‘¡García!’, HBO Max’s Francoist super

In the same way that it is easy to say that there is literally nothing like ‘Garcia!’ in the current Spanish audiovisualit is also easy to trace a few precedents and influences that help us outline how this most remarkable recently landed production works with its two initial chapters HBOMax. To begin with, of course, there is the extraordinary comic by Santiago García and Luis Bustos, a kind of whatif? with the myths of Spanish comics (what if Roberto from ‘Roberto Alcázar y Pedrín’ had been an authentic Spanish super-agent?) and which now has three spectacular volumes, with two more on the way.

It is not the first time that HBO Max itself has produced a series of these characteristics. Also with its roots firmly imbued in the fantasy genre is ‘30 coins‘, which is already preparing its second season. We also have, as screenwriters, Sara Antuña and Carlos de Pando. Both are regular collaborators (the thriller ‘Without Traces’ will premiere soon, also on HBO) and the second has written almost a dozen episodes of ‘The ministry of time‘, with which ‘Garcia!’ It has obvious parallels.

And finally, the last relevant creative force behind the series is Eugenio Mira, who has directed it in its entirety. Mira debuted with one of the cult pieces par excellence of recent Spanish fantasy cinema, ‘The Birthday’, and then has landed in stimulating projects such as ‘Grand Piano’, although it is not as lavish as would be desirable. Mira has an absolutely classic staging, which benefits the seriessince it allows it not to be sarcastic and that tributes like the one that kicks off the classic adventure film work better than if it were loaded with parody.

Far from functioning as a hodgepodge of creative influences, ‘¡García!’ it is perfectly defined and runs with a clear purpose and without hesitation. It is a bit of the perfect opposite of the aforementioned ’30 coins’, which in each episode released a different tone, setting and rhythm (which sometimes worked in its favor and sometimes not). ‘¡García!’, on the contrary, knows very well what it wants from its first chapter: to tell a story of Spanish superheroes with an ironic touch and a critical look.

Captain America of Spain

‘Garcia!’ takes us to a Spain almost identical to the current one: Antonia (Veki Velilla) is a young investigative journalist who discovers the existence of a Francoist cryogenized superagent, García (Francisco Ortiz) who finds himself waking up in a country very different from the one he lived in. Both will have to stop a conspiracy against democracy that starts with the kidnapping of a conservative leader.

Although there is obviously fantasy in the plot, it is easy to detect the real referents, of the combative journalist millennial which is Antonia to the political media victim of the kidnapping. As Mira told me when HBO Max previewed the series a few months ago, they have tried not to lean politically in any direction, and ‘Garcia!’ It shoots in all directions, which gives it a slightly different approach to the comic, but just as interesting.

This difference is possibly the most radical between comics and series: the unprecedented graphic expressiveness of Luis Bustos, who goes naturally and fluidly from referential caricature to hyperrealism or the more dynamic manga-style action is necessarily lost in the series, which is fair. in the opposite (the absolutely classic narrative pulse, clear and without fanfare of Mira) where it finds its identity. Two different products for the same character, which complement each other and dialogue with each other.

However, ‘Garcia!’ it also works as autonomous fiction, and it does it like a charm. All thanks to its constant and unstoppable rhythm and the extraordinary performances of the two actors (although the comic’s Garcia has more charisma, possibly because he’s not afraid of being unpleasant, Veki Velilla makes a great creation with Antonia). But above all, to the constant feeling that we are facing a great step towards the consolidation of a new fantastic genre in Spain with its own identity.

‘¡García!’, HBO Max’s Francoist super-agent fulfills his main mission: to help renew the fantastic Spanish