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Sunday, 18 December 2011


Back in the 1960s and '70s, British comics for children sold hundreds of thousands of copies on a weekly basis. The two biggest comics publishers, IPC and D. C. Thomson, alone required hundreds of a pages of original art for their many titles, which created full-time work for writers, artists and editors. Few of the professionals involved at the time envisaged the industry's eventual collapse or can fully explain its causes. "Kids today don't want comics; they're uncool" is a pat answer of doubtful truth.

Like many other Spanish artists who were recruited to help fill the pages of comics, despite the complications of working through agencies and translators, Matías Alonso has in recent times followed a different career path, similar to Martin Salvador's. (See last week's Sunday Comic). Writing about Alonso at the Illustration Art Gallery website, comics bibliographer and repackager Steve Holland says, "His last known contributions to British comics appeared in the early 1990s when he drew strips for Judy Picture Library and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. By then Alonso had 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."

Alonso is chiefly recognized by the British comics-collecting fraternity for his contributions to various IPC war picture libraries (complete, 64-page graphic novellas), Thomson's similar Commando, and the Thomson weeklies – primarily The Victor (over 23 years), plus Bullet, Judy, Diana, Debbie and Emma

But among Alonso's early assignments for the British market were two eight-page historical strips, The Sea Adventurers and The Fighting Cavalier, which appeared complete in the Odhams' Boys' World Annuals for 1968 and 1969 respectively. We've already run the second of these as an Archive Sunday Comic. Here is the first, written in 1966 by Keith Chapman and drawn by Alonso.   

NEXT ISSUE (week) - in the best tradition of comic books we have a special Christmas themed story - now that's what I call Sunday Comics


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