Thursday, December 9

Paraguayan Robin Wood, author of 7,000 comics, dies | Culture


Robin Wood, the author of Lagash's Nippur comic.
Robin Wood, the author of Lagash’s Nippur comic.Graciela Stanico-Wood

Millions of pages later, one of the world’s most prolific comic book writers, Robin Wood (Caazapá, 1944) died on Sunday, October 17, in front of the immense Paraná River in the city of Encarnación, in his native Paraguay. The father of comics Nippur de Lagash, There is and Gilgamesh He was 77 years old and had more than 50 dedicated to moving with writing. He also had a few battling “a long illness”, as reported by his wife and literary agent María Graciela Sténico-Wood.

Robin Wood’s life was as intense as his name suggests and as many of his philosophical characters: a Venetian nobleman victim of a betrayal in the 16th century, an exiled general who travels the most important kingdoms of antiquity or a karate magician in China at the beginning of the 20th century. Stories read by millions of Latin Americans, a few Spaniards and many Italians, when there was no Netflix and comics and graphic comics accumulated even in the bathroom.

It seems that Wood inherited the epic from his Australian grandparents, who came to Paraguay in 1900 to found a frustrated socialist utopia, New Australia, in the heart of the jungle, in the now almost extinct Atlantic Forest of the department of Caaguazú. Wood was born 44 years later in another colony founded by his relatives along with Scots and Irish in Caazapá, Colonia Cosme, about 200 kilometers from where he was buried last Monday surrounded by friends, family and admirers.

Son of a humble mother and an irresponsible father whom he did not meet until very late, Wood grew up listening to the family transoceanic odyssey told by his grandmother in English and also reading only in orphanages, when they could not take care of him anymore. As a teenager he managed to win a literary contest and have the editor of a Paraguayan newspaper pay him a trip to Buenos Aires, where he could fulfill his dream of living counting.

There he also starved and worked in a factory for some time and, as in a story, he met a cartoonist who asked him to write a story for him. He did, but did not know more.

Three months later, after being fired from the factory for being late again, and without money for the bus, he was walking in the rain when he saw his name written on the cover of a magazine hanging from a newsstand. He contacted the publisher. They had been looking for him for three months to give him a check that was worth five times what he earned in a month. He cashed it and binged at a restaurant.

He was the first of many, they told him that they would buy everything he wrote and that’s how it was. Wood became the backbone of the Argentine publishing house Columba and probably the most prolific writer of comics in the Spanish language. He wrote so many stories for the iconic Argentine magazines El Tony, Fantasía, D’artagnan or Tit-Bits that he had to use dozens of pseudonyms so that they were not all signed by him.

Between America, Europe and China

Wood spent his life writing in Buenos Aires, Barcelona, ​​Asunción, and Copenhagen, where he married for the first time and had four children. Shed fantasy from ships with a portable typewriter. I was traveling a lot. He went to China to write Dax, an adventure with martial arts, magic and science that takes place at the beginning of the 20th century and Italy to give life to There is, the Venetian nobleman enslaved after a betrayal at the beginning of the 16th century.

Created Jackaroe, Dennis Martin, My girlfriend and I, Pepe Sanchez and Savarese, among many others. His scathing, precise and thoughtful scripts, his deep, human and changeable characters inspired many adults, youth and children for four decades.

Umberto Eco was once asked: “Teacher; Do you read comics too? And he replied: “There is; leo There is by Robin Wood. He is a great writer ”. This was told by Julio Neveleff, Diego Accorsi and Leandro Paolini Somers in Robin Wood. A life of adventure ”.

And so began the relationship between the Italian and the Paraguayan. Wood decided to answer him in 2006 by drawing his face on the body of an adventurous detective monk, like the one in Eco’s novel. The name of the rose, the character’s name was Umberto and he accompanied Dago during 86 pages of adventures. Moved by the tribute, Eco contacted Robin and invited him to visit his home in Milan, where they drank and laughed.

“There are several generations of comic book readers who grew up reading his characters and without even knowing that he was Paraguayan, we really liked how he recounted adventures,” Paraguayan journalist and writer Andrés Colmán, who attended his funeral, told EL PAÍS. “Who knows how much of Robin Wood there is in everything I wrote. Goodbye, teacher ”, wrote Juan José Campanella on Twitter, among many other messages of condolences from the Argentine and Paraguayan governments, and from comic book faithful from around the world.

“He made true the dreams of several generations who dream of a different world,” said in a statement Kuatia (paper in Guaraní), the Association of Writers and Playwrights of Paraguay. For its part, the Society of Writers of Paraguay (SEP) assured that it is “the most read Paraguayan author worldwide.”

In fact, he won many of the most important awards in comics such as “Best Screenwriter in the World” at the Córdoba Biennial, Argentina, and the Yellow Kid Prize, awarded in Rome in 1997. His last recognition was last year: the Ricardo Barreiro Comic Award awarded by the Professional Association of Comic Book Writers of Spain “for a lifetime dedicated to comics and for its inclusive profile.”

Although he is no longer alive, his legacy is and now there are several publishers republishing his work in Spain, Italy, Argentina and Paraguay. And in Mexico they are filming an adaptation of one of their comics. So, summarizes Colmán, “there will be Robin Wood for a while.”

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