The last of a dying breed.
Born in Mexico City, Rafael Gallur, who signs his work under the pseudonym Garr, is one of the best know and most popular artists to come out of Mexico in the past few decades. Starting his career as an assistant to famed artist Zotico Fonseca, his first published work appeared in the newspaper, La Prensa. Rafael soon landed in the publishing house Edar, later known as Vid, illustrating numerous comic book titles like Mini Aventuras, MiniPoliciaras, and Mini Terror. (Mini being the digest sized format most used in Mexico) Gallur soon started to be noticed for his dynamic covers for the comic company Ejea, drawing the gangster title,Frank Klein, as well as Sangre India, and Poseion Diabolica. All the artist’s flashy and often over-the-top covers and pages he produced in the 1970s and 1980s were of many different genres, whether it be Westerns, horror, detective, adventure, erotic, or suspense. But my favorite work of this talented south of the border artist are his painted covers and lushly designed pages he produced for Mexico’s wrestling comic titles such as Blue Demon,Sensacionales de Luchas and Arena, just to name a few.
From the tremendous success of his wrestling career as Santo, Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta was approached in 1952 by editor Jose Guadaloupe Cruz to produce as series of comics based on the character. Using a technique he developed years before of collage and photo composition for his comic books, the Golden Age of Santo debuted on September 3, 1952. In the origin story we have a masked avenger helping the defenseless citizens of Santa Cruz from crime lords, when our hero is mortally wounded one night by a gangster, he struggles to return home to his young son. Santo requests the boy to carry on the legacy wearing the famous silver mask, as the tale jumps sixteen years in the future to see the new Santo avenge his father’s murder. Starting out fighting common criminals in the first issues, the series later took a weird turn in the 1960s as Santo now fought supernatural forces and weird villains. Sporting painted covers by Jose G. Cruz, there were plenty of witches, vampires, mummies, zombies, werewolves, and an occasional troll to fight our wrestling hero. Since Santo and the supporting characters were photographed, cut, and pasted onto the comic pages, while the weekly villains were usually drawn into place, it created a different “scrap book” effect that provided interesting compositions not seen in other comics.