The Spanish civil war and its postwar period remain two of the most important historical references of present-day Spain. Along with themes of strictly political nature addressing that period of time and with the negative aspects of the transition to democracy, themes of memory and postmemory (Hirsch 1992 / Liikanen 2015) appear. Both are closely related to – although not only to – the silencing of the victims of the mentioned historical periods. By this, I am referring to the ones defeated and to the next of kin of the disappeared.
Despite the famous affair of the so-called “gentleman’s agreement”, the “amnesia”, the “forgetfulness” or the “silence” of the democratic transition, a variety of narrative works have emerged in recent history; literary works that in various manners have the Civil War and Franco’s posterior dictatorship as topics or common threads in their narrations.
The consolidation of a new literary subgenre of hybrid characteristics combining the mode of narration found in novels and the specificities of the comic strip is a novelty in the context of Spanish literature. Although already canonized in the 1970’s in the United States (Eisner, 1978), the subgenre emerged in Spain during the end of the 1990’s. With the turn of the century, a new vision of the Spanish cartoon arrived: it was no longer fundamentally limited to the sphere of children, of satire, or of short comic strips in newspapers. With an expanded format, it began addressing the adult public.
In the selection of graphic novels that I am presenting, there are various narrative strategies and aesthetics elaborated from accounts from the Civil War, and its prolongation in the Second World War, by authors who were not protagonists in the real-life events themselves and whom I include within the wide concept of postmemory. The prevailing ideas in all the texts are as follows: the necessary recuperation of the memory of the Civil War, the presentation of the present as a result of the past and the importance of knowing the points of view of the defeated in order to update the cultural identities of the territorial sphere of the Spanish state
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