July 24, 2021

The great-great-grandfathers of the comic | Culture

The great-great-grandfathers of the comic | Culture

Since the human being stood up, began to draw drawings to tell their stories, either for themselves or their gods. That embryo of the comics of today can be traced back to ancient Egypt, to the bandages to wrap mummies with drawings on the cloth to accompany the deceased in his departure to the beyond. That long journey in time through illustration, which ends with comic strips of comic figures or the graphic novel, like the Americans Chris Ware or Richard McGuire, is the proposal of the National Library exhibition Blessed, Mechachis and Percebes!, which can be visited until January 13, 2019.

With pieces from the BNE itself, plus those borrowed from the National Archaeological Museum, the ABC Museum or the National Historical Archive and from private collectors, it is counted in ten cases accompanied by reproductions, photographs and panels, a very visual story whose curator, Enrique Bordes Cabrera, has organized in three installments, as if it were a comic. Blessed shows the stage that starts with the Egyptian bandages of 323 BC, until the beginning of the nineteenth century and has special pieces such as codices, "which were created by amanuenses in a similar way to how comic writers have worked, with great freedom graphic, "said Bordes. One facsimile of a Mayan codex (sixteenth century) stands out on a folded vegetable strip like a screen, and one of the Blessed of Tábara (Zamora), from the tenth century, which collects the busy life of the monks inside a monastery, visible thanks to a cross section. Yes, a precedent 13, Rue del Percebe that Francisco Ibáñez created in the sixties of the last century and of the popular comics in that format of the Paris of the late nineteenth century, created when he began to live in multi-storey buildings.

This section includes incunabula, editions created in the first moments of the printing that imitated the books prior to this invention; more engravings, prints … The exhibition, "a light and unprejudiced, even irreverent look", according to the organizers, continues with Mecachis, named after the Madrid illustrator and graphic humorist Eduardo Sáenz Hermúa (1859-1898), who adopted that pseudonym. With this master of the comic without text, a period is born in which photography and comics are born as we know them today. It is the rise, too, of new publications, such as the hallelujahs, series of prints with popular verses at the bottom. French Gustave Doré illustrates editions of the Bible or the Quixote and rehearses an antecedent of graphic novel "in which he tells an irreverent story of Russia that, however, did not materialize," Bordes said.

Another showcase mentions "what many consider the father of modern comics", the Swiss painter Rodolphe Töpffer, and the explosion of graphic press in the 19th century, with beauties such as the pages of the satirical weekly The Caricature, With the cartoonist Alberto Robida. The national production is represented by the magazine Black and white, with names like Joaquín Xaudaró.

The last section is called Percebes, in homage to the well-known strip of Ibáñez. The first of the 400 created by the Catalan artist is taught by the Bruguera publishing house. They are stories that portray several generations and all neighborhoods: the morose, the gossip … Another side offers the vindication of the isotype's avant-garde movement, which jumped from country to country fleeing from the Nazis and in which artists such as Marie Neurath stood out, author of children's publications, or the painter Gerd Antz. The last pages are for graphic novels of National Comic Prizes such as Rayco Pulido and authors such as Juan Berrio, Miguel Brieva, Ana Galvañ and Carla Berrocal, who demonstrate "the incredible health of Spanish comics". They are cartoonists who deal with everyday issues because, as Bordes says, "life is like a comic book" and what happens to us could be told in vignettes, with their corresponding "boom!", "Catacroc!" And "¡catacroc!" zas! "


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