Saturday, 31 January 2009

Julio Ribera!

I awoke to the clarion call of the postman this morn, delivering a parcel from France...

I went to a Lisbon Comic Convention last year, where I met Julio Ribera, a Catalonian Comic book artist in his 80s who grew up in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War.

As a child he and his classmates helped welcome the International Brigade to the city with bouquets of flowers.
We conversed (through another artist, who translated for us!) about the Civil war , comics, long into the night.

He was also great friends with Jesus Blasco, one of the most influential Spanish Comic Book artists of the 50-60s. He lamented he'd never asked Julio for any art, as a momento and as he was such an inspiration to Julio.

So..on my return home to London, I sent Julio some Blasco art I owned, as a surprise Christmas present.

I hadn't heard back, and I wasn't so much worried about the art arriving as to whether Julio was ok....

So..this morning at tube arrived with a beautiful letter (Which he'd got a friend to translate into French, of all things! LOL) , thanking me, telling me I was his artistic grandson, and to visit him.

He also sent a HUGE page of art, from the late 1970s as a present..

I'm quite overwhelmed..what a lovely man.


luke f said...

Your post made me a little sad because it reminded me that the last Irish International Brigadier,Bob Doyle,died a short while back.
though I`m glad to hear there are still people alive(and comic artists,no less!)who remember the fight against the fascists.

No Pasaran!

JDufour said...

That's awesome. That guy did lots of great stuff, like many others in Barcelona around that time, unfortunately many pages of less important projects have been lost over time...

I lived in Barcelona for a while (and getting there back next week for couple of days), and in newspapers and magazine, there is a fantastic tradition of comics. If there's a "spanish style" to pin down, the only common aspect of it all is their ability to represent actions and places and expressions and vehicles and everything in an objective quality, with absolutely no artist star-factor implied. And at the same time, with that diconcerting loose quality in line and brush. No panel ever seems to be the "fucking best one they could ever do to show the world their talent", it just is what it needs to be. Objective quality. Period. When everything is in place, it's time to switch to the next page. If a panel is not that beautiful, the next one will be better, no time for corrections.

And at the same time, that approach in linework and brush shadows has given us a lot of stuff way more stylish and hip. I can see a lot of that in the Tank Girl visual style, either by you or MrHewll. Of course, it doesn't give the same feeling in the end, because of that dose of Judge Dredd trashy fun all around that hurts a bit the narration but gives that "punk" look we got to love, but at the core of it, it really seems to be a line and brush spanish-like approach. Am I right? I don't want to sound presomptuous, you sure know better than I do.

My favorite in that gang stays Carlos Gimenez (NOT Juan), he used to republish his best stuff in the french mag Fluide Glacial. Not only is he awesome, and to my point of vue in the perfect middle between the classic spanish comics tradition and the stylishier stuff like what you and Jamie are doing with it, but he also did a series, called Los Profesionales, which narrates his years in an illustration studio in Barcelona, with one of his friends, Alfonso Font, which you might like to discover too if you don't know of him. Los Profesionales help to understand the mood in which they worked, like 3-4 pages a day, nad not much pesos for a page. Seems to be a tough environment to work in, but at the same time really formative since it stays focused only on narration. Helas, that kind of stuff doesn't really exist no more.

Loos like this:

Sorry for the diarrhea of text, I felt like it was interesting, maybe it's not that much...

JDufour said...

Some more thoughts:
-If you happen to be in Barcelona, there's a daily strip in El Periodico that is mindblowing in line quality. The script is some average family-themed stuff, but the drawings are completely fascinating.

-If you like Ribera's work, you should check out Paul Gillon's too. Maybe you already know of him. He did Les Naufrag├ęs du Temps with Forest, the one who was drawing Barbarella, quite in the same lineage than Le vagabond des limbes.

Rufus Dayglo said...

Thanks Julien,

I do get over to Barcelona..I love it there..Catalonia is such a beautiful place..

Thanks for the recommendations, I'll check em out! Always great to hear from ohers who appreciate good art as well.

I think some of the greatest comic book artists have come from Spain, and they are so under appreciated.