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