Miguel Gallardo, the indomitable and tender cartoonist

Prompt draftsman and spring, endless, instinctive talent and dazzling solutions, much given to desktop doodle between the offering and the buzz, Miguel Gallardo says goodbye and with him goes, ahead of time, a fundamental name in the history of Spanish comics, one of the most characteristic and influential graphic personalities of the last forty years and one of the most luminous presences in the world of comics.

Illustrator Miguel Gallardo laughs at his brain tumor in a graphic novel about his experience with cancer

Gallardo laughs at his brain tumor in a graphic novel about his experience with cancer

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Miguel Ángel Gallardo Paredes (Lérida, 1955), simply Gallardo for colleagues and readers, was one of the authors who explained from the bottom up, and never from the top down, the Barcelona prior to design and the Olympic mute in that raw, enjoyable chronicle and indeliberate that today is the first time of The Vipera magazine that in 1979 began to collect the wrecks of a underground about to be mainstreamas everything was going to be from now on.

Even then, Gallardo knew how to combine his commitment to the crazy crew of the so-called "crazy line" with his presence in cairoa magazine with a Europeanist bias and a champion of the Franco-Belgian "clear line", sides that invented the pens of the time to enliven a scene, that of the comic, which always went, and continues, somewhat lacking in spirit.

Gallardo was, from the first moment, destined to be the most modern of the moderns. And he was going to do it in the only legitimate way: making a mockery of modernity, indulging in disrespectful pastiche, spontaneous parody, pop homage and thematic demystification for pure love of genres.

He comes to the affected profession of Richard Corben and the comics of Metal HurlantSegar's Popeye, the UPA cartoons and beasts of the underground North American like Robert Crumb or Gilbert Shelton, in addition to burdened with the viaticum of his childhood, the Tom Thumb and uncle alive whose tradition of characteristic characters will have much to do with the metrics and the joy with which his creatures will later be baptized as Chuchita and Marylín, alternate posh or Carambola Parrot, on the crest of the tail.

Barcelona then

The son of a working-class family and a Marist infantryman in Lleida in the 1960s, he grew up as a boy on the flat, tangled up in papers, surrendered to the neighborhood cinema and devouring comics and science fiction novels, before accessing, as a teenager, classics of the comics like Little Nemo or Krazy Kat, in which the infinite potential of a language was revealed to him, which led him to decide on his profession.

In 1973 he settled in Barcelona with the intention of entering the Faculty of Fine Arts, but failed and jumped to the Massana School of Arts and Crafts, from which he was expelled for absenteeism, a personal attitude that prioritized life over the academy. And since one thing has nothing to do with the other, he manages to professionalize himself by collaborating with the Butifarra team, publishing in Star and working as a machaca in an animation studio where he will meet fellow cartoonist Juanito Mediavilla, with whom he will share endless joints and a flat in the Gràcia neighborhood, forming one of the most fertile and satisfying creative couples that the medium has given.

public enemy number one

It is in the pages of Express Disc where in 1977 they give birth to the emblematic antihero of underground Spanish, a character on the run, escaped from the mental illness, who was going to lead to insane urban adventures, and whose enormous popularity (which was not successful, since his dangerousness never allowed him to leave the creek) would have to be found in a choral and noisy manners , in the manner of a Berlanga full of speed, and in the succulence of some dialogues from the Golden Age.

Those vignettes were populated by phenomena such as Cuco, Morgan, Uncle Emo and the rest of "la basca", sidekicks who in many cases would end up making a solo career, such as the young Pepín Cebolledo, who will star in The boy's dreams, a collection of nightmares where the author tried to communicate, without intermediaries, the bad times of the heroine; or the scavenger Buitre Buitaker, a griffon bird and polydrug addict, a former fascist military man, who nests on top of the statue of Columbus and who managed to infiltrate the pages of the newspaper for three years without any apparent problem. ABC. And it is that one of the greatest tricks of comics, what keeps them beautiful, fearsome and capable, has always been their innocuous appearance.

Mary and the vicissitudes

In his perpetual restlessness, he embarked on the graphic novel when the format was not yet fashionable, with the hybrid story a long silence (1997), from the memories of his father as a republican soldier, and over the years a need to think about the world and his own circumstance from the purity of the drawing, from its mere waste, took place in him. An expressive urgency that in no case was replacing an optimistic mood and an invariably radiant social spirit.

Thus, in 2007 it was published Maria and I, a book that comes directly from the incidental pages of his notebooks, where drawing is the closest tool, never better said, to tune in with his autistic daughter and find the world's frequency together. Translated into more than ten languages, with a documentary adaptation and a sequel, seven years later, entitled Mary is 20 years oldthat work will earn him thousands of new readers, not necessarily familiar with the language of comics, who in many cases find their tessitura enunciated for the first time.

Maria and I will lead him to get involved in talks and workshops for family members and caregivers of people with intellectual disabilities in which he values ​​the ability of drawing to reach unknown regions of the mind and find keys to communication, while the experience modulates his look and strip his work. A new stylistic twist that will give rise to relaxed albums with some biography in progress such as Emotional World Tourwith his friend Paco Roca, or, more recently, Something strange happened to me on the way homewhere he collected experiences and observations since in January 2020 they will detect a brain tumor. "And if I die?", She wrote in those pages somewhat scared. "Nothing's wrong!" she replied. But it does happen.

Captain Gallardo

Matisse of comics, indomitable and tender artist, colorist capable of debauchery and the most evocative stillness, teacher and craftsman with one eye on the avant-garde and the other on the rear-view mirror of the trade, luxury illustrator (The vanguard , The countrythe Herald-Tribune or The New Yorker had his privilege), poster designer of great achievements (his is still the best poster that the Barcelona Comic Fair has given, in its 25th edition), he never lost the desire to draw and just a year ago he made room for new projects donating a large part of his original work, nearly two hundred pieces, to the Jaume Morera Museum of Art in Lleida.

Mike Gallard, Sebastián Palomares, Gallarman, Gallardaster, Master Gallard, Miguelito Gallardo Survivor… These are just some of the multiple pseudonyms, or rather unforeseen variations of use, with which he suffocated any hint of seriousness in his work and in his dealings with the Vida, to which he attended on January 20, this time with a red bow tie and an infallible captain's cap, to marry his partner Karin Du Croo in a beautiful intimate ceremony.

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