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The New Spanish Memory Comics

The Example of Cuerda de presas

Anne Magnussen

Since the end of the 1990s, more and more Spanish comics have focused on the recent Spanish past, including the memory of the Civil War (1936–1939) and the succeeding dictatorship. This article offers an analysis of a particular comics volume, Cuerda de presas (2005) by Jorge García and Fidel Martínez, and discusses the way in which it interprets the role of the past in Spanish society thirty years after the political transition to democracy. I argue that Cuerda de presas participates in the questioning of the dominant memory about the past. It does this by undermining narrative coherence and by pointing to the plural and unstable characteristics of memories. Charles Peirce's semiotics constitutes the framework for the analysis, according to which there is a dynamic relationship between Cuerda de presas and Spanish society.

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Anne Magnussen

The introduction offers an overview of English-language and Spanish-language scholarship about Spanish comics since 2000. This research is typically concerned with one of four main chronological periods, i.e. early comics history 1875-1939; the Francoist dictatorship 1939-1975; the Political Transition 1970-1985; and Democratic Spain from the early 1980s, and some of its recurrent themes are memory, gender, regional identities and history, and/or a focus on social or educational comics. The articles in the two special issues on Spanish comics (11.1 and 11.2) almost all relate to these periods and themes in different ways, and together they show that comics scholarship about Spanish comics is a fascinating field, and one that offers plenty of opportunities for further study.

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Anne Magnussen

Abstract

Spanish comics represent an exciting and diverse field, but with few exceptions they are unknown to most comics scholars outside of Spain. This is one important reason behind choosing the subject for not only one but two special issues of European Comic Art. Another reason is the opportunity to draw attention to the extensive comics research in Spanish, and a third is that a national comics focus such as this one contributes to two perspectives within comics research that are very much in vogue, namely transnational studies and memory studies. The six articles included in this issue contribute in different ways to one or all three of these concerns and, despite their necessarily limited number, represent a surprisingly broad spectrum of historical periods, genres and themes.

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Editorial

Comics and Transnational Exchanges

Lawrence Grove, Anne Magnussen, and Ann Miller

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Editorial

A Historical Focus on Comics

Lawrence Grove, Anne Magnussen, and Ann Miller

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Editorial

Demystification and Disruption

Laurence Grove, Anne Magnussen, and Ann Miller

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Clare Tufts, Joe Sutliff Sanders, Mark McKinney, Leroy Fabrice, Murray Pratt, Benoît Mitaine, Catherine Labio, Jan Baetens, and Anne Magnussen

FESTIVAL AND CONFERENCE REVIEWS

Angoulême 2013, Festival International de la Bande Dessinée (FIBD), 31 January–3 February

The 2013 Joint International Comics and Bande Dessinée Conference, Scotland, 24–28 June

2012 American Bande Dessinée Society Conference, Miami University, Oxford, OH, 2–3 November

BOOK REVIEWS

Groupe ACME, L'Association: Une utopie éditoriale et esthétique [L'Association: An Editorial and Aesthetic Utopia]

Thierry Groensteen, Entretiens avec Joann Sfar [Conversations with Joann Sfar]

Jean-Marc Pontier, Lectures de David B. [Reading David B.] and Nicolas de Crécy: Périodes graphiques [Nicolas de Crealcy: Graphic Periods]

Vicent Sanchis, Tebeos mutilados: La Censura franquista contra Editorial Bruguera [Mutilated Comics: The Franquist Censorship of Editorial Bruguera]

Elisabeth El Refaie, Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in Pictures

Jean-Noël Lafargue, Entre la plèbe et l'élite: Les Ambitions contraires de la bande dessinée [Between Plebs and the Elite: The Contradictory Ambitions of Comics]