The Spanish comic artist Matías Alonso is best known to British readers for his contributions to the D. C. Thomson weekly The Victor. The blog of Illustration Art Gallery has an excellent backgrounder about him in which comics bibliographer Steve Holland explains, among much else, that Alonso drew for the comic for 23 years, beginning in 1967.
Alonso began working as a teenager for comic books in his native
Spain in the 1950s. A Spanish commentator noted that he quickly
gained a fine reputation for his historical strips with "ships and
military uniforms drawn with an eye for detail, and the exotic
settings showing the influence of Hollywood movies. To counter this
rather thankless attention to realism, Alonso tried to make the
pages stylistically interesting, although the results could be
Steve Holland continues, "By the mid-1960s he was firmly established
in the UK market, drawing for Commando, Battle Picture
Library, Air Ace Picture Library and War Picture
Library, sometimes working in collaboration with Luis Bermejo
and with Eustaquio Segrelles. A fine example of his collaborative
work with Bermejo can be seen in the Heros strip that appeared in Eagle
Annual 1967, although his contributions to Boys' World
Annual 1968 and especially the 1969 volume, show what
he was capable of working solo."
Both the fine Boys' World strips Steve mentions were
scripted by Keith Chapman, best known today as western novelist Chap
O'Keefe. They gave Alonso full rein to showcase his skills with
Steve tells us, "Alonso later established himself in Spain as a
painter – noted for his landscapes of northern Spain and of Spanish
ports with boats jostling in the water– and has had his work
exhibited in Barcelona and Madrid."
Here are the complete eight pages of the Boys' World strip The
Fighting Cavalier, excerpted from the 1969 annual published in
1968 by Odhams Books Ltd. Gay Martin Crosby ("gay" had a different
meaning then, remember?) confronts the evil Dr Goar and his
frightening henchman, the Hairy Giant. The story is an imaginative
take on the English Civil War of the seventeenth century when the
puritanical Oliver Cromwell overthrew the English monarchy and
temporarily turned the country into a republic, which he ruled as
"Lord Protector" for almost five years.
Click the pages to enlarge the artwork and enjoy the detail. Look,
too, for hints of what fan Peter Richardson describes at the Cloud
109 blog as Alonso's "distinctly weirdly torrid and idiosyncratic
take on comic strip art"!
REMEMBER - CLICK ON ANY IMAGE FOR A LARGER VERSION....enjoy