Lorna - El Cementerio de Marfil Rojo

Alfonso Azpiri was a Spanish comics artist and illustrator who worked mainly on adult comics in a comical style. Most of his works featured lavishly elegant and sensual females, who starred in erotic adventures in science-fiction, fantasy and horror settings. His best-known creation in this genre was the sensual space adventurer 'Lorna' (1979-2010), who travels the galaxy with her droid. Another popular feature by Azpiri was the children's comic 'Mot' (1988-1996), which was also turned into a cartoon series. Alfonso Azpiri was furthermore a productive illustrator for software products, video games and the movie industry. His work was published in Spain, the UK, Italy, the USA, France and other countries.

Alpha Cosmos by Alfonso Azpiri
Alpha Cosmos

Alfonso Azpiri Mejía was born in 1947 into a family of musicians. He initially followed this tradition, studying the piano and performing with the group Doble Sentido, but eventually chose for another artistic direction. He presented his work to the publishing house Doncel, and got his first comics stories published in Trinca magazine from June 1971. His first contribution was an adaptation of the Emilio Salgari story 'Dos fugitivos en Malasia' (1971-1972) in cooperation with scriptwriter Fernando Sesén. Up until the end of Trinca's run in 1973, he provided the magazine with short stories in cooperation with writers like Carlos Sainz Cidoncha and Carlos Buiza, which were collected in the book 'Alpha Cosmos' in 1975. These early works were heavily influenced by Esteban Maroto, Jeff Jones, Alberto Breccia and especially Víctor de la Fuente.


Las Noches de Frankenstein

By 1973 he began producing artwork for titles like 'Terror Blu', 'Il Vampiro', and 'I Notturni', which were published by Renzo Barbieri's Elvipress/Ediperiodici in Italy. These 240 page pulp comic books dealt mostly with voluptuous women getting involved with werewolves, mummies, vampires and other monsters. He continued to create work in the same vein for Muerde, a comic book published by Chiqui de la Fuente's label J.F. Ediciones in 1976. Azpiri contributed the stories 'Un Vampiro en mi Cama', 'Candhi', 'Las Noches de Frankenstein' and 'La Venganza de Tocatet-Amen' with A.C. Lobo, and 'La Cosa del Lago' by himself. Also in 1976, he began making short science-fiction stories for the children's magazine El Acordeón by Editorial Esco. He furthermore worked as a cartoonist for satirical magazines and served as a colorist for Forges' collections about the history of Spain. Between 1978 and 1980 Azpiri had a stint on the British market with short stories in the comic books Starlord and Tornado by IPC. He also continued 'Black Hawk' (1979-1980), about an intergalactic gladiator, which was originally created by Gerry Finley-Day.


Zephyd

Together with writer Sainz Cidoncha, he was present in the first issues of Cimoc magazine, by then published by Riego Ediciones. They serialized the sword & sorcery series 'Zephyd' (1978), which was collected in book format by the same publisher in 1980. At this point, the artist had dropped his influences from Victor de la Fuente, and established his own expressive style. His best-known creation, 'Lorna y su Robot Lascivo' ("Lorna and her lascivious robot"), made its debut in the erotic magazine Mastia in 1979. The early stories were written by Sainz Cidoncha, but Azpiri eventually continued the series on his own. The main character was Lorna, a sexy space heroine in the tradition of Jean-Claude Forest's 'Barbarella', who wanders through the galaxy to battle the crime lord Mouse. She is accompanied by the droid ADL, whose main task is to satisfy Lorna whenever there are no human men, women or suitable aliens available. The feature eventually found a base at Norma Editorial, who published her sensual space adventures under the title 'Lorna y su Robot' in the magazines Humor a Tope and Cimoc from 1983. 'Lorna' was collected in the books 'Lorna y su robot' (1981), 'Las nuevas aventuras de Lorna y su robot' (1984) and 'Druuna, Lorna Mouse Club' (1996) by Norma Editorial. Norma Editorial also became Azpiri's agent for syndication abroad, including to prestigious international magazines like Penthouse and Heavy Metal.


Lorna y su robot

Azpiri and Sainz Cidoncha continued their collaboration with the sci-fi saga 'Supervivientes del pasado' ("Survivors of the past"), which ran in Delta magazine in 1982. Around the same period, he began an association with publisher Josep Toutain. He made a series of short stories in cooperatinon with Buiza and Lorenzo Díaz for Toutain's magazine 1984 and its follow-up Zona 84, which were collected in the books 'Pesadillas' (1985) and 'Pesadillas II: Otros sueños' (1991). In the early 1980s, Azpiri also contributed to the collective comic 'El Cómic Vivo' in Comix Internacional. Alfonso Azpiri's next major creation commenced publication in El Pequeño País, the children's supplement of the newspaper El País, in 1988. Written by Nacho, the series 'Mot' (1988-1996) is about a little boy called Leo, who is plagued by a friendly but ponderous and destructive monster called Mot. This creature from the Monstrous Organicus Telluricus family has the ability to teleport himself from one universe or time period to another, but fails do this rather accurately. Azpiri and Nacho created six long adventures with Leo and Mot. Five of these were collected in book format by El País from 1989 to 1993.

Mot by Alfonso Azpiri

With 'El Bosque de Lump' ("The Lump Forest", 1993-1996), Azpiri created an additional children's series for El Pequeño País. He remained active in the erotic genre by creating the album 'Reflejos' (Norma, 1994) with writer Juan Antonio de Blas, and contributing several stories of the collective feature 'Bethlehem Steele' to Penthouse Comix. Also notable is his team-up with Carlos Giménez, with whom he adapted three Jack London stories to comics format. These were collected in the book 'Cementerio Estelar' (Norma, 2005). Together with Ricardo Esteban Plaza, the editor of Dibbuks, Azpiri compiled two books with older material from Penthouse Comix. 'Xecuencias' (2006) contained short erotic humor strips, and 'Desde el Infierno' (2007) collected the sexy humor stories with the demon Sally. 'Sally Gotic' continued her adventures in Penthouse Comix from 2009.


La Gran Medicina, an adaptation of the Jack London story 'Lost Face' (from: Cementerio Estelar)

Norma Editorial launched Colección Azpiri in 1998, a collection completely devoted to the work of this author. It contains both compilations and reissues of older material, but also new creations. The series commenced with the 'Lorna' volumes 'Lorna Leviatan' (1998) and 'Lorna y su robot' (1999), and then continued with 'Sueños Húmedos' ("Wet Dreams", 1999), a collection of independent short stories. A collection of Azpiri's illustrations for the US magazine Heavy Metal and Penthouse was published under the title 'Sensations, El Arte de Azpiri' in 2001. The collection was continued by more 'Lorna' volumes: 'El Arka' (2001), 'Mouse Club' (2003), 'El Ojo De Dart-An-Gor' (2003), 'Sombras Perdidas' (2005) and 'Las Torres Negras' (2006). These were alternated by 'Despertares, Pesadillas III' (2003), a new collection of short stories, the Arabian Nights inspired 'Demon Winds' (script by Lovern Kindzierski, 2005) and the heroic fantasy book 'Los Burdeles De Ad-Dara' (2008). Alfonso Azpiri's professional career with Norma Editorial ended in 2008. Since then, Planeta DeAgostini has released complete collections of both 'Mot' (two volumes, 2008) and 'Lorna' (2009). In 2010, Planeta DeAgostini also released the new 'Lorna' story 'El Cementerio de Marfil Rojo', which Azpiri made in cooperation with writer Miguel Ángel Vivas.


Xecuencias

Azpiri combined his comic book work of the 1980s and 1990s with a fruitful additional career in the videogame and movie industry. Together with the Argentine artist Juan Giménez, he designed the costumes for the Fernando Colomo movie 'El Caballero del Dragón' ('Star Knight', 1985). He additionally made interior and cover art for video games and software packages by Dinamic Software, Topo Soft and Opera Soft, among other companies. About 200 of his illustrations for these products were collected in the book 'Spectrum' (2009). These collaborations also resulted in video game adaptations of his comic book creations 'Mot' (Opera Soft, 1989) and 'Lorna' (Topo Soft, 1990). Other notable work in the gaming industry were his designs for the erotic game 'La Colmena' by Opera Soft in 1992. 'Mot' was furthermore adapted into an animated TV series of 26 episodes of 30 minutes each in France, which was originally broadcast on Canal + in 1996 and 1997. 'El Muro', a short film based on one of Azpiri's stories from 'Pesadillas II: Otros sueños' was released in 2009. Azpiri furthermore did the poster art for the film 'Rojo Sangre' (2004) by Christian Molina.

Alfonso Azpiri has also made illustrations for adenture books, including the 'Zack Galaxy' series by Jordi Sierra i Fabra for Alfaguara (1996-1998). The artist passed away on 18 August 2017.


Xecuencias

Alfonso Azpiri on tebeosfera.com

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