From Pioneer of Comics to Cultural Myth

Castelao in Galician Graphic Biography

in European Comic Art
David Miranda-Barreiro Bangor University

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The multifaceted Galician artist, writer and politician Alfonso Daniel Rodríguez Castelao (1886–1950) has been considered a pioneer of Galician comics, or banda deseñada. This is because of his key role in the development of the medium from his early comic strips in the magazine Vida gallega [Galician life] (1909), to the cartoons that he published in the press in the 1920s and 1930s. Furthermore, Castelao has become a comics character in several graphic biographies since the end of the 1970s. This article not only addresses the reasons for the recurrent presence of Castelao in Galician comics, but it also looks at how the latter have contributed to the mythologisation of this important figure of Galician culture. In aesthetic terms, it will reveal the overlaps between adaptation, biography and comics by analysing all three of them as networks.

Contributor Notes

David Miranda-Barreiro is a lecturer in Hispanic Studies at Bangor University and co-editor of Galicia 21: Journal of Contemporary Galician Studies. He specialises in travel writing, narratives of mobility, migration and exile in the Spanish and Galician contexts, and Galician comics. He has published on the representation of American society in early twentieth-century Spanish literature in his monograph Spanish New York Narratives: Modernization, Otherness and Nation (Legenda, 2014) and in the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies (2013). He recently co-organised the conference ‘Comics and Nation’ and is currently co-editing (with Armelle Blin-Rolland) a special issue of Studies in Comics on this topic. Email:

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