Thursday, November 19, 2009

Latino/Spanish Artists at Charlton: Demetrio (1) - Teen Confessions 86

Demetrio Sanchez Gomez, the multi-talented Spanish artist, produced a small but beautiful collection of romance stories for Charlton Comics in the 1970's. The style he developed for these particular pieces looks similar to Jim Steranko's single romance story in Marvel's Our Love Story #5 (June 1970), but actually remains true to a romance comic art tradition that had been developing amongst Spanish artists during the 1960s. This is a re-posting of this story that I previously put in my old Romance Comics Reading Room on what is now

Marry Me Soon Darling (June 1974) is about a rich girl, Kathy Parker, who has recently broken up with her fiancee and who meets a roaming biker named Jonnie Love.

Their first encounter takes place at a lake where Jonnie stops to cool off. Kathy's lonely and wistful. There's mutual attraction.
Kathy's been thinking of leaving home. Jonnie warns her to tread carefully - he's left home himself, and regretted it. She invites him to her house for dinner, as he has no fixed abode.

Kathy's parents are very accommodating, and invite Jonnie to stay. The young couple spend time getting to know each other and it comes out that Kathy recently split with her boyfriend because they apparently weren't right for each other.

Jonnie reciprocates with Kathy's parents by doing some chores. But with couples coming over in the evening, the scene is set for a change of mood.

After playing tennis with Kathy at the club, Jonnie accidentally brushes the shoulder of Kathy's ex- as he's walking past. The ex- responds aggressively despite Jonnie's apology, and punches Jonnie in the face. This disproportionate reaction suggests the ex-boyfriend is nursing a lot of pent up anger and frustration at something, but we are not told what. Jonnie on the other hand is obviously in control of himself, and takes the assault rather calmly as it turns out.

Things look like they're moving towards a proposal but Kathy's mother intuitively senses her daughter's feelings for Jonnie aren't as strong as they had been for her former fiancee, Edgar. Nevertheless, she likes Jonnie, and sees his good qualities, despite her husband's reservations about him being a drifter.

Kathy and Jonnie get close at the party, but then she hesitates, and he senses something isn't quite right. Meanwhile Kathy's ex-, Edgar, turns up at the door, not to crash the party, but to straighten things out with Kathy's father over why he had walked out on his daughter. We are not privileged to this explanation, but Mr. Parker is satisfied that Edgar had not been the villain it had previously appeared.

Jonnie knows something is up with Kathy, and decides to consult her parents. His suspicions confirmed, he orchestrates a meeting between Kathy and Edgar, watching from a distance to see their reactions to each other. Convinced that bringing them back together was the right thing for Kathy, he rides out of her life, sacrificing his own chance at happiness to facilitate hers.

My concern for Kathy would be that Edgar obviously has a really short fuse. Whatever his reason was for leaving Kathy, we know from Mrs. Parker that Edgar had treated her daughter terribly, and that she was glad the engagement was broken off. We also saw that Edgar punched Johnny out over nothing. One has to conclude that there is a danger Kathy may be subjected to domestic violence in the future.

The story has weaknesses in that there are too many unexplained events and even unlikely scenarios. But it does identify a certain kind of person (Jonnie) who is aware enough, and caring enough, to see where another person is at and to act unselfishly for the benefit of the other. The unselfish Jonnie was probably a rare breed back in the 70s, but would likely be extinct in today's narcissistic, self-obsessed society. The situation in the story fits an early 70s upper middle class approach to life, both on the part of the parents and the daughter. It's Demetrio's art that makes this story stand out. There are no psychedelic backgrounds in this one, but it has a nice period feel to it, especially with the clothing and hairstyle fashions.


  1. Hola soy un fan absoluto de Steranko y de su obra, totalmente innovadora y maravillosa.
    Por eso su cómic Marvel's Our Love Story #5 (June 1970) es uno de mis favoritos también.
    Pero, Demetrio es un autor español, que pertenece a una generación de autores catalanes que trabajaban juntos en un estudio, haciendo comics de romance para Inglaterra desde finales de los años 50 y su estilo esta influido por el de estos dibujantes. No por Steranko.
    Muchos de estos dibujantes después de años haciendo comics románticos pasaron a hacer cómics de terror para el mercado de USA, especialmente desde Warren Magazines. Autores como Pepe Gonzalez(Vampirella), Esteban Maroto, José María Beá, Luis García, y un largo etcetera.
    Autores de comics españoles y magnificos!
    Aquí te dejo unos links.

    Google traslation
    Hello I am an absolute fan of Steranko and his work, completely innovative and wonderful.
    Therefore his Marvel comic's Our Love Story # 5 (June 1970) is one of my favorites as well.
    But, Demetrius is a Spanish author, who belongs to a generation of Catalan artists working together in a studio, doing romance comics for England since the late 50s and his style is influenced by these artists. Not by Steranko.
    Many of these artists doing comics after years spent doing romantic horror comics for the U.S. market, especially since Warren Magazines. Authors such as Pepe Gonzalez (Vampirella), Esteban Maroto, Jose Maria Bea, Luis Garcia and a long etcetera.
    Spanish comic book author and magnificent!
    Here I leave some links.

  2. Agu - Thank you so much for all these links. I see exactly what you mean about the Catalan style. Demetrio's work in these Charlton stories is obviously an example of it. So much for my theory that he was influenced by Steranko! It was really the psychedelic backgrounds that he puts in some of his panels that made me think "Steranko", but if there is any influence there at all it would only be that. I'd like to get hold of some of those comics that are shown in those links. I do have a few British romance comics, and some of them look to me like they are drawn by Spanish artists. I'm scanning one to post - it is very long so it will take some time to finish - but maybe you could take a look at it for me when I am done and see if you can identify the artist. It is not signed. Also, when I get the opportunity, I will go back through my Demetrio posts and correct my statements about Steranko. I have been trying for several years to find information about Demetrio without much success, so I am very grateful that you took the time to post here.

    Agu - muchísimas gracias por todos estos vínculos. Veo exactamente lo que quiere decir acerca del estilo Catalán. Demetrio en estas Charlton historias es obviamente un ejemplo de ello. Tanto para mi teoría de que fue influenciado por Steranko! En realidad, era la psicodelia antecedentes que él pone en algunos de sus paneles que me hizo pensar "Steranko", pero si hay alguna influencia en todos sólo sería que. Me gustaría para apoderarse de algunas de las historietas que aparecen en esos vínculos. Yo tengo unos pocos Británicos romance comics, y algunos de ellos mirar a mí como son arrastrados por artistas españoles. Soy un barrido a post - es muy largo para que tomará algún tiempo para terminar, pero quizá podría tomar un vistazo para mí cuando estoy hecho y ver si puede identificar el artista. No es firmado. También, cuando me da la oportunidad, voy a volver a través de mi Demetrio puestos y corregir mis declaraciones sobre Steranko. He estado tratando durante varios años para encontrar información sobre Demetrio sin mucho éxito, así que estoy muy agradecido de que usted tomó el tiempo para enviar aquí.