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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Carlos Prunes (1937-2017)

Spanish artist Carles Prunés Álvarez, who signed his work Carlos Prunes, died on 18 June 2017, aged 79. A prolific artist in the UK for twenty years, his work was little known as it appeared exclusively in romance and girls’ comics. His work appeared most regularly in Valentine, the teenage romance comic where strips were based around the titles of the popular hits of the day; Prunes produced over 100 stories for that paper alone between December 1957 and March 1966.

At the same time he also contributed to other teenage girls’ titles, including Roxy, Marilyn and Serenade. When these titles began to wane in popularity in the mid-1960s, Prunes – through his agents Selecciones Illustrades – began contributing to D.C. Thomson’s girls’ comics, Mandy and, most notably, Diana, where he drew ‘Princess Cookie’ (1969), ‘Little Yoo in The Castle of Secrets’ (1970), ‘The Pendant of Peril’ (1974) and various complete stories. He occasionally appeared Fleetway’s girls’ titles, including Tammy (‘Dog Paddle Doris’, 1972) and June & School Friend (‘Which One’s the Spy?’, 1972-73).

Prunes was notably the first Spanish artist to contribute to the Warren magazines. Eighteen months ahead of the arrival of a number of Josep Toutain’s best artists, Prunes had contacted Warren independently and contributed “To Be or Not to Be a Witch” to Creepy 30 in 1969, although it proved to be his only contribution, Prunes turning down offers of more work in order to concentrate on illustration.

Born in Barcelona on 7 December 1937, Prunes studies at the Escuela de Artes y Oficios at the Llotja de Mar palace where he earned the title of Professor of painting and drawing. At the age of 19 he became one of the earliest artists to find work via Josep Toutain’s Selecciones Illustrades agency in the UK.

While still working for the UK, he also contributed war, crime and spy stories to various Spanish comics published by Toray, including Rosas Blancas (1959), Susana (1959), Brigada Secreta (1966), Hazanas Belicas (1966-71), ‘El Cid’ to Novelas Graficas Clasicas (1966), ‘Noel Bertrand’ in Huron (1967-69), ‘Ali Bey’ and ‘El Gran Capitan’ to Hombres Famosos (1969), Aventuras (1969) and Relator de Guerra (1970).

Prunes’ other major market was Germany where he contributed to various titles published by Bastei, including horror and sword & sorcery comics Geister Geschichten, Gespenster Geschichten and Spuk Geschichten.

During the 1970s, he began concentrating of cover art (e.g. El Mundo Futuro) and illustrations for children’s books, although he continued to contribute comic strips, including Cowboy (1976), Servicio Federal (1980) and La Historieta (1980) for Ediciones Ursus and a biography of Miguel Ángel for Comic Biografías (1983). In 1992 he drew the story of Los Espanoles en la Florida, part of the "Stories of the New World" series produced by Planeta-DeAgostini for the Quinto Centenario State Society.

Increasingly, he dedicated himself to painting and retired from drawing comics. An exhibition of his paintings took place at the Centre Cívic del Parc – Sandaru in Barcelona in February 2017.

(* Photo from Memories Illustradas, via Tebeosfera)

1 comment:

Andrew said...

It would be great to see some of those Valentines from the early 60s reprinted, bound and sold - or even available as purchased scans from the Internet. I can't help thinking publishers are missing a trick by not making old magazines and comics from the 50s and 60s available as downloads through Kindle or whatever. It wouldn't take much effort to upload them once and then they are available forever.