Goodbye to Calpurnio and his Cuttlas: a black 2022 for the comic

A black year this 2022 for the Spanish comicwho continues to mourn for michael gallardo, Carlos Pacheco, Juanito Mediavilla, Miguel Fuster. And now she’s gone calpurnius. The Aragonese cartoonist (Zaragoza, 1959), creator of the character of cuttleshas passed away this Thursday at the age of 63 after a long illness.

Although a year ago he had announced that due to fatigue he was saying goodbye to his famous character, he had remained active until the last moment: he was preparing a new jobhis work is the poster of the Zaragoza Comic Fair, which opens its doors this Friday, and last September published a monumental work after four titanic years: Homer’s ‘Iliad’ within the ‘Freed Classics’ collection, by Blackie Books), with 850 illustrations, faithful to his particular style, with more than 10,000 characters, as he had previously done with the no less enormous ‘Odyssey’.

Calpurnio, Eduardo Pelegrín Martínez de Pisón, had been forged in magazines such as ‘The Viper’, ‘Makoki’ and published in ‘Interview’, but fame came thanks to ‘Good old Cuttlas’, a studiedly minimalist cowboy with a very simple line, like most of his characters -“stick figures”, as he himself called them-, which began as a parody of the western, with typical scenes from the Wild West, such as duels, Indians, gunmen and villains , although also with characters like 37, a green alien. But Cuttlas evolved to live his adventures while showing his metaphysical concerns pondering with humor about life, human relationships, technology, science or art. Thanks to him, Calpurnio was able to deal with any topic.

double resurrection

The Cuttlas series, born in 1983 in the fanzine ‘El Japo’, accompanied him for 37 years, published in ‘El Víbora’, ‘Makoki’ and in the press, in ‘El País’ or ’20 minutos’, although he managed to ‘kill’ the character twice, the first time in 1989, to revive him in 1994, as an actor from Hollywood who played Cuttlas. She ended up with him again two years later to rescue him in 1998 thanks to the reconstruction of his DNA, taken from his hat. Calpurnio collected strips of him in various books, such as ‘The Man of the West’, ‘The Molecular Gunman’, ‘The Sign of the Times’, ‘This is not a comic’, ‘We are just stickmen’ or ‘The Samurai Cowboy ‘ (Evolution Comics).

In 2016, the year in which he received the Grand Prize from the Zaragoza Comic Hall, he launched a new roster of crazy characters in ‘Plasma world’ (Reservoir Books; Ciutat de Palma Comic Award 2016). He then undertook the versions of Homer’s works in Blackie, true masterpieces. For them he began a tenacious documentation work. “He came to know more than anyone about nymphs and gods, about weapons and ships, about heroes and battles. Nothing in his apparently very simple drawings is accidental. When he got into the ‘Iliad’, he was already an authority on the world of antiquity classic”, they state from the editorial.

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Cartoonist and illustrator, he also made fanzines, numerous posters, album covers, animated films, murals, exhibitions, scripts. In 1997 he had also made abstract video creations as a video jockey, under the pseudonym ERRORvideo, and had presented works at electronic music festivals.

Working on ‘The Book of Tao’

Just a couple of months ago, in an interview with popularizer and critic Gerardo Vilches, he assured that he had decided to end the Cuttlas series due to fatigue and a laziness that he had never experienced before. Among the keys to his success in connecting with the reader, he cited his “simple and ancestral drawing” and “good scripts.” Despite the end of the character, he faced the future thinking about new challenges. This is confirmed by the publisher Blackie Books, with which he was preparing an edition of ‘The Book of Tao’, by Lao Tse. “We knew he was ill, but his tireless enthusiasm and faith and illusion in the new project gave us hope. The last time we spoke, we left him drawing old Lao Tse, riding his ox, who was starting his journey. Today Calpurnio He has started his own.” Perhaps wearing the hat of good Cuttlas, looking for his new band, Gallardo, Pacheco, Mediavilla and Fuster.

Goodbye to Calpurnio and his Cuttlas: a black 2022 for the comic