02.03.15 > 19.04.15

El Mesías, Wauter Mannaert and Mark Bellido

Ballon Media Publishers

Even though Wauter Mannaert’s career as a comic strip artist is certainly still in its infancy, we can already say that El Mesías is a first magnum opus.  It is impressive, not particularly in terms of number of pages, but rather in terms of the quality of the book. With his previous work Mannaert has already proven that he is a master at creating an ambiance. After so evocatively and successfully describing America in the 1930s (Ondergronds) [Underground] and contemporary Brussels (Brussels in Shorts and the comic strip reports for Brussel Deze Week [Brussels This Week]), he has very convincingly depicted Spain in the grip of the economic crisis. The powerful script, produced by Spanish author Mark Bellido, who in El Mesías has covered a topic that is very dear to him, has certainly contributed to this. The script, combined with Wauter Mannaert’s magnificent drawings, has culminated in a top quality graphic novel that deserves its rightful place in the Comics Art Museum Gallery.

Willem De Graeve, Comics Art Museum.

El Mesías

The collapse of the Spanish real estate bubble causes Jesús Fernandez to lose everything. With all the necessary sense of theatrics, he tries to hang himself but destiny decides otherwise. He is saved and he is subsequently evicted by a bailiff. In desperation he wanders around until he hears about Marinaleda, a utopian village which seems to be completely unaffected by the economic crisis. There the charismatic mayor leads the village in a social battle against capitalism and Jesús joins in wholeheartedly. However, there is also a Judas rearing his head in the village. There is a slumbering thought of treason and this utopian society is slowly starting to crumble. Will Jesús be able to turn the tide?

Wauter Mannaert is a full-time comic strip artist living in Brussels. El Mesías is his second graphic novel. Since his debut (Ondergronds, 2010), he has published a number of short stories, and he works as a cartoonist, illustrator and comic strip reporter for Brussel Deze Week. He and Mark Bellido share a fascination for utopian societies, for stories that criticise society, and for satire. They both head off to Marinaleda to go and gain inspiration for El Mesías.

Author, journalist and photographer Mark Bellido is a story-teller who gleans his inspiration from his own personal experiences. For example, he is working on a graphic novel about his time as a bodyguard in Pamplona, where he protected politicians against ETA. In order to write El Mesías, he also explored the world of social activists in Somonte, an occupied plot of farming land in Andalucia, by living among them for six months. Besides the epic story of El Mesías, this also supplied material for his more personal comic strip report of Somonte.

Ballon Media

Tags : Museum / Strip / Exhibition / Publication


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