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Dengue

‘It is easy for us to imagine the end of the world … but not the end of capitalism’ (Slavoj Zizek).

The city of Montevideo in the near future. Rising temperatures have unleashed an epidemic of mosquito-borne dengue fever, and those infected three times are added to a growing army of ghastly human-mosquito hybrids. In Santullo’s graphic novel, scientists are implicated in a government plot to prevent the discovery of an antidote to the fever, as there is far too much profit to be made from selling insecticides, air purifiers and mosquito protection suits. The hapless epidemiologist is nothing but a puppet of a capitalist conspiracy that is too powerful to be thwarted, and science becomes a deadly tool in the hands of those who wish to maintain the economic and social status quo.

Dengue is an unusual foray into the science fiction genre within the new wave of graphic novels from Uruguay, which have more often focused on historical themes. The lurid colours of Bergara’s artwork heighten the horror of this apocalyptic tale: we recoil from the infernal, infested yellow skies that evoke heat and disease, as well as from the chilling blues and sinister purples used to render the underworld of the defenceless poor.

Text: Joanna Page

Script: Rodolfo Santullo
Illustration: Matías Bergara
Dengue (Montevideo: Estuario, 2012)
Reproduced with permission

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