José Casanovas

Catalan artist José Casanovas (1934 – 2009) was well-known and well-loved by lots of readers, appearing as he did in many British comics over a number of decades. His detailed, stylish, and above all fun art was distinctive and he was credited in various publications, so it is easy to pull together quite a long list of his work (though no doubt still incomplete). Many British readers think of him as a 2000AD artist – that is how I first came across his name myself – and therefore perhaps as an SF artist primarily. If you count up the stories he drew and the titles he appeared in, though, by far the majority of his work seems to be for the girls’ comics market.

The list below has been pulled together with much reference to the Catawiki database in order to fill out the non-Jinty stories, so many thanks to the contributors to that site. (I have included the numbers of episodes listed for each story as per Catawiki, to emphasize how prolific he was. I am fairly sure the records on that site are not complete but it gives a good impression of his work. Of course, please do send in further information if you have it!)

  • Tammy
    • Cinderella Spiteful (1971-72) – 20 episodes
    • Two-Faced Teesha (1973-74) – 10 episodes
    • Ella on Easy Street (1974) – 8 episodes
    • The Town Without Telly (1974) – 12 episodes
    • Wars of the Roses (1975-76) – 11 episodes
    • Babe at St Woods (1976-77) – 39 episodes (you can see some sample pages here)
    • Down To Earth Blairs (1977-78) – 25 episodes
    • Running Rosie Lee (1980) – 10 episodes
    • Tomorrow Town (1982) – 10 episodes
  • Sandie
    • The Nine Lives of Nat the Cat (1972-73) – 38 episodes
  • Princess Tina & Penelope
    • Have-A-Go Jo (1970) – 25 episodes
  • Jinty
  • Lindy
    • Sophie’s Secret Squeezy (1975) – 7 episodes
  • Penny
    • Pickle, Where Are You? (1979) – 10 episodes

Mistyfan has recently done a post about “Sue’s Daily Dozen” in which she made the point that Casanovas is known for science fiction. There is one science fiction story done by him in a girls’ comic, namely Tammy‘s “Tomorrow Town”, which I take the opportunity to reprint here as being a piece of art that would otherwise not be likely to get a showing on this Jinty-specific blog.

Tomorrow Town pg 1

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Following Casanovas’ death in 2009, Steve Holland wrote an obituary Bear Alley post here, drawing also on the Spanish-language blog Tebeosfera’s post here. (Do follow this last link to see some lovely artwork from an adaptation of Pollyanna done for the local market.) There was also an interesting comment on 2000AD fan blog the Prog Slog about Casanovas’ work in the boys’ science fiction comics market. He drew well-liked characters Max Normal (some Max Normal art by Casanovas can be seen here) and Sam Slade Robo-Hunter (after Ian Gibson had stopped drawing this latter character). He also drew a number of one-off stories in 2000AD, and a story in Starlord, and people characterise him as a 2000AD artist therefore. The Prog Slog comment here clarifies that: “Casanovas early work for 2000AD, Starlord etc. was sporadic. First appearance was a ‘Future Shock’ in Prog 70 (24 June 1978) a 1.5 pager called ‘Many Hands’. “Good morning Sheldon, I love you” was his next, a six page future shock style one-off written by John Wagner in Starlord 11 (22 July 1978). He drew another one-off Wagner [story] in Starlord 16. There’s a gap then until Progs 148 & 149 (January 1980) where he does a 2-part Ro-Jaws Robo-Tale. He then draws the 11 page Mugger’s Mile by Alan Grant, the first ever Max Normal strip (“The Pinstripe Freak (He’s Dredd’s informer)”) in the first Judge Dredd annual (1981). He goes on to draw more Future Shocks in Prog 220, 241 and 245, another Max Normal in the 1982 JD annual, and again in JD 1983 annual. In the 1982 Sci-Fi Special he draws his first Dredd proper, a 10 pager by Wagner – The Tower of Babel. His first Dredd in the weekly is the excellent “Game Show Show” 2 parter in 278/279, August 1982, Wagner again. He did the second ever ‘Time Twister’ in Prog 295, a 4 pager called Ultimate Video. And that’s as far as my data goes for now, by Prog 300 he’d done 77.5 pages: 32.5 in the weeklies, 10 in specials, 23 in annuals and 12 in Starlord. According to ‘Barney’ online (http://www.2000ad.org) his last work was in Prog 822 (Feb 1993), Robo-Hunter”. The tally of his pages for 2000AD and the like must therefore surely be far outnumbered by the 90+ episodes of his run on Dora Dogsbody in Jinty alone!

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12 thoughts on “José Casanovas

  1. Casanovas also drew Inky for Bunty and Maxie’s Taxi for Mandy. There are probably more DCT stories that Casanovas drew.

    1. Thanks for this – yes, a very prolific artist he must have been! I wonder how many titles he was working for at a time? The Dora stories are ones he could have drawn in batches as they are not in any specific sequence, so he could have ‘got ahead of himself’ on that and made time to work on other stories, but in any case he must have drawn at a fair speed to manage everything that we see he drew.

  2. ‘Nat the cat’ from Sandie was actually called ‘The nine lives of Nat the Cat’. Each life is being represented by one of his homes. After each story ends, and he has to find a new home, Nat says something like: “So this was my third life. I wonder what the fourth will have in store for me”.
    It ran from September 1972 to mid 1973, and had in total 38 episodes.

  3. I have added a couple more – “Spot of Trouble”, a complete Jinty story, and “Sophie’s Secret Squeezy” from Lindy. I don’t know how many episodes that one had.

    1. I got my copies of Lindy out today, and ‘Sophie’s secret squeezy’ had seven episodes.
      I’ve made a typo in my earlier post about the story ‘Pickles, where are you?’ It must be ‘Pickle, where are you?’

  4. Looking at the list above, it’s clear he often must have been working on at least two stories at a time.
    It’s interesting to see that it seems he didn’t do any work for British comics in 1979. Did he take a year off, was he not able to work, or did he have project in other countries? We’ll probably never know.

  5. Casanovas also drew “Too Good to Eat” from the short-lived “Scream!”, in part 2 of that issue.

  6. I read one yesterday that is not on this list: ‘Pickles, where are you?’ from Penny (1979, 10 episodes). An okay story, in the same style as ‘The nine lives of Nat the Cat’ and ‘Darkening journey’: the many adventures of a pet, trying to find its/a home.
    With this one from 1979 we’ve got at least one story a year by Casanovas between 1970 and 1982.

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