Review: Mesmo Delivery by Rafael Grampa

This one's for my art hounds. 

Back in August, Ron offered a tantalizing show-and-tell with his discovery of up-and-coming Brazilian artist Rafael Grampá. The sampling of cover art and pinups showcased an incredible talent with a style unlike anything else on the racks. We've been looking forward to seeing more of the guy's work ever since. With Dark Horse's new printing of the graphic novella Mesmo Delivery, we finally have a complete course of Grampá's work as a sequential artist. 

And it's gonna make your toes fan out. 

Mesmo Delivery is a grizzly, grindhouse slobberknocker of a book that's every bit as depraved as it is breathtakingly gorgeous. Imagine Tarantino's take on a truckstop squabble between Popeye and Bluto. Imagine Queequeg's body art slinking off his flesh and running you to the ground. It's intensely violent and often crude, so it's not for everybody. Even so, there's much more going on here. So if you can stomach the gut punches and evisceration, Mesmo Delivery offers some exceptional artistry, and I urge you to give it a look. 

This is the sordid short story of two strangers on the road. A wily little micro Elvis called Sangrecco and his driver, a big burly ex-boxer named Rufo. They're shooting the shit in the mysterious Mesmo Delivery truck, out on Rufo's first job. When they stop at a down and dirty cantina for a pit stop, Rufo has a run-in with some inhospitable locals and the fists start flying. The setup seems simple enough, but expect a few of those holy socks moments you got from the first Scott Pilgrim book. Things get hairy right quick and you get to wondering whether Rufo pulled in to a dirty spoon at the edge of the Twilight Zone. Emphasis is on the Sam Peckinpah savagery, but the brain to brawn ratio balances out just right. 

Visually, Grampá's channeling something primal here, but in a very thoughtful way. Guy's eating his Wheaties. With the pared down color scheme (cream, crimsons, slate grays) and the route 66 Americana, theres a bit of a vintage Sailor Jerry vibe. Like classic tattoos. But he's also drawing on an Asian influence. Typically when we talk about comic artists taking inspiration from Japan, we have manga or anime in mind. But with Grampá it's Japanese fine art.  Ukiyo-e. And when Rufo takes a punch and starts seeing stars, the hallucinations look like Max Fleischer cartoons. Big Betty Boop eyes and Koko the Clown grins. Throw in some fully tactile textures, fish-eye lenses, and all the hyperviolence, and you're looking at a really complex and sophisticated view on the world. A total melting pot of influences from around the world and throughout the history of comics and animation. Combined, it's a disturbing. comical. exhilarating romp. 

Whether you're looking for something sinister and twisted or rich and refreshing, hitch your wagon to the Mesmo Delivery truck. It's worth the trip. 

Here's just a sampling of Grampá's mad genius: 



Paul Montgomery is thrilled to have opportunity to use the term 'slobberknocker'. Find him on Twitter or contact him at


  1. Sweet googly-moogly that’s pretty.

  2. I have been lusting aftrt that Mad Man print of Grampá’s ever since Ron Posted it. I would love to have a wall size canvas of that thing.

  3. P.S. i Assume this was originally  written with  Spanish dailogue? Did Grampa translate this into English himself? Was it smooth read in that regard?

  4. <snark>Ahem… Brazilians speaks portugese</snark>

  5. At first glance i thought that this was Illustrated by Paul Pope.  I like it! 

  6. @Gobo Well done. Well Done

  7. @DaveCarr heheh, can’t see anything saying what the original language was, I’m curious how it reads too.

  8. From appearances, nothing’s lost in translation. Dialogue felt completely natural. 

  9. Gracias.

  10. Obrigado

  11. @gobo – Certo. =)

    @Paul, @Dave-

    Mesmo Delivery came out here in Brazil in 2008, so it certainly was translated. Just don’t know if Grampá did it himself (unlikely) or if Dark Horse took care of it.

  12. so getting this book.

  13. If this finally makes it to my shop this week I’m totally on board.  Heard rumors it might not show up til March though.

  14. I forgot that pinup that Grampa did that made me take notice of him (was it in Daredevil?), but I’m quite enamored by his art. Will definitely have to get this


    It’s much like John Romita Jr’s style but in his own way. That old guy’s expression in the second panel of the third page is a striking resemblence to manga style.

  16. Hmm, I don’t really see JR Jr so much as I see Quitely or even Kricfalusi

  17. You had me at slobberknocker.

  18. @Gobo – Spot on. I can see both of those. 

  19. I can’t stop looking at that punching page, it’s just so dynamic!  You really feel the movement and impact in it

  20. We’ve had this in our stores since spring 2008.  It didn’t sell overly well with many customers, but we, the employees, enjoyed the punch out of it.  Can’t wait to see more by him.

  21. @ Paul: Queequag is a character out of Street Fighter, right?!

     This book really was fantastic, wasn’t it.

    Straight away, the art just blew me away. I can see a difinate Geof Darrow influence but that’s cool.

    But the subtext story is also strangely interesting. It’s always interesting to see a non-westerner (is Brazil part of the West? i have no idea) reinterpret americiana or americia folklore. He seems to have equal parts of genuine affection and disgust for typical americian attitude


  22. Wow that looks pretty.

  23. I don’t think it’s for me, but it does look pretty cool.

  24. if i were to say one little negative thing. it took me a long time to realise the guy with the knives was singing elvis songs as he did he’s killing. the lettering there was very hard to read

  25. i gooed my pants when i saw this in previews. 

  26. Awesome. Can’t wait for this. His Daredevil pin-up in Bru’s last issue was amazing.

  27. The writing was mediocre, but the art was orgasmic.  So I didn’t really care about the writing so much.

  28. pick this up 2 weeks ago. my favorite book so far this year.  is an ongoing or limited series in the works?

  29. @Paul & @DaveCarr:  Dark Horse probably translated it.  I read a lot of their manga and they have a stellar translation team.

  30. @Paul: Good find.  I’m so getting this book.  I like grindhouse stories, Japanese art, and Salior Jerry’s. Sounds like the perfect graphic novel.

  31. I picked this up back when AdHouse Books put it out because I was a fan of Grampa and was so happy to get my hands on more sequential work from the guy. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I have to get the Dark Horse reprint because they got the sweet sketchbook in the back of theirs. 

  32. Want.