A taste of pure genius...

 ...by Manel Fontdevila.

Manel Fontdevila

This guy from Manresa is a well known genius. Everybody in Spain knows about El jueves magazine, with "la parejita S.A.", didn't anybody notice yet?...

La parejita S.A.  Manel Fontdevila

But it would be very unfair to stop there, not only because he became director of the magazine El Jueves, but because of his controversial departure from the magazine along with other great talents. That issue led him to create Orgullo y Satisfacción  (Pride and Satisfaction), a digital weekly magazine supported exclusively by its subscribers , which, if we analyze it...is not lacking merits at all...

Born in 1965, he has two awards at the Barcelona Comic Con, the best script in 1995 and the best comic book in 2004. He has published in Totem, El Vivero, Puta Mili, Glénat among many others, and we can't forget his classic humorous strips now on eldiario.es, and on "público" till the newspaper dissapeared.

Comic strip on "el diario.es"  Manel Fontdevila

I must admit that it has been a pleasure to be able to contact him, always collaborative not only to share his drawing of Blueberry, with a touch so "Fontdevila" that haunts you by itself, but also answering the questions of the traditional interview we submit to all the creators we analyze in this humble blog, that lets us know their creative perspective and their present and future projects.

- The Blueberry Encyclopaedia (TBE): What has been your biggest artistic influence and how has your way of drawing evolved ?

Manel: Truth is that I have always been influenced by a thousand things, some very consciously and others that I have noticed later. When I began to think that I wanted to devote myself to this, as an adolescent, I really liked Quino and other graphic humorists, and in general French-Belgian authors read at home: Franquin, Hergé, Goscinny and Morris. I liked Tintin very much. I never read superheroes, nor science fiction, nor terror. I did not connect with any realistic style until I read "Totem" magazine, which had stories of Pratt, Moebius and Muñoz and Sampayo, of which I was very fan. Also by the time comics of Crumb and Eisner came to my hands. Over the years I have come to know lots of other authors who have opened my eyes in many directions, but I am afraid my basis I formed it with all this.

Lucky Luke   Manel Fontdevila

- TBE:  Do you have any "thorn in the flesh", like working with a specific artist, or working for any new editorial, or in any professional field that you haven't explored yet?

Manel: I'd love to draw a long story in the style of Tardi. If I have a spine stuck, this is it. Periodically I try to remedy it, but it is complicated to do something like that at the same time as another thousand jobs. We shall see...

 Jacques Tardi

- TBE: What is your favorite drawing and coloring  technique?

Manel: I'm not much into techniques, I have always been a bit lame on this. I use pen or brush (but mainly pen) and ink, even on paper. I color with the computer, but avoid filters and effects as much as possible. I try to go to the essentials. In general I develop much more the  narrative parts, in the sketches and texts. Then, if everything is understood by the reader, I consider myself lucky.

- TBE: From your experience in the digital graphic magazine "Orgullo y Satisfacción", how is the digital format in comics or magazines, and how will it affect the survival of authors and industry

Manel: Well...considering we close on next December, I do not know if we are the right people to teach! In any case, the pdf is an unfriendly format, I think. You have to find a format that really works, this is the challenge. I think magazines have already lost meaning in our time and, to fix it, kiosks are a declining store. I am confident that the book format will still retain its meaning and usefulness for some time. In any case, I do not know if it is good to get busy translating paper formats to digital. Surely, whoever finds the formula for the future will be someone who has not read paper, who does not have the need to translate this format and will be able to create something totally new. But...who knows. Not me, for sure.

Orgullo y satisfacción   Manel Fontdevila

- TBE: After your vast experience in publications, at what point in your long career did you feel more comfortable working?

Manel: In El Jueves magazine, when it was committed to his readers and I had my brain in a good shape, I worked happy for a long time.

- TBE: What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?

Manel: On one hand I have my work as a graphic humorist, that I have been doing for many years and I would like to alternate with something else, although as  the market is right now, it seems complicated. Then, because of that, I try to write some long story that works as a graphic novel, but writing novels, graphic or not, is a trade in which I go a little groping and perhaps too slowly. The truth is that before the closure this December of Orgullo y Satisfacción, I am kinda trying to see where I shot later. Maybe the moment of that "Tardi styled" story has come, who knows .....

- TBE: What memory / relationship / influence do you have with Jean Giraud and his work?

Manel: At the age of thirteen, I clearly remember reading Totem and discovering Moebius, and looking for Moebius first in each new number that came out. I still remember many stories from that time, besides "Arzak" of course: "The long Tomorrow", which was my favorite, or "White Nightmare", "Ballad", "Scale in Pharagonescia", a lot until arriving at the Hermetic Garage. It took me a while to tie it up with  blueberry, which gave me some laziness (like anything with a very realistic style). Finally, I bought some albums. And well, there was another flash, the two books of the Lost dutchman mine and the whole saga that begins in Chihuaua Pearl are comics that I have read countless times. Still, it was the Moebius slope that filled my batteries. The last stage of the Incal and, above all, in the era of "Upon a star", I almost gave it for lost, its mystical stories of new age philosophies made me very nervous, and I disconnected from his production for a few years. One day I was lucky to see the exhibition they dedicated to him in Angouleme and it was a new crush that forced me to recover the lost years and not to stop followig him until he left us. Anyway, in the first eighties I spent an era of drawing with many lines and giving surrealistic twists to everything I drew. Then one becomes aware of its possibilities and in the end, Moebius is perfection, no one will ever draw so well and with such a personality. Because then there is the personality, the background of the artist. It is endless...

TBE: Genius as only a few could be, we thank you for your cordial collaboration and we wish you lots of luck in your projects, which are for sure to reach great acceptance, as it can not be otherwise.