The installation of the Franco dictatorship sparked an inadvertent boom in the production of comics. While many cartoonists hailing from Barcelona’s rich satirical tradition went into exile or clandestine publication, still more turned to the children’s comics market that had become firmly rooted in the Catalan capital since the 1920s. Until the 1950s, comics remained relatively free from censorial intervention, and the development of characters such as La Familia Ulises, Carpanta and Doña Urraca offered cartoonists an outlet for covert critique. However, in 1952, the Junta Asesora de la Prensa Infantil was established to police children’s publications for ‘inappropriate’ content, marking a turning point in the history of Spain’s comics genre. This article discusses the implications of specific legislation for editors, artists and their comic strip characters, focusing on the publications Pulgarcito, TBO and DDT.
Rhiannon McGlade is the author of Catalan Cartoons: A Cultural and Political History (University of Wales Press, 2016), which explores the Catalan satirical tradition from 1865 to 1982. Her essays on humour and cartoons have appeared in Romance Quarterly and as part of edited volumes on theatre, narrative, the media and twentieth-century satirical publications. She is joint coordinator, with Bryan Cameron, of the research project Between the Frames: Politics and Visual Print Media from Spain since 1975 and is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge. Email: email@example.com