“Vive la vida”, Luis Alberto de Cuenca’s elegant return to vignette


Many years ago, Louis Albert Cuenca wrote a story called paper heroes. In it, he imagined a child able to appear and exit comics at will, as if he could control the mechanism that separates dreams from reality at will. Over time, he left other dreams that turned into poems. Who could have told him that through the combination of these two great passions – comics and poetry – he would see the most cherished dream of all come true: to see himself as a comic book character.

The process that led him to see himself as a very peculiar paper hero began in the same way that the most important events in life usually begin: by accident. As he continued to pay tribute to his beloved comics, putting them on par with some of the greatest books in literary history, Laura Perez Vernetti (Barcelona, ​​1958) did something similar, but in reverse, turning the most iconic poems of the greatest poets into comics.


It seemed inevitable that the paths of both artists would cross sooner or later, as it happened. So, after a process of several fruitful collaborations, something happened that should have happened. Luis Alberto de Cuenca first appeared as a comic character in silver bullets (The Kingdom of Cordelia), a comic collection of some of his most famous poems, which hit bookstores in mid-2017. Luis Alberto himself appeared in it, either as an essential narrator or as a special character who always accompanies the reader in this voice. so own that it turns ancient exploits into trips to the cinema, or into vignettes, or into a simple friction of two bodies, wishing, like everyone else, to turn their union into a timeless feat.

“Luis Alberto is the contemporary Spanish poet who is most protective of comics,” Pérez Vernetti explains to the paper. “But he’s also the one he had the most influence on.” That is why he wanted to return to the vignette, publishing the second album of his metrical adventures. Live your life (The Kingdom of Cordelia), as it is called, has just been published, with notable differences from its predecessor. “Each time I lean more towards a clear line,” explains Pérez Vernetti, who believes that her first approach to De Cuenca’s poetry was darker due to the themes chosen and the underground drawing. “Perhaps this last one came out more elegant, but because I influenced other elements that I also appreciate in the work of Luis Alberto, such as love or humor.”

silver bullets It was, of course, scarier. “That makes sense, given that one of his themes was horror,” she explains. Live your life points to a different path, starting with the poem that gave it its name and encourages precisely the enjoyment of existence, whether you are “in those poor neighborhoods created for drugs or eviction”, or “in the gray palaces of the rich.” . Of all his film adaptations, the cartoonist left three. “From Live your life I love shrinking man, for humor,” he says. “Luis Alberto is one of the poets who treat humor with more elegance. And I think that humor in art needs to be protected.” Disease, a series of drawings illustrating a poem about dramatic and unrequited love, which, even worse, is also a favorite of Luis Alberto de Cuenca. From silver bulletson the other hand, remains headless woman“because it’s very cinematic. Just a comic book script. An elegant and ferocious poem in equal parts, which she uses to define the essence of the poet who best adapts to the genre. “Luis Alberto He is the most comic Spanish poet. Not only because he justifies the comics, but also because his poetry, so clear and so narrative, is heavily influenced by them.”


Laura Perez Vernetti has been drawing comics for four decades. But she is also a pioneer in turning poetry into comics. “Graphic poetry belongs only to the 21st century. It didn’t exist before,” he explains. For this reason, he believes that no poet deserved more to see himself reflected in his vignettes than the one who did the most to equalize and surpass two such disparate languages. “After all, poetry is very difficult to draw for many reasons,” she says. “These are different languages. Often a poem can say four different things in a long stanza, but comics can’t work like that. The comics need an action for every panel. There are great authors in poetry who are too dark, too conceptual. That’s why Luis Alberto works so well in comics.” He adapted in his own way the style of clean lines that Hergé admired so much in his drawings. And so it was seen like flesh and blood tintingoing in and out of his own poems just like the kid he imagined so long ago in a story called Paper Heroes.


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