June 2, 2020

Purita Campos dies, creator of 'Esther and her world' and history of Bruguera – La Provincia

When she entered Bruguera in the 50s, she was a young woman among men. They told him: "How good you do to be a woman!"She hated him but dared not tell them anything."Machismo has always bothered me", he told this newspaper Purita Campos five years ago, creator of the series'Esther and her world ', starring that freckled and shy teenager, in love with football Juanito, who with his adventures brought fresh air to several generations in late-Franco and Pacata Spain of the time from the comics of Bruguera as 'Lily', where he began publishing it in 1974. Illustrator and cartoonist, winner of the Medal for Merit of Fine Arts 2009 and the Grand Prix of the Barcelona Comic Book Fair 2013, Purita Campos has died this Wednesday at age 82, as confirmed by the Association of Authors of Comic, which in recent years has been vindicating her work.

«I will never stop working, I have lumbago but I'm still working, it gives me life. If you stay on TV on the couch … no … bad business, "said the author, who for her work became one of the first women illustrators and cartoonists who emerged in a world where fame was carried away by male colleagues for decades. In recent years, in addition to teaching drawing and painting and celebrating that Editions B reissued the original Esther collection in 2014, he had continued to work on the series 'New adventures of Esther'(in 2006, with the protagonist already in her thirties and a print run of 200,000 copies in the missing Glénat), along with Carlos Portela, with whom she also published a novel (in Spain) with a Esther, 40, nurse, divorced and mother of a teenager. "Esther is like a daughter, she is part of me, I was almost 20 years with her. As a young girl I was as shy as she, I felt identified. Today I am still shy," she confessed.

Self-portrait of Purita Campos with Esther, her mythical character. / PURITA CAMPOS

From drawing fashion designs to Bruguera

Dressmaker daughter, Purita Campos liked to evoke how she helped her mother as a child drawing fashion figurines. He studied at the school of Arts and Crafts of the Lonja de Barcelona and continued with those drawings of designs for a company in which, he counted, he was not paid because they said he learned that way. As well He studied Fine Arts and one day he met one of Bruguera's greats by his brother, Manolo Vázquez, the rogue, delinquent and controversial but brilliant creator of The Gilda Sisters, who encouraged him to take his drawings to the publishing house, which he himself would receive. He listened to him and there, Víctor Mora released him: "But we never see him around here!" But Captain Thunder's father did not miss the talent of that young woman and told him that he was starting to work the next day. It was the 50s and it lavished in magazines for girls like 'Dalia' (1959), 'Sissi' (1961), 'Blanca' (1961) or 'Celia' (1963), also in 'Can Can' (1961), with historical like Peñarroya, Cifré, Conti and Escobar.

At the request of the Creaciones Editorials agency, Bruguera asked the cartoonists for samples to capture the English market and, although she told the director that she was not ready, he insisted and chose her. And there he was born, in 1971, in England and with a script by Phillip Douglas, the series 'Patty's World', that in Spain it would arrive three years later renamed as'Esther and her world ', that would sell 400,000 copies weekly.

Keys to success

As she said, the key to the success of the series was that these adventures taught Spanish youth "an England where the girls went out at night and went to parties, boys and girls together, something that was unthinkable here. That freedom hooked. "Also, in the variety of their stories, in which there was mystery and family problems. They were young people who they wore impossible miniskirts and little models of original designs, fruit of the taste for fashion of Purita Campos, which for the boys was inspired by the "virile and handsome" that his admired Hugo Pratt made.

The series, although it always maintained the comics label for girls, also liked boys. Many confessed that they read it in the bathroom so that their friends would not see them. With her husband, also cartoonist Paco Ortega, created the character of Gina. He never imagined the success of that world of Esther and less in its beginnings, when he never thought he would end up drawing comic.

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