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Friday, November 16, 2007

Josep Marti

(I'm updating and reposting this because there was some confusion in the original posting between two artists with similar names. Thanks to Jose Manuel Ruiz that confusion is now cleared up; I've decided to revise rather than just add a note so that it doesn't lead to any further confusion in the future.) I've been in correspondence with various European collectors regarding an error that crept into The War Libraries volume. It concerns a Spanish artist called Josep Marti and another called Jorge Macabich. And a third named Joan Marti.

Back in the early 1990s, I had a number of issues of Battle Picture Library and War Picture Library credited to Joan Marti but we (David Roach and I) subsequently changed the i.d. for these issues to Macabich. There were various reasons, not the least of which was that Marti's English agent told us that he had not drawn for the UK. There was also evidence from payments and elsewhere. Hans van Maar, who alerted me to the mistake, also believed that the work credited was by Macabich, and recently told me:

"When I was visiting IPC in 1985, I asked Brian [Smith, the assistant editor] for the names of the artists that, for me, stood out in the series. From another office he came back with an administration book with all the serial numbers, names of artists, titles of books and their reprints handwritten in it. I handed him the comics with the artists I admired and he wrote, referring to his files, the name in the original book. In doing so I have comics with the names of Zeccarra, Moliterni, D'Antonio and Macabich written in it. I remember Brian told me the fact that Macabich, unlike the others, was Spanish."

Hans sent me a scan of the book with Brian's handwritten note (above), which was written in a copy of Alarm! Alarm! (BPL 239).

All the evidence points away from the original credit... but we're now convinced that the evidence is wrong and the artist was indeed called Marti. I've now seen pages signed by J. Marti elsewhere (Pearson's Western Library) and we've tracked him down in various other papers, including a stint drawing Roy of the Rovers in Tiger.

However, just to add a twist to the story, the original credit was wrong. The J. Marti who drew for the war comics was Josep Marti i Capell and Jose has sent me some additional scans from the Spanish comic Casco de Acero of his work.

How could Macabich have been credited for Josep Marti's work? Well, Jorge Macabich was a Barcelona-based agent responsible for a great many pages of artwork for British comics, having hooked up with a former sub-editor at the Amalgamated Press, Barry Coker, to form Bardon [Barcelona-London] Art. So it is likely that the pages did come from Macabich and were credited to him in error.

The following are all credited to Macabich in the book and should be reassigned to Josep Marti:

BPL 87 Map of Treachery
BPL 89 No Higher Stakes
BPL 104 Face the Enemy
BPL 129 The Scorpion's Sting
BPL 204 Dingo Battalion
BPL 209 Kill All Commandos
BPL 239 Alarm! Alarm!
BPL 251 Vendetta
BPL 259 Flank Attack
WAS 12 Torpedo Run
WAS 27 Errand of Mercy
WAS 36 Colours Flying
WPL 138 Duffy's Kingdom
WPL 148 The Unexpected
WPL 273 Dangerous Contact
WPL 310 Burden of Guild
WPL 313 A Stubborn Streak
WPL 324 The Hated Breed
WPL 370 Sea Commando
WPL 382 War Drums

Just to confuse matters further, Macabich did contribute artwork to British comics in the 1950s.

And then there is Joan Martí, who is a painter. Jose translated a little biographical sketch from a book called Memorias Ilustradas by Fernando Fernandez which tells us that Marti graduated from Barcelona's School of Fine Arts and used the pen-name Petronius when he signed his work. Via the agency Selecciones Illustrades he worked for British romance comics, painting colour portraits of well known singers (Tommy Steel, Paul Anka, Cliff Richard) and drawing romance stories for the likes of Valentine, Marilyn and Roxy. He also produced illustrations for women's magazines and covers for romantic novels. In the mid-1970s, he was able to leave comics behind and concentrate on painting -- I believe this is his official website. Elsewhere on the net we learn that he was born in 1936 and is nowadays considered "one of the most important contemporary figurative artists in Spain in the last twenty-five years".

This is why I love British comics as a hobby. We learn something new every day...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

please give me your email address. I have somethng to add about this issue.
mbiadiu@ono.com