surinenglish

3 November 1919: Birth of celebrated Spanish comic-strip artist, Jesús Blasco

Jesús Blasco was one of Spain’s most celebrated illustrators.
Jesús Blasco was one of Spain’s most celebrated illustrators. / SUR
  • Blasco is considered one of the masters of Spanish comics, making his debut in 1935, when his illustrations were published in the Spanish version of the magazine Mickey

Born in Barcelona in 1919, Jesús Blasco was a Spanish illustrator whose career spanned the golden age of comic-strip art.

One of five brothers, Blasco is considered one of the masters of Spanish comics, making his debut in 1935, when his illustrations were published in the Spanish version of the magazine, Mickey.

One of his best known characters was Cuto, the star of an adventure cartoon published in the magazine, Chico, during the 1940s. Cuto was the emblematic adventurous child, often compared to Hergé's Tin Tin.

Blasco's career was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War. Fighting for the republicans, he was held in a prison in France, where he drew pictures of the guards in return for food. He was released in 1940 and returned to Barcelona, where he spent the rest of his life.

Throughout the 1940s, Blasco worked for several Spanish comics and children's magazines, including Las Chicas, for which he created the character Anita Diminuta. A tomboyish girl with plaits, Anita faced countless dangers and horrific enemies, such as witches, wizards, octopuses and other evil creatures.

Jesús Blasco.

Jesús Blasco. / SUR

Blasco's international career began at the start of the 1950s, when he created such characters as Buffalo Bill, for the Comet magazine. He also produced the cartoon strip, Billy the Kid for the Sun Magazine and went on to illustrate numerous other popular children's publications until the 1980s. He produced a number of strips for the Lion comic, including The Indestructible Man, Danger Man and Adam Eterno. Lion was a weekly periodical published by Fleetway and among its most famous readers was Prince Charles, for whom, a copy was delivered to the palace every Saturday morning.

His most celebrated strip, the one for which he is best remembered, was The Steel Claw, based on a laboratory assistant who possessed an artificial hand that had extraordinary powers.

At the same time as he was producing for the English market he was also engaged in various projects for other European magazines. At the beginning of the 1980s, he worked on the western series, Tex Willer, and Capitan Trueno, which, at its height sold more than 170,000 copies every week. For this he collaborated with the Spanish writer, Victor Mora, with whom Blasco also made the medieval series, Tallafero in 1987. Jesús Blasco had very productive and influential career, working on some of the most iconic children's publications during the golden era of the comic super hero.

He also illustrated fairy tales and tarocchi cards.

Ironically, he died on 21 October 1995, the same day that Manuel Vázquez Gallego - another celebrated Spanish cartoonist - also died in Barcelona.