Spanish comics
Earliest publications 1800s-1920s

Spanish comics are the comics of Spain and they are among the most important comics traditions in Europe. Comics in Spain are usually called historietas or cómics, with tebeos primarily denoting the magazines containing the medium.

Origin and definition

File:Dominguín 1.jpg

First issue of Dominguín (1915)

The term tebeo is a phonetic adaptation of TBO, a long-running (1917–1983) Spanish comic book magazine and sounds like "te veo" (I see you). This magazine was influential in popularizing the medium[1] In this magazine appeared Los grandes inventos del TBO (The great inventions of TBO) which featured humorous Rube Goldberg-like machines.

Another important humorous comics were Pulgarcito and Lily (the latter for girls)

In Spain, superhero comics were banned by the Francoist regime and thus, the heroes were based on Historical fiction.


In 1944 a medieval hero El Guerrero del Antifaz (The masked warrior) was created by Manuel Gago and published by Editorial Valenciana. Another popular medieval hero, Capitán Trueno, was created in 1956.

After the Spanish Civil War the Franco regime imposed strict censorship in all media, and comics were not excepted. Despite this, the 1940s and 1950s era is considered a golden age of Spanish comics, since they were at the top of their popularity[2] The editorial Bruguera created in this time a recognizable style of humorous comics with a mixture of comedy of manners and slapstick starring chronic losers. Among the popular characters of this era are El repórter Tribulete by Cifré, Carpanta and Zipi y Zape by Escobar or Las hermanas Gilda by Vázquez. They also published adventure comics such as Capitán Trueno or Silver Roy.

Editorial Valenciana published adventures comics such as Roberto Alcázar y Pedrín (1940) or El Guerrero del Antifaz. Humorous series of Editorial Valenciana were not as slapstick, and more absurd and harmless comedy and featured synthetic drawing and, in academic terms, more finished, with "abundance of backgrounds, change of perspective, depth of field" and some statism.[clarification needed][3]

In the 60's comics have to adapt to changing times and a more restrictive censorship. In 1958 is published for the first time Mortadelo y Filemón by Ibáñez, series that soon become the most popular of this media in Spain. Editorial Bruguera is the leader of juvenile comics these years with authors such as Fresno's, Jan, Joan March, Nicolás, Jaume Ribera o Jaume Rovira. Humorous comics of this decade lost the comedy of manners and became more aburdist with characters such as Sir Tim O'Theo (1970) or Superlópez (1975). In 1969 the magazine Gran Pulgarcito serialized the first long strip (44 pages) of Mortadelo y Filemón. One of the authors who adapted well to this more surreal style was Vázquez with his Anacleto, agente secreto strip.

Adult readers could access to horror comics such as Dossier Negro (1968), Vampus (1971) or Rufus (1973) or satirical comics such as El Papus (1973)

After the death of Franco there was an increased interest in adult comics with a lot of magazines such as Totem, El Jueves, 1984 or El Víbora. In 1989 the annual comic book convention of Barcelona was inaugurated.

Market saturation became evident in 1983 with the closure of the magazines of Ediciones Metropol complicated with a crisis that increased the price of paper[4] and the rise of video games. Editorial Bruguera filed for bankruptcy on 7 June 1982. In 1986 it was acquired by Grupo Z and transformed into Ediciones B. In the 1990s most adult comic magazines (Cairo, Zona 84 or Cimoc) disappeared. El Víbora disappeared in 2005. The most notable survivor of that era is El Jueves.

The Mortadelo and all Ediciones B comic magazines disappeared in 1996. Mortadelo y Filemón and Superlópez are still published directly in album format.

Among the Spanish webcomics are notable ¡Eh, tío!, El joven Lovecraft and El Listo.[5]

See also


  1. Martín (01/1968), pp. 9 a 10.
  2. Porcel (2002), 69-70.
  3. Porcel (2002), 308-311.
  4. Beá, Josep María in an interview in "Entrecomics" at 10/06/08 located here.
  5. La tira cómica se rejuvenece en Internet, published on El País at 17/09/2009.


External links

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