If you're a big fan of comics, you most likely know the name Richard Fenton Outcalt. He was the author of 'Yellow Kid', a boy dressed in yellow who represented the poorest social classes and who was considered the first comic strip character, born in 1895. Sixty-one years later, in 1956, Alex Raymond died. Raymond was one of the most respected illustrators of the 20th century, and the creator of 'Secret Agent X-9', 'Jungle Jim' and 'Flash Gordon'. Between those two dates, comics developed in the United States, just before the Marvel factory led a revolution, starting in the 1960s, with works like 'Spider-man', 'The Fantastic Four' and 'Daredevil', among others. All this is laid out for you by Enric Melego i Trilles, the curator of the exhibition 'The comic explosion: Contrasts and influences of the great masters of North American comic strips (1895-1955)'.
In a time like now when we're always getting the biggest and the best ever thrown around, at Arts Santa Mónica they're taking the opportunity to follow the evolution of American comics from birth to full bloom, including the influence that American comics have had in Spain.
The exhibition features some 130 original works on the walls and in showcases, classified in technical contrasts, masters and disciples, and the arrival of the comic explosion in Spain. You can see pieces like an original by the classic American illustrator Matt Clark, who was a big influence for illustrators to come; a rare page from 'Flash Gordon', by Alex Raymond; and three originals of the wonderful 'Little Nemo'.
As far as Spanish illustrators go, you'll find original pieces of 'Roberto Alcázar y Pedrín', of 'Pumby' by José Sanchís, 'El inspector Dan' by Eugeni Giner, 'El guerrero del antifaz' by Manuel Gago, 'Super Mortadelo' by Ibañez, and 'Superlópez' by Jan, among others. You'll also find a space dedicated to analyzing the role of women in Spanish comics, during the 1950s under Franco, which had little in common with that liberated Betty Boop who sang 'I'm nobody's gal but mine'.