social conventions, we have Claire Bretécher, Gérard Lauzier, Régis Franc, Frank Margerin and Pétillon –the last of whom is currently in the public eye because of his The Veil Affaire, an ironical approach to life among radical and moderate Muslims in secular France. A second French Revolution has occurred due to the emergence of independent houses, which are referred to en masse as L’Association and which have popularized the graphic novel format with high-quality comics by new authors such as Marjane Satrapi, whose Persepolis has been widely divulged. L’Association was founded in 1990 by Lewis Trondheim, Menu, Stanislas and David B., a group of young authors who eventually proved their talent.
Our Tebeos Spanish comics are currently flourishing due both to the creative talent of its authors and the expansion of the Spanish editorial industry. Back in the 50s and 60s, our cartoons had their first golden age when such houses as Bruguera, Valenciana and Maga flooded the newspaper stands with booklets and comic magazines that had lots of humor and adventures. This year is the 50th anniversary of El Capitán Trueno, a character created by Víctor Mora and Ambrós that still remains in our collective imaginary. Our editorial industry had its own Transition period in the late 60s after Bruguera disappeared –only a few years before that time, this house had controlled the whole comics market. Consequently, there emerged new houses such as La Cúpula (publisher of the disappeared magazine El Víbora), Norma Editorial or Complot, while big holdings like Grupo Zeta or Planeta DeAgostini began their own adventure in the field of comics. This new situation turned the dream of adult comics into a reality. Josep Toutain was a pioneer of this genre, while Joan Navarro has been working as a comic editor for almost three decades –his work at the helm of Ediciones Glénat has been especially remarkable. And now, in this new millennium, editorial production keeps growing in our country with new impetuous independent houses such as Edicions de Ponent, Ediciones Sin Sentido or Astiberri. Our authors prove their creative talent in successful cult comics; Blacksad, by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido, is a good example.
After Hiroshima Japanese anime has been a groundbreaking phenomenon in the European editorial system. Its market share accounts for more than 30% of all comic sales. It was Akira Toriyama’s animated series Dragon Ball that first aroused the interest of editors, who noticed how it kept our children glued to the television. After fifteen successful years, animemania is still growing—Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto being the latest big hit in our country. However, in view of the fact that Japanese anime comprises a great variety of genres, to those readers who might prefer intimate stories we recommend Jiro Taniguchi’s My Father’s Almanac and Distant Neighborhood or Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s Goodbye. The Second World War constitutes a milestone in the history of Japanese anime. “Once the war was over, the manga industry was forced to start all over again; more than ever, just like the rest of the world, Japan needed entertainment and evasive means in order to forget a painful immediate past,” Alfons Moliné explains.6 Manga’s greatest master was Osamu Tezuka –creator of the very popular
Astroboy– who, during a career that lasted almost forty years, produced authentic masterpieces such as Adolf –the thrilling story of a friendship that was put to the test by Nazism. Japan has not only produced many remarkable authors but also developed a very strong editorial industry that has specialized its production for different target audiences depending on sex or age.
Numbers and letters The report Internal Book Trade in Spain 20047 points out that the comics industry sold 96.65 million Euros in Spain –which is equivalent to 3.4% of the entire editorial market. Without denying the validity of statistics, the generalizing approach of this study doesn’t reflect either the complexity or the richness of the comics world in our country. Many different initiatives are currently being developed to create a WHITE BOOK of comics in order to provide a profound analysis of its situation, beyond business quantifications and including such aspects as the number of jobs created by the industry (both directly and indirectly), the different kinds of editorial companies (depending on their size and composition), a description of specialized bookstores, the struggle to gain access to general bookstores as not only a product for children, the presence of comics in libraries, the introduction of the study of comics in our educational system or the professional acknowledgment of comics authors. We have to know where we find ourselves now if we want to know where we are headed. Otherwise we won’t be able to say whether cartoons are to be continued. *Carles Santamaría heads the Salón Internacional del Cómic de Barcelona and the Salón del Manga. He is also a critic and scriptwriter. 1. EISNER, Will, El comic y el arte secuencial, Norma Editorial, 2002. 2. GASCA, L., GUBERN, R., El discurso del cómic, Cátedra, 1988. 3. VIDAL, J., SANTAMARÍA, C., La factoría del humor Bruguera, Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona, 2005. 4. JENNEQUIN, J.-P., Histoire du Comic Book, Vertige Graphic, 2002. 5. EISNER/ MILLER, Interview by Charles Brownstein, Norma Editorial, 2006. 6. MOLINÉ, A., El gran libro de los manga, Eidicones Glénat, 2002. 7. Comercio Interior del libro en España 2004. Federación de Gremios de Editores en España. (Images courtesy of the author)
VÍCTOR MORA and AMBRÓS El Capitán Trueno Ediciones B
DOSSIER · ARTECONTEXTO · 15
Dossier: COMIC WORLD / MUNDO CÓMIC 2006