Friday, May 12, 2017

Spanish Fever edited by Santiago Garcia

In 2013, Santiago Garcia edited a collection of comics by mostly younger creators from his native Spain, under the title Panorama. Three years later, the US publishing outfit Fantagraphics got Erica Mena to translate all of those comics and issued it in an English edition under the title Spanish Fever, burying Garcia's name deep in the book so it looked like it sprang forth fully-formed.

(I'm not sure if the title change is a subtle indication that Americans are too stupid to recognize translations without being hit on the head, or a smart way of flagging it to the audience that might care about it. And it's not like Panorama is the greatest, most specific title in the world to begin with.)

So Spanish Fever (nee Panorama) contains twenty-six stories by just about as many creators -- there's one writer-artist pair, but all of the rest are portmanteau cartoonists doing all of the work themselves -- most of whom are from Generation X or younger, and so came of age after the end of Spain's repressive Fascist dictatorship in the 1970s.

(It still surprises me, when I realize it again, that an honest-to-God fascist dictatorship was still ruling a major country in the heart of Europe within my lifetime. And, without getting political here, it shows the need to be vigilant against the rise of fascist tendencies and groups in our own countries at all times.)

I would love to point out my favorite stories and creators in Spanish Fever -- that's why I read books like this -- but nothing has stuck in my mind strongly (and poking through it again to write this post, I'm just feeling "oh, that was an OK story" or "I kinda like that art style; it reminds me a bit of Dash Shaw" rather than anything more energizing). Maybe I was just in the wrong mood, or I'm not the right reader. But nothing really lept out at me as a story I loved or a creator I wanted to see more of. That could be an artifact of reading all of the stories back-to-back, on a train -- I don't want to place the blame on the book. But it does mean I don't have anything to point at and gush about.

Spanish Fever is a nice collection of quite varied work by a group of creators I didn't know at all. Several of them have had book-lengths work out as well, for further reading, and a couple of those have even been translated into English. All of these pieces, though, seem to be full works -- there's no excerpts, which I greatly appreciated. (Too many English-language anthologies of comics are full of ten pages from the middle of this and a vignette ripped from the other.) If you're interested in Spanish comics, or in broadening your comics-reading horizons more generally, it's a great book.

No comments:

Post a Comment