Expressions of Comics and Graphic Novels in Contemporary Spain (roundtable)
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This roundtable invites work that analyzes the new wave of graphic narratives in contemporary Spain. This roundtable also welcomes proposals that deal with different genres and approaches to the medium, including analysis of the industry and publishers.
In 2006, the Culture Ministry from Spain created the "Premio Nacional del Cómic," an award to recognize the work of Spanish creators in the form of graphic narratives. This landmark event marked a new way in which Spanish society has come to understand the medium. On the one hand, it represents a legitimation of comics and marks their entry into "high culture." On the other hand, it affects the relationship between publishers, industries, and creators. For example, certain productions, addressed to a younger audience, are often excluded from this circuit.
As a result, we find a new movement, which is characterized by graphic novels that rely on political and social themes to appeal to broader audiences. This corpus of oeuvres started to reflect in testimonies from the Spanish Civil War and the Franco Regime, as we can see in testimonies from the Spanish Civil War and the Franco Regime initiated this approach and works like El Arte de volar (2009), Los surcos del azar (2013), and Espacios en Blanco (2017) contributed to this corpus.
This new panorama radically transformed the industry. New Spanish publishers cropped up, and comic books and graphic novels were distributed through major bookstores and retail stores. This growth opened the door to female authors, who, in a male-dominated industry, found their space by addressing gender and race in their intersectional works. Estamos todas bien (2017) by Ana Penyas provides a feminist perspective to the memory of the dictatorship while Quan Zhou's Gazpacho Agridulce (2015) deals with ethnicity and race through the experience of an ethnically Chinese, Spanish-born woman in Andalusia.