Graphic novel

Tia Nelly

by Gabriel Canul Olivares and Emaus Torres

aunt nellie1It’s awesome that they let you stay and play after the party!
Well, at least while there’s daylight.
I’ve always liked playing outside, since I was small, because I can see the city lights and all the people passing by.
They bought me these dolls in the city. I really like them. They are so green and scaly!

Tía Nelly002-2Well, now that we’re friends, I’ll give you this one with the medallion of power.
So you can destroy all your enemies.
No need to thank me, let’s play.
People are weird.

aunt nellie3Aunt Nelly says that’s why she had the party.
A party, she’d said.
Ha ha…Well, some of the neighbors went home pretty drunk…
With their noses and cheeks all red, so disgusting.
Another color would have been better.

aunt nellie4Although everyone else disagrees, I think Aunt Nelly is fabulous.
She looks after me and she loves me a lot and it’s not true that she teaches me bad things.

aunt nellie5On the contrary, she always tells me I should be good and smile at everyone.
“Winning them over is the first step,” she always tells me.

aunt nellie6But those people are a little crazy; they tell me mom is sick because of Aunt Nelly
The kid that sits next to you at school, with the snotty mouth told me his dad is a doctor.
And he says it’s impossible for a woman with the disease my mom has to stay alive so long without being in the hospital.
He says it seems more like it’s Aunt Nelly that’s making her sick.

aunt nellie7And you know what? A while ago, I still remember when mom could talk, she said that the most important thing to Aunt Nelly is looking after me and watching me grow up.
She said it was her that brought me into the world.
Sometimes I think I love Aunt Nelly more than my mom. Everybody, maybe even Aunt Nelly, thinks that because I’m only six I can’t remember.
But I can.
Dad called her to help mom when she was expecting me. The people started to hate her when she came.

aunt nellie8To be honest, I’m not that interested in meeting dad…
Even though Aunt Nelly says that he’s always asking about me and that he is getting a lot of stuff ready for when he comes back to get me.
I think it will be like a party because he says the whole family will come. Can you imagine? If Aunt Nelly had a party and all those people got drunk…

aunt nellie10What will they all be like after a party they’ve been preparing for so long?

aunt nellie9I never met dad. People say he hurt mom and that’s why I was born. They say that word that I’m not supposed to say because it’s a bad word, I think they say it when parents aren’t married.
People don’t like dad much either. You know why? Because he abandoned my mom, just because he found out I was on the way. But Aunt Nelly came and helped mom.

aunt nellie11And although neither she nor I like people very much, I have never felt alone because she says she’s always in touch with relatives.
That’s why we never need money or food. Ha! You know she cooks really well.
“We really like cows.”
I think she really likes you and that’s why she cooked hamburgers for you and sodas to drink.
So you didn’t have to eat the horrible meat and vegetables the adults eat.
Well, I suppose they like it.
They got really fat!

aunt nellie12But people say she’s bad, too.
They say she does bad women’s work because she gets money for going into the woods at night, to meet men.
Maybe really bad men because some people who say they’ve seen them call them “monstrous men”.

aunt nellie13Well, I don’t know anything about that, I’ve never seen her go out at night.
Although sometimes I wake up when it’s really late and I’ve seen the moon so bright over the woods that it looks like daytime.
Such bright moonlight seems so familiar…
That it calms me and I go right back to sleep.
I bet our relatives will be back soon and Aunt Nelly will want the people around here to get along with them…
She had the party so people could see she’s good. And it worked! They even let you stay and play, see?

aunt nellie14And everybody smiled.
And they even danced.
And they all hugged.
And kissed.
We’ll get along well now, for sure.
Now it’s late, see? The sun has gone down.
You’d better go home and look after your new “Star conqueror” doll.
I’m going to run home, too.
I’m happy because Aunt Nelly said that after the food she served everything would be different. Now people are going to change, for sure!

aunt nellie15I enjoyed chatting and playing with you.
See you tomorrow!

(translated by Patricia Johnston)

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Gabriel Canul Olivares (Writer)
Born and rised in Mérida, Yucatán, México. He started making comic books, drawing and writing stories at very early age, wishing to make his own ideas come true.

After high school he went to “Centro Estatal de Bellas Artes” and attended to a painting free workshop.
Gabriel Canul is much a self taught artist and in the year of 2012 he entered to an artist community created by Javier Pech Matu.

It was in this group that Gabriel began to realizing his ideas and making his contribution to the art by performing in public events and the publication of his comic book story “Chica Diamante” in the pages of the anthology “MANIC”.
Gabriel Canul likes to work in many ways of art.

Emaús Torres (Artist)
Born and rised in Mérida, Yucatán, México. A student of art at “CEDART Ermilo Abreu Gómez” focused on plastic, visual arts.

Emaús’ dream has always been to make comic books of his own.

In the year of 2013, Emaús was discovered in a contest organized by the CDS, an art group created by Javier Pech Matu.

Emaús’ most important influences are the graphic novel writer Alan Moore and the movies director Stanley Kubrick.
To date Emaús is working on his story “Dark Soul” (also published in the anthology “MANIC”) to which Cher Bibler, in her musician facet, wrote an image song.

Emaús is always working in many other facets of art besides the visual.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

About “Tía Nelly”
It was a privilege to work side by side with Gabriel Canul and I thought it was an interesting perspective on the alien theme.
It was a nice challenge to finish the task because it’s always been a subject that myself have always been afraid of.
At the same time it was very satisfactory to have accomplished the mission of narrating such story.
Finally, I want to thank all of you, readers, and I expect that all of you to lose some sleep after reading it.
-Emaús Torres.

All I can say is that I have never had a better play mate than Emaús. So it was almost necessary to design a story that we could perform together.
To date nothing makes me more proud than to work with this guy and not only that but counting him among my friends.
For this story I wanted to include and art style that emoted a childish point of view and Emaús Torres was younger  (age 14) when we made it and his art had not evolved to the quality he has today.
So thank all of you for reading it, I wish you to enjoy it and hope that you feel through this work happiness of friendship that it is based on.
Thank you for everything Cher Bibler.
-Gabriel Canul Olivares.


The Merida Review also thanks  to Steve Benson for editing, and David Espadas Tamayo for technical stuff on Gabriel and Emaus’s end.

Gabriel's cover 001

Graphic novel, translation

Neighborhood Rumors

by Gabriel Canul

01-Oh, poor little girl. Her story was such a terribly sad case.

You will see….


 The father was, well, a washed-up madman. For this he had such a lugubrious fame…

… that the ignorant minds of this neighborhood all but blamed him.

I don’t want to sound presumptuous but a man of my lineage cannot allow space for this kind of nonsense.


 He was a pathetic alcoholic, that you see sir, had banished his wife from his side.

As if the mother would be worth only a little or even nothing. She abandoned her little daughter with that bastard of a father.


Ha, ha, ha. Even though swine did end up paying a heavy price…

They say that the daughter hardened and found a way to defend herself against her father.


Not of course that I would contribute to this superstitious verbal diarrhea of the riffraff. As you know sir, I do not spread irresponsible hot air, even a few days before any of this happened, I saw the wretch walking by with a very terrible wound on his left arm. My head played with the idea that it could have been a bite.


Even though now, I reason that this kid could not possibly concur with this idea, in size nor strength.

Some type of gangrene had gotten hold of this fellow because the wound had festered and hurt him like the devil. Of course, it has to be said that he wasn’t known to be especially neat and tidy.


Who would have said however that this nobody of a man would have such a terrible end?


They say that the little sweet girl, defenseless and all, could not escape the evilness of her father and remained nothing more than a pestilent stain beneath the bed.


It was inexplicable the manner in which they found this man’s bed.

A huge fit or rage had led the poor creature to undergo a mighty change.


 This must explain what happened.


They say that she was laughing

The smile on her face…

And her words…

I leave them behind, I have left them!


Surely they talked, the other remaining mortals, of her father.

And yes, all of this seems implausible, yet wait until you hear the tale that this leprous pleb has invented.

Only as a sign of my respect, well, all that it merits without taking into account its insignificance, I was able to attend the funeral parlor to see what remained of the heartless swine and this is how I was able to hear the end of the story.


They say that the little girl with the sweet appearance…

…hid within her the unknown capacity, like the circus freaks that can bend spoons with their eyes…

…or move crystal vases from one place to another with a certain gesture.

And with these cunning tricks she could escape the plague that was her father.

And with that which she had obtained, she conjured certain enigmatic powers.


 I am going to confess to you that there has been nights of insomnia when I have heard things…

Guttural noises and rhythmic moans which undoubtedly were made by the girl.


Finally, we hope that with the disappearance of that pariah and the absence of the unfortunate girl…

…this neighborhood has won something akin to peace, to say the least. And now I must leave because, how it is to wait…

… in a ruined old place like this one…

… which has been built with the most rotten and decayed materials and now…


I see the denigrating necessity of renovating my elegant bedroom.

It will be better to start work in good time…

Before the darkness…

invades all.


Now I must bid you farewell…

I hope to have the pleasure of another talk with you tomorrow.

A special thank you goes to both Axel Flores for entering the Spanish text into the images and to Jack Little for providing the translation. 

Born and raised in Mérida Yucatán, Mexico, Gabriel Canul Olivares is a natural artist. Painter, draftsman, and self-taught writer, his foray into comics was inevitable.

His love of comics began when he was very young.

His desire, was not only to read them, but to create them – which he does with “Comunidad de Dibujantes del Sureste”, a group of independent artists, where he is a drawing instructor, and one of the leaders.