martes, 26 de enero de 2010


The gag is the key for a cartoon success. In my opinion there’s nothing as expressive as an humoristic situation taken to the extreme and absolute exaggeration. Slapstick. TOM and JERRY are heirs to the creators of the genre: Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy… hence, their stories were a gag after another. A beginning and a closure without excessive pretensions is enough excuse to chain as many gags as possible to fill a story and reach the time and number of pages determined by the publisher. That was my idea of working when I saw myself writing for T&J. To be faithful to the spirit of the characters. To be able to do that you only need two things: to want, and to be let to do it.
My will was there, and I was very lucky to work for SEMIC PRESS, EGMONT SWEDEN after, a publisher that never interfered in my job. The owner of the characters, MGM (Ted Turner), didn’t interfere either. And that’s how I started the most productive age of my career to nowhere, ha ha! With the freedom I enjoyed, a rare privilege in the business of writing for multinational’s characters, I could give Tom and Jerry the character they had lost for decades where there was an excess of words and total absence of gags. I memorized all the TOM & JERRY shortcuts, especially the ones from middle 40’s to early 50’s (the best period in my opinion). With that school in mind, I jumped into the gag pool and swam as well as I could.
Probably there are no comics in the market that refect that clearly the mood of the characters as the ones I wrote since early 90’s. It’s not a medal I can wear myself, as always, it’s a merit that the reader gives you, the one you really work for in the end.
Here there are some gags from different stories. They are shown in chronological order so the evolution of the art shows with the pass of time.


I’d been working for CONDOR VERLAG (Germany) for like two years when I started to work for SEMIC PRESS (Sweden) too.
It was first hour of the evening when the phone woke me up from a delightful “siesta” (a nap, Spanish national sport). My agent, the owner of the studio which I was working for, called me during the Frankfurt Book Faire to tell me an Escandinavian publisher was interested in my work and wanted me to produce for them. My answer was clear: of course! The answer of a young and intrepid, and a bit irresponsible artist because In that moment I was saying yes to produce more than 20 pages per month, script included. For someone with little experience it was a fairly difficult task, but with the will to work and publish you can do anything. What I didn’t know is that in the next years, 20 pages each month was piece of cake. During the 90’s, 30 or 40 pages per month was the usual deal.
I once read my friend J.L.MUNUERA say: “In occasions artists talk about doing one or two pages every day… Yes, that’s doable, but for how long can you endure that rhythm? How many weeks? How many years?” Those three questions talk about how difficult is to remain awake in this business and become a professional. Muses and inspiration, they sound poetic, but in the end they are just fairy tales.
Working is the key to everything. For one’s sake and to earn respect from the others. Industry can’t wait for inspiration to touch the artist. Someone in the publisher company is waiting for the pages we are creating to color them. Some other are waiting to put the texts… There’s a big machine that feeds on the essential matter of comic: the art!
With enough time you realize producing so many pages every month is not the most difficult thing… Keeping a social life while working like that IS! That’s a real challenge!
This is one of the first works I did for SEMIC PRESS, the ones that for many years gave me their trust, most freedom and care. It’s not easy to find people in this business that respect you as a person and a professional. I’m not joking!

Published for the first time by SEMIC PRESS, issue 11, 1998.


When this season arrives it’s imposible not to find xmas images everywhere. Comics are no different, due to market demands.
Publishers, in general, work with very solid protocols. Every season or special dates must be reflexed in the magazine (especially monthly magazines). With that logic in mind, you get all the characters dressed as Santa. That may seem an easy job since working with conventions it looks easier to get ideas but after so many years working with the same characters it’s more difficult than anticipated. Coming with new ideas for the same characters and the same scenery gets complicated. You get the feeling you’re always doing the same, repeating the same kind of stories. I may have drawn 40 different covers with the xmas theme and luckily im still doing it. The weird thing is I happen to write the xmas stories during summer with 35 degrees Celsius in Spain, looking at the beach out the window while trying to draw cold winter things. Not much inspiration to begin with! I always try to look around my environment to find hints for gags and jokes but that comes second with xmas stories which need, mainly a “good vibrations” mood. In this situation I choose to create “Pose covers”. They are neutral pictures because they are not entirely faithful to the character’s personalities but they also do not betray them since they do not interact with each other. They both interact with the reader, it is for him they pose to.
As an example, here there are some covers. They belong to their first original publishing, before they get translated and ported to other countries.

1988-1989 ( SEMIC PRESS )

1991-1996 ( SEMIC PRESS )

1998 ( EGMONT ) 2001 ( FULL STOP MEDIA )

2002-2003 ( FULL STOP MEDIA )

2004-2005 ( FULL STOP MEDIA )

martes, 5 de enero de 2010

DROOPY (1987)

When publishers are in need of contents it’s a great time to test new things. The magazine has to be out on the streets every month and that rush makes quality of the work not a priority. Seriously, when you have to finish the work and time is running out, a down in quality is often tolerated. The artist has to learn to live with that and stop working on pages that, given more time, you wouldn’t ever say you are happy with nor satisfied. For that reason, or many others, it was a good situation for an artist like me that needed many hours of pencil work to evolve fast and find my own style. Working a lot and making lots of mistakes is a good way to learn, maybe not the best, I don’t know, but it’s effective especially to become a professional on the media... Being a good professional on this media doesn’t imply to be a good artist.
In those times when the publisher demands lots of pages, different orders come and you get the chance to draw some other characters, being the artist’s talent a secondary requisite, the most important factor is being able to finish the work as soon as possible.
That’s when I got my first contact with DROOPY and learned its creator: TEX AVERY, master of masters.
Totally unconsciously, boldly and quite crazy, I dared to draw some pages for CONDOR VERLAG about this great character. God forgive me once again!
These are some of the pages. Overall, they were short gags, one page jokes without words… I still ignore why they asked me to do this kind of stories of DROOPY or why the character personality in comic was so different from the original concept of the character. For curiosity’s sake, I include some pages of those old TOM & JERRY stories where DROOPY would appear as well. I’m not sure if there is any other story where the three characters appear together again. Maybe this was the only time!