Apolino Tarúgue, by Carlos Conti
'Apolino Taruguez' (DDT #158).

Carlos Conti Alcántara was a Spanish comic book artist and cartoonist. He is considered one of the five grandmasters of Editorial Bruguera in the 1950s; the other four artists being Guillermo Cifré, Eugenio Giner, José Peñarroya, and José Escobar. The team, along with Manuel Vázquez and Jorge, were driving forces behind Bruguera's children's magazine Pulgarcito and the humor magazine El DDT.

Early life and career
Born in 1916 in Barcelona, Conti worked as an insurance agent in the 1930s. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), he fought in the Republican army. He subsequently began his collaboration with the daily newspaper La Prensa, and also its gossip supplement ¡Hola!. He published in magazines like Ondas, Leyendas Infantiles, ABC and Blanco y Negro, before beginning his association with Editorial Bruguera as an editor, artist and writer of humorous articles.

Carioco, el Loco, by Carlos Conti

El Loco Carioco and other humor comics
Conti made his Bruguera debut in Pulgarcito in 1949 with the feature 'El loco Carioco', about a loony who regularly escapes from his asylum. From 1951, the comic was also published in other Bruguera magazines, like Super Pulgarcito and El DDT. Throughout his career Conti was a very prolific creator of gag panels, which were sometimes bunched in series like 'Ahí está Conti' and 'Contigrafías'.

His feature 'Apolino Tarúguez, hombre de negocios', about the despotic business man and his secretary, originally appeared in the magazine Cucu in 1944, but moved over to Bruguera's new humor magazine El DDT in 1951. For this magazine, Conti also created 'Mi tío Magdaleno' (1951) and 'La vida adormilada de Morfeo Pérez' (1952). The latter is considered one of the highlights of Bruguera's humor features, and deals with the exciting and surreal dreams of its otherwise rather dull protagonist. Conti also appeared in the non-Bruguera magazines TBO (Editorial Buigas) and El Coyote (Ediciones Cliper).

Morfeo Perez by Carlos Conti

In a quest for more artistic freedom, Conti, Cifré, Escobar, Giner and Peñarroya launched and self-managed the weekly Tío Vivo in 1957, a joint venture which lasted for one year. Conti served as art director, and was succeeded by Enrich, after which he continued his classic series in the Bruguera magazines Can Can, Ven y Ven and Din Dan. Among his later creations are 'Don Fisgón' (El Campéon de las Historietas, 1960), 'Don Alirón y la ciencia ficción' (El DDT, 1969) and 'El doctor No y su ayudante Sí' (Din Dan, 1970). Conti also served as art director of the satirical monthly Mata Ratos of Ibero Mundial de Ediciones from 1972 until 1974.

Don Alirón

Creaciones Editoriales
Carlos Conti was also the founder of the agency Creaciones Editoriales, which he had started to distribute his cartoons in the 1940s. In the end of that decade, it was bought by Bruguera, who turned it into an international production agency, managed by José Bielsa and Francisco Ortega Coloma, among other people. Luis Llorente turned it into one of the leading providers of comic scripts and art for British, Scandinavian and Dutch publishers in the 1960s. Creaciones Editoriales was dissolved in 2015.

Final years and death
Despite suffering from health problems, Conti continued to work until the very end. Among his final credits are writing the scripts of 'Felipe Gafe' and the first stories of the popular Spanish superhero comic 'Superlópez' for Juan López Fernández (a.k.a. Jan), both in Tio Vivo. Carlos Conti passed away at the age of 59 in 1975.

'Conti Grafias' (Gran Pulgarcito #54, 1970).

Series and books by Carlos Conti you can order today:


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