It is often commented as a joke, even more so being a cartoonist, that it should be forbidden to publish books without drawings. Well, here you have one with drawings on practically all its pages.
Historia gráfica de la Guerra Civil ( RBA) hit the shelves on 24 November. This book by Jordi Riera Pujal (visual artist and writer) and Jaume Capdevila,“Kap” (cartoonist, populariser and specialist in satirical press), with a foreword by Paul Preston and a cartoon by“Bluff” on the cover, is a different work because it focuses on a very specific and little explored aspect, the humorous images published during the Spanish Civil War by both sides and also in the international press.
The 224-page work begins with a text that clearly explains the declaration of intentions, or lack thereof, depending on how you look at it. The main argument is an orderly compilation of the graphic testimony of the cartoonists and illustrators of a country at war
The images are labelled according to the side that published them. The red star for the Republicans, a blue helmet for the self-proclaimed “national” side and a magenta circle for illustrations published in other countries.
If I had to give it some criticism, I think that the size of the pages (21.5 x 24.5 cm) is too small for the reproduction of some large-format illustrations that lose a little of the text. It is also understandable that, although one can immediately recognise the well done work of scanning, layout and printing, a few pieces have some parts somewhat deteriorated and I suppose they would not exist in another quality or better size.
Although most of the images are graphic humour cartoons published in newspapers and magazines, there are also ironic or satirical ones, more or less direct and/or propagandistic, and even board games, cut-outs, children’s cartoons, individual caricatures or merely illustrative scenes.
Among its chapters, which focus on the role of women, religion, the bombing of the civilian population and the figure of the dictators, there is an illustrated chronology of the war, a section dedicated to all kinds of propaganda publications aimed at children and a space called “cartography of laughter” with samples of the use of maps as a satirical resource.
Google Books has a generous preview of the book with a portion of its first pages. Although I can already tell you that the sensation of reading it physically is much more pleasant.
A beautiful array of laugh-out-loud drawings in a variety of styles that address social and political issues, all of them steeped in war and its miseries.
The book is awash with classic newspaper vignettes in which the humorous clash between the parties is present without half-measures, but also many illustrations, some of them beastly, like this one by the Polish Arthur Szyk (1894 – 1951) for Reader’s Scope. NY, 1942, which is reproduced on a double-page spread.
A dynamic and complete journey through humour from the first rumours of war, death, hunger, the miseries of exile and the repression that would lead to the beginning of an ill-fated dictatorship that would last four fucking decades.
The book closes with an index of names, a collection of brief biographies of the cartoonists accompanied by their corresponding caricature and the obligatory bibliography and acknowledgements.
A little review of less than a minute at hyperspeed through some of its pages.
Although you may think that this work is aimed at fans or disseminators of graphic humour or even professionals in the field, it may well serve as a reference book, albeit a powerfully visual one.
You can buy it online in different shops for between 23.75 and 25 euros or in any physical bookshop, those places with shelves full of books that you can browse through.
You can also buy it in epub format from Itunes, Rakuten Kobo and Amazon for between 9.99 and 9.49€