It isn’t easy for me trying to explain the importance of Carlos Giménez in the Spanish comic-book industry.
A plain writing on his life story, or a checklist on his work, wouldn’t pay justice to his figure.
has always been a soil of great comic-book artists, and Carlos Giménez is one of the most important mainstays in the contemporary Spanish comic-book medium. Spain
Carlos Giménez (
1941) lived, as a child, the great explosion of the medium, which became a very popular format during the 40’s and the 50’s. This explosion made him set up his mind on becoming a professional artist, so he moved to Madrid , and started working for some of the comic production agencies that were in the city. Barcelona
It meant the beginning of an extensive career, where he has taken many different little steps in his evolution towards maturity. His growth took place at the same tine that the Medium’s development. From his training period —where he produce many anonymous work related to different comic genres—, and his stories for agencies —epoch that later he recreated so truthfully in Los Profesionales—, to his consolidation as an author with his unique and differenced style with Paracuellos.
In this story he recreates the memories of his own childhood confined in institutions, where “El Franquismo” shut away orphans or the children of those who had lost the Civil War.
During his spree, Giménez develops his own storytelling; but, at the same time, he aims to get to the biggest possible audience. Science-fiction, political and social humor, adaptations of literary works —where should stand out his recreations of Jack London’s novels, which include that masterpiece in the comic medium named Koolau el Leproso— and many other issues are the topics he works with in a more and more depurated and intense graphic language.
This explains how he manages to consolidate his works, although they are really linked, and even compromised, to the time and the people that surrounded their creation.
I mean, even though, his roots go deeper in his local influences, his works had and still have a universal repercussion, in the limited version of the comic universe.
Both Paracuellos and Los Profesionales belong to the most autobiographical part of his work.
They equally came to life thanks to his own memories and those of the ones who shared his experiences with Carlos: a childhood in the represive educational institutions of Franco’s regime; or being part of the staff of such an agency as Selecciones Ilustradas, in the Barcelona of last century’s beginning and middle 60’s.
The secret that explains why stories set in a concrete time of the memories of Spanish society, touch the spirits of readers who belong to different cultures with different memories may lay on his skill for mirroring the dark places of fear, starvation, or poverty which are common to all human beings.
And, of course, we must considerate the way he tells his stories, his ability at sharing feelings and emotions, his task as a narrator —a graphic narrator—, the same kind of narrator who gave warmth and illusion to the hard days of his childhood, as he represents in Paracuellos. His ability at creating characters, and use them in different situations with credible behaviors, measured dialogs, and strength in their expressions.
There are counted times, in the history of the medium, that eyes have had such a communicative intensity. There is also his authority over timing and especially those death periods where words and gestures reveal pain or expectatives.
And let’s not forget his handiness at making emerge an emotional impact —hopes, fears, disappointments, illusions…— both in everyday life anecdotes or vital situations.
These are just some of the reasons why Ven y enloquece shyly supports Carlos Giménez nomination for the Príncipe de Asturias awards.
May one day we all see the light.
©Nino Ortea Gijón, 5-VIII-09