Revista de Toros by Jse Canovas
Revista de Toros

José Cánovas Martínez began his career in the Spanish alternative comic scene of the 1970s, but moved on to create one of the most productive art studios for mainstream and licensed comic properties in the 1980s. The Barcelona-based Studio Comicup is responsible for the artwork of many European Disney comics, but also for several other magazines from Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.

Born in 1949 in the Murcia area, he first made his mark as one of the creators and artists of the alternative comics review Troya in the 1970s. He later also published in Rambla and Trocha-Troya. His art, which consisted of mainly of film, fairy tale and superhero parodies, was additionally present in the weekly youth's paper Primeras Noticias, which was primarily distributed to schools. Working through studios like Estudios Ortega in the mid-1970s, he drew features like 'Candy Floss' for the British market.

Grupo Especial, by Canovas & Nieto (Bang! Troya #3-4, 1977)

In 1980, Canóvas founded the Studio Comicup in Barcelona to produce artwork for Rolf Kauka's 'Fix und Foxi' comics from Germany, through Peter Wiechmann and Fred Kipka's agency Comicon. Among the early affiliated artists were Carlos Grangel, Blas Gallego, Joaquín Cañizares, Miguel Fernández and the inkers David Buixader and Paco Pineda. The team quickly gained new clients from Germany, especially after they began an association with Kipkakomics in Munich in 1988. Since then, Comicup has produced series like 'Gespenster GmbH' and 'Punk-Piraten' for YPS, a comic magazine loosely based on Pif Gadget from France. The studios has also provided the artwork for Knax, the magazine for Germany's saving banks, and for magazines like Die Pillen and Quix (the children's supplement of Eltern Family).

Candy Floss by Jose Canovas
Candy Floss (1976)

However, Comicup eventually became mainly involved in producing artwork for Disney comics and pre-school material throughout Europe. Comicup hired many artists who had drawn Disney material through studios like Recreo, such as Cèsar Ferioli Pelaez, Marga Querol Manzano, José Miguel Tortajada Aguilar, Maximino Tortajada Aguilar and art director Miquel Pujol. Many others followed in the 1990s and 2000s. Comicup's artists have been hired by Mondadori in Italy, Hachette in France and Egmont in Denmark, but the largest part of the Disney comics production has been for the Dutch licencees VNU and later Sanoma. Comicup furthermore makes many illustrations for the pre-school productions of Egmont and Disney Italia.

La Bella Roncante by Jose Canovas
La Bella Roncante, by Jose Canovas

Also for Sanoma, Comicup has provided the artwork for series like 'Nick & Simon', 'Emme's Dierenwereld', 'Tina' and 'Jan, Jans & de Kinderen' for the Dutch girls' magazine Tina, and the back cover strip 'Professor Breinstein' for the scientific children's magazine Zo Zit Dat!. In addition, Comicup develops art for apps, character designs, children's book illustrations, multimedia productions, animation and advertisements. Among the many other licensed properties that Comicup has worked with are the Danish children's book series 'Rasmus Klump' (created by Carla and Vilhelm Hansen), 'Tom & Jerry', 'Star Wars', 'Looney Tunes', Robert van der Kroft's 'Sjors & Sjimmie' strip and 'Angry Birds'.

While Jose Canovas is still the owner, Comicup's current director is Oscar Cánovas, while Alejandro Cánovas and Isabel Cervelló Cánovas are project coordinators.

Ovni by Jose Canovas
Ovni, by Jose Canovas

Among the artists that have worked for Comicup throughout the years are Angel Rodriguez, Bernardo Serrat, Carlos Grangel, Carlos Guirado, Carmen Pérez, Cèsar Ferioli, Conrad Lazaro, Cristina Ruiz, Daniel Pérez, Dany Fernandez, David Buixader, Fernando Güell, Francisco Figueras, Francisco Rodriguez Peinado, Ignasi Majoral, Isaac Montoya Salamó, Isabel Penalva, Jaime Esteva, Javier Secaduras, Joan Espinach, Jordi Alfonso, José Antonio Caruana, José Antonio González, José Antonio Pineda, José Luis Lopez Guardia, José Avilés, José Cardona, José Maria Carreras, José Miguel Tortajada Aguilar, José Ramón Bernado, Josep Nebot, Julian Jordan, Lourdes Martin, Luis José Beltrán, Manolo Galdòn, Manuel Montero, Marga Querol Manzano, Mario Cortes, Maximino Tortajada Aguilar, Meritxell Andreu, Miguel Fernandez Martinez, Miquel Pujol, Oscar Martin, Paco Pineda, Pablo Reche, Paco Ruiz, Rafa Ruiz, Ruben MontoyaSantiago Barreira, Sergi Cardó, Sergio Garrido, Sónia AlbertTony Fernandez, Valentin Doménech, Xavier Vives Mateu.

Troya cover by Canovas

Series and books by José Cánovas in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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