Sunday, 27 January 2013

Manuel "Spain" Rodriguez (1940-2012)

No-one told me that Spain had died last November - I only found out tonight. Who is he? Go and have a look on Wikipedia if you don't know, but he was a lot of things - a cartoonist, a biker, a biographer, a Marxist... To me, he's the only one out of all those underground "comix" folk that actually took me out of my comfort zone.

Reading Zap for the first time, I was prepared for all the "shocking" stuff inside them - from the likes of Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Robert Williams and the rest of them (and that stuff really is shocking if you don't know about it already!), but for all the violence, racial and sexual imagery presented by that lot, it was still presented in a cartoony sort-of-way - making it hilarious at the same time. Spain's stuff, on the other hand, was grubby, realistic, cold, and mostly left a bad feeling in the stomach.

As such, he could be called the only cartoonist who's ever moved me in a way that isn't a humorous sort-of-way, and I'll remember him if only for that reason.

Take a look at some of his stuff after the jump (it's a bit on the "NSFW" side of things, obviously).

"Inspired" by his biking days with the Road Vultures. A lot can be said on the influence of personal experience!

Sangrella was set in an alternate universe ruled by women, where men are a near-extinct species:

The science-fiction setting allowed Spain to get creative with the horrific side of things:

As well as providing an opportunity for creating fanciful aircraft:

He could draw realistic aircraft too:

Not to mention outlandish "concept" vehicles:

He also created the anti-superhero, Trashman, in 1968 - doing the whole "post-apocalyptic urban dystopia" thing years before the likes of Blade Runner or Mad Max:

Not forgetting his graphic biography of Che Guevara, which I've yet to read...

Manuel "Spain" Rodriguez, 22/03/40 - 28/11/12

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