldn't work, and it wouldn't be worth it to make an adaptation. What the hell, Guilherme had another script, that'd be too expensive to be made into a movie anyway.
And so Samsara was born. For some reason, they didn't know the publisher demanded a specific number of pages, so they had to add about eight pages in the middle after it had been done. Yeah, the explosion in page 26 was a big filler! My guess is that that probably added to the intricate script!
Other funny facts. Guilherme and Hector communicated by mail. Sometimes Hector would change a charcter's hair from one scene to another. Also, sometimes he would make too tiny bubbles:
— How am I gonna put all that text in there?
— I don't know. I drew it like that and it looks nice, so we're keeping it.
Samsara should have been published also in English and Italian, but the original publisher had made a mess with the masters for printing (I'm no press expert, but you know) and it didn't wanna make new ones. Notice that the blue is always a bit off in the scans.
Guilherme had just learned how to work with comics (and with Hector) and they were going to do a REALLY good one (as if Samsara wasn't awesome already), a five-part graphic novel. But then the graphic novel vogue ended in Brazil and the publisher closed its doors for them. Maybe some badass company should pick this forgotten project up!
I showed him my scanlation and he loved it! Man, THAT'S WHEN SCANLATION PAYS OFF!!
And I got an autograph:
His writing is as ugly as mine!