We have their paintings, their names, and that’s about it. Araujo, Dorantes, Fzavala, Marin, Pérez, Luna, and Ortiz. Many more just disappeared or have been forgotten leaving only an unsigned canvas as evidence of their careers.
These were the artists who produced work for Mexican comic books and pulp magazines during the fifties, sixties, and seventies. Most were treated like casual laborers hired to churn out work on a daily basis to meet the massive demand for comic books. To get an idea of scale: it’s estimated that some 56 million comic books were produced every month in Mexico during the mid-seventies. This was when Mexico’s population was around the 65 million mark—that’s one helluva lot of comics and one helluva lot of paintings.
Mexican comics had first taken their lead from the influx of US comic books during the 1940s. By the late 1950s, they were producing new and original stories and characters specifically for the Mexican market. Titles such as Los Supersabios, Los Supermachos, Los Agachados, Las Aventuras del Santo, Tinieblas, Blue Demon, El Tío Porfírio, Burrerías, Smog, Don Leocadio, Zor y los Invencibles, Las Aventuras de Capulina, Las Aventuras de Cepillín, and El Monje Loco all became best-sellers. Unlike US comics which were by then bound by a comic’s code, Mexican comic books and pulp magazines were able to publish work uncensored. This led to the rise of more salacious, brutal, and extreme storylines and artwork.
In 2007, Feral House issued a book celebrating the best of these pulp and comic book paintings called Mexican Pulp Art. In her introduction, Maria Cristina Tavera explained that these paintings reflected “The fantasy elements reflect Mexican attitudes about life, death, mysticism, and the supernatural.” Interest grew in the subject and in 2015, a selection of some of these original works was exhibited under the title Pulp Drunk. While there are still many gaps to filled in over the who’s and when’s and what’s, there is still a massive archive of brilliant, brash, and dazzling artworks to be enjoyed and thrilled over.
H/T Monster Brains.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Dames, Dracula, & the devil: The erotic fumetti of Italian artist Alessandro Biffignandi
Bizarre, sexually depraved covers of vintage Italian adult comics from the 70s and 80s
Monsters, mayhem & lots of nudity: The gory erotic horror of Italian comic ‘Wallestein il Mostro ’
Murder, death, KILL! Vintage horror pulp novels from the 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond
Girls & guns: Outrageously sexy pulp illustrations from vintage ‘men’s interest’ magazines
The explicitly gory and gruesome covers for Mexican comic book ‘Relatos de Presidio’ (NSFW)
60s and 70s Mexican pulp novels: Martians, robots, werewolves—and lots of hot babes
Monsters from Outer Space: Glorious covers for German sci-fi magazine ‘Terra’
Martian chronicles: Fantastic covers for UFO comics of the 1960s & 70s
‘Amazing Stories’: The bizarre-o pulp science fiction artwork of Frank R. Paul
Lurid covers from ‘Killing,’ the transcendentally trashy European murder comic