Spain Rodriguez died yesterday after a six year battle with cancer. He was 72. Rodriguez was one of the major underground comics artists, of course, but he created or illustrated many other kinds of work from Sherlock Holmes to personal stories of “What the Fifties Were Really Like”.
His work was political, from a proletarian perspective. He was pleased to work in a mass medium that was disdained as lowbrow. When he knew he was dying, Rodriguez said, “I’ve enjoyed immensely being a Zap artist. I’ve enjoyed being an underground cartoonist. I generally wish everybody well.”
Some of his political comics include: The Dark Hotel about an attempted American coup in the 1930s, a biography of Che Guevara , and stories about The Long War aka the War On Terrorism.
I particularly liked his work based on the great struggle between fascism and communism in the twentieth century. His direct, thick lines were well suited for depicting the industrial scale combat of the 1940s. Although a collection of these strips was proposed once or twice, it never was published and that’s too bad.
Much of Spain Rodriguez’ work, such as The Dark Hotel , is out of print. His most recent book in print is Crusin’ With The Hound: The Life And Times Of Fred Toote , a series of stories from the 1950s.
Dies Irae – “One man against the American empire.”