February 26, 2021

A contagion between the arts


Without losing that particular stamp that has always dominated his career, and that summarizes in an austere line that moves between modernist design and pop-art, so associated with independent publishers as recommendable as Apa Apa or Trilita in which he had worked until Now, the Catalan Arnau Sanz Martínez begins a new stage now in Astiberri with this A ghost in which he presents a not so dystopian future, when we live in the middle of the era of the coronavirus, in which a virus has infected a large part of humanity the one that a group of soldiers has to catch for their confinement and probable extermination.

The story unfolds through two plot frames that go parallel. On the one hand, the past and present lives of both a sergeant with moral doubts and an expeditious general. And on the other, that of the survivors who try, in every possible way, not to be surprised.

Bathed each vignette in bright and garish colors, Sanz really recovers that way of understanding the ninth art in which the simple contemplation of drawing is an artistic enjoyment in itself, as happens with authors close to him such as Ana Galvañ or Sergi Puyol, and whose line sometimes seems a deconstruction of the landscape, the furniture, the outline and even the faces of the characters in the manner of a cultist artistic outburst close to contemporary art theorists such as André Derain or Otto Freundlich.

However, the result is closer than anything to great European comics such as Peeters or Deslire, although seasoned with the atmospheres of South Park and Family Guy through cadaverous expressions or outlines reduced to the minimum expression. Even the balloons themselves have their personality in the development of the story.

But if from the graphic point of view, its imprint is blurred with these precedents, the argument that it ties together is not far from some classics that we all have in mind. Thus, the way the state police act is reminiscent of Ray Bradbury’s novel Farenheit 451, and even the soldiers, in large blue vests, recall Francoise Truffaut’s reenactment.

On the other hand, the atmosphere of obsessive surveillance by the State and its not very human way of acting welcomes clear elements from George Orwell’s 1984. The protagonist goes through different places in her flight to no destination, be it a bookstore, a theater or a flower shop, and the neutral backgrounds, the overlapping lines, and even the pastel tones, make the reader see themselves trapped by a world between real and dreamlike that Sanz manages to develop very cleverly.

One of those works especially recommended for all those who think, rightly, that the ninth art has to be, above all, an image and that the texts should only be a simple support to better understand the plot.

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