Delving into the niche, and sometimes frowned-upon world of comics, it’s amazing to see that beneath the tip of the iceberg that would be represented by San Roque artist Carlos Pacheco – who enjoys well deserved worldwide recognition, and who has been awarded ‘best comic illustrator in the world’ by the prestigious Wizard Magazine – there is a plethora of artists born or living in the region.
They make the Campo de Gibraltar a global powerhouse in the comic book illustration, bringing together quality and quantity which astonishes locals and foreigners alike.
Jesús Merino, born in Granada and currently living in Algeciras, was Pacheco’s inker for countless famous comics, from the Marvel adventures to his later work with DC. Superman was one of his greatest works; his was a Superman full of nuances and refined edges that shaped a renewed character, adopting a renovated approach with a deeper psyche.
Since then, he has become a magnificent artist, working with the largest multinational companies in the world, adding his personal style to many characters which have stood the test of time.
Jesús Barony (Algeciras) has worked mainly for French and American companies, rather than for Spanish publishers. He is, without exaggeration, more prominent and more respected in Paris and New York than he is in Algeciras.
Juanjo Ryp, also from Algeciras, works for successful, major publications with worldwide circulation. He has crafted illustrations for some major film stars’ websites and works tirelessly, with a client base spanning half the world, without his own community in Algeciras being aware of it. Among many great achievements, he was the illustrator for the classic comic, Robocop.
Ismael Pinteño is better described a painter than an illustrator, but he has also been successful in the world of comics and book illustrations. He has won international awards and is undoubtedly the best recreator of Tolkien’s world in Spain.
He narrowly missed the Goya with the documentary ‘30 años de oscuridad.’ He now works for major American film companies and famous museums across the globe. He is also the brains behind book covers and posters for the ‘Algeciras Fantástika’.
La Linea-born Antonio Rojo is a major artist who brings the most popular superheroes to life in a personal and non-transferable way, endowing them with rich nuances and contrasts. He worked on Conan, for example, which is breath-taking, as well as other characters like Wolverine and Spiderman.
Antonio is a talent still waiting to be discovered. He is now closer to major success with his work ‘La Bestia Interior’ and his fusion of Gandhi and Hulk.
Mateo Guerrero, also from La Línea, hit national success with his art inspired by Japanese manga, which has earned him a well-deserved reputation in the field.
Apart from these people, there are others who are gaining ground in the comics world, including critically acclaimed Pablo Ríos, director of internationally recognised animation shorts such as his “President Trump”, or Lourdes Sánchez Camarena.
Additionally, last year the fanzine Kristal – with Garry at the head – turned 30 years old, making it the longest-running fanzine in Spain.
The Campo de Gibraltar plays an important role in the comic book world, and we are envied beyond our borders. When will we start acknowledging it here?