Writer and Artist Edgar Camacho has produced something a little bit different with his latest graphic novel, Onion Skin. On the face of it, this is a pretty straight forward tale of two people who strive to do something special with their lives and find happiness. It’s also a story about creepy people in clown make-up, the value of doing what you love and the magic of spicy food. As we dig deeper, it becomes a tale of self-determination and empathy.
Rolando is a young man who hates his pointless and repetitive job. An injury leads to unemployment. Deciding to continue to take risks, he finds himself meeting Nera during a wild night on the town. Nera’s chaotic creativity complements Rolando’s common sense and together they team up to wander America serving delicious fast food out of a van.
The narrative relies heavily on flashbacks to peel back the layers of the various character histories. The simple story is slowly revealed throughout, and though the narrative is very sweet and heart-warming, it’s also a bit messy. Though the art tries to communicate that we’re following different time lines, the colouring is just a little bit too muted for this trick to work.
It's tempting to describe Onion Skin as a messy and odd story that reflects how difficult real life can be, but that’s under-selling the more whimsical parts of this tale. The art, much like the writing, seems determined to make the reader work harder than they need to in order to be entertained.
The result is something much like the titular Onion Skin, easy to discard and not as appealing as it first appears.