Scholars have suggested that Pablo Picasso’s The Dream and Lie of Franco (1937), like other tragicomic strips of the Spanish Civil War, combines both satire and tragic subject matter. However, efforts to determine a narrative in Picasso’s Dream and Lie have been inconclusive. This article explains that ‘structural markers’ exist within Picasso’s two plates of nine panels each that comprise Dream and Lie. Among other things, there are four stylistically separated sections to Dream and Lie, a first and third section that focus on Franco generally, and a second and fourth section that depict his victims. Moreover, at the centre of each of the two plates is a portrait of a bull to which Picasso has added his fingerprints. It is suggested that these structural markers and others identified here are able to provide the basis for future discussions of a narrative within Dream and Lie.
Dr Michael Schuldiner is a professor of English at the University of Akron in Ohio, where he teaches American literature, including courses about the American comic book. His publications and lectures have been honoured with a number of fellowships, including awards from the Huntington and Folger Libraries, and a Fulbright Senior Lectureship.