cartoonist Miguel Gallardoone of the key names in Spanish comics, who is remembered as the father of the mythical makokidied this Monday in Barcelona after a battle with cancer that he himself recounted in a book published at the height of the pandemic when he was rushed to the hospital when a tumor was discovered.
Gallardo (Lleida, 1955), who died at home surrounded by his loved ones, tells his literary agent Txell Torrent that he was not only a pillar of Spanish vignettes for the creation of Makoka in 1977. — along with Juanito Mediavilla—, the emblem of the Spanish underground comics of the 80s, but also played a defining role in the magazine. viper, a countercultural conclave par excellence, has seen the light of day. “We said goodbye not only to one of the great cartoonists (or, as he used to say, “translator”, because he translates into images what others think in words) of our country, but also to one of the best people I have ever met. honor to know and with whom I have shared more than ten years of projects, each of which is better than the previous one, ”Torrent said in a statement.
In the 1990s, Gallardo had a prolific career as an illustrator and cartoonist for the national and international press (La Vanguardia, The New Yorker). Recognition from the general public, beyond the average comic book reader, came after the fifties barrier was broken, with the publication Maria and me (Astiberri, 2007), a graphic memoir in which he recounts his adventures with Maria, his autistic daughter, and the title for which he received National Comic Award of Catalonia. All this was in a bestseller in Spain, translated into ten languages.
Maria and me will make a jump into film in documentary format, a project that has been nominated for a Goya Award and a Gaudí Award. In 2011 he published long silence, a title in which he told the story of his father, a Republican soldier, during the Civil War, a few years later, in which his career was recognized with various awards, including Comic Fair in 2014 (over his entire career) or that of the Newspaper Society design. In 2013, he received the Gràffica award for his entire career: “for being a high-level illustrator, but Gallardo not only draws, tells stories and does it in the best way he can,” according to the jury.
One of Gallardo’s great vices has always been travel, travel experiences that he later transferred to the travel notes that always accompanied him, from Mexico to Japan, Torrent recalls. Recently, he has also turned his attention to the adventures of his adopted dog Kala (Big Book of DogsAstiberri, 2022), a four-handed graphic novel written with his wife Karin Kroo, which is about to be published.
One of his last published titles was Something strange happened to me on the way home (Astiberri, 2019) a graphic document in which, without a hint of drama, he described the whole process he had to go through when he discovered and removed a brain tumor in February 2019, a few weeks before the start of the pandemic. In an interview with Efe, he then pointed out that it was “a notebook about a journey he didn’t want to take”, several pages in which he joked about a tumor that crossed his life and which he dubbed “sweet potatoes”. “, and because of which, after removal, he had to undergo a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Even though he was serious, he didn’t want to play mystic, and he joked about the 55 braces and the titanium plate that remained in his head, about the therapeutic humor and the distance he always managed to keep in his work. despite the fact that the cancer recurred after treatment. In 2019, some of the work he did for viper could be seen in National Art Museum of Catalonia in an exhibition that collected covers and illustrations from him and other underground greats such as Nazario or Max.
He himself wanted his work to take place outside the pages of magazines and books and donated over two hundred works to the Jaume Morera Art Museum in Lleida. A few weeks ago he received Animac Lifetime Achievement Award 2022International Animated Film Festival of Catalonia, and the City Council of Barcelona have just proposed to award him the Barcelona Gold Medal for Cultural Merit “for his contribution to the graphic memory of a decisive moment in the history of Barcelona and the entire country; for going further and being able to convey the simplest reality.”