Asier Mensuro



Soon August arrives, a period in which, who more and who less, enjoy a well-deserved summer vacation. The ninth art is a great option for entertainment these days, and it is not uncommon for various media to create lists of novelties that can be enjoyed at leisure.

However, it has always surprised me that nobody makes summer recommendations in their most literal sense; that is, a list of comics whose story takes place in the summer, and if possible during the holiday period. Here is a small corpus of titles that may not be strictly editorial news, but which is composed of extraordinary comics that can be easily obtained in any comic bookstore, and that are used to warm engines and “change the chip” to “summer mode”.

– “Long live the cows! (2019) Futuropolis / Barbara Fiore Editorial. Nothing to do with the mammal, since “cows” is used as a shortcut for “holidays”. This very free translation of the title of the work is the only thing I don’t like about the careful edition of “Vive la maré!”, An extraordinary work by those two titans from the French comic that are David Prudhomme and Pascal Rabaté. With as avant-garde as surprising graphics, throughout its 120 pages they offer us a satirical portrait of the western European population when they go on vacation. In an almost anthropological spirit, they carry out a kind of taxonomy of «fauna» that can be found in any of the coastal tourist destinations.

Despite this apparently banal argument, the authors offer us a deep, fun and lyrical reflection at the same time, in which “the beach” becomes an exceptional setting where hundreds of characters parade who not only show us their bodies to the sun, but they bare his soul and tell us his longings. In short, they reveal to the reader their “summer dream.” We highly recommend listening to “La mer” by Charles Trénet while reading.

That summer (2014), Ediciones La Cúlpula. Nostalgia for childhood summers recounted in vignettes, in which the vacation spot becomes a mythical territory whose memory is associated with happiness in its purest form. Its creators Jillian and Mariko Tamaki make an extraordinary graphic novel about that moment when childhood dreams begin to break. Two friends of the soul who meet again in Awago Beach every summer, where they discover together that the world is more complex than they thought.

The two cartoonists are cousins ​​and Canadians, although Mariko has Japanese genes; and perhaps for this reason, in the graphics of this work the best of very different ways of understanding the ninth art are integrated in perfect harmony: the Canadian independent comic and the Japanese manga. The result is a marvelous narration that manages to take the adult reader back to the happiest moments of her childhood vacation; evoking experiences that we have all lived in one way or another, including the first summer love.

The beach house (2019), New Nine Editors. Séverine Vidal comic to the script and Víctor L. Pinel to the drawing. It tells the story of its successive inhabitants from 1958 to the present. Fragmenting the story through various flashbacks, the various avatars of the lives of those who every year come to spend the summer holidays within its walls are shown. In the apparent stillness and monotony typical of rest days, the characters share with the reader their thoughts, longings, and memories. It is very much an intimate comic with a summer and beach flavor; but as a counterpoint, it also includes a secret whose key is present in one of its rooms. The authors unravel and reveal this mystery little by little, with wisdom; managing to maintain the intrigue until the last page of this wonderful graphic novel.

An insolent summer (2011), by Astiberri Ediciones. A particularly attractive story for fans of the history of photography and art, who will enjoy the beauty of Denis Lapière and Rubén Pellejero; creators of this story set in Mexico in the summer of 1923, and starring Edward Weston and his lover, the also extraordinary photographer Tina Modotti.

Paul is going to work this summer (2012), Ed. Fulgencio Pimentel. Michel Rabagliati could not be absent. Surely a graphic novel with which those young people who have to work in the summer period can be identified, making the absence of vacations more bearable, while enjoying the beauty of the adventures of its tender protagonist.

Fatal Vacation (1968), by Vittorio Giardino. Finally, this “jewel” discontinued for regulars of old bookstores and network browsing. Three albums that compile a series of short stories by the Italian master of police comics, whose tales of intrigue, revenge and murder, take place in vacation destinations as appealing as Capri and the Aegean Islands, or as exotic as Bangkok and Morocco. Good reading and good summer!