Robert le Robot, by Tony Fernandez
'Robert le Robot', from Le Journal de Mickey #2713 (2004).

Tony Fernández has been a staff artist with Studio Comicup in Barcelona since 1982. He has provided artwork to German franchises like 'Knax', 'Quix!' and Rolf Kauka's 'Fix und Foxi', Disney comics for publishers in France and the Netherlands, and comics based on the 'Angry Birds' game franchise. He was also the artist of the non-Disney gag comic 'Robert Le Robot' (1989-2005) in Le Journal de Mickey. He nowadays serves as Comicup's art director, supervising and correcting artwork and training young artists.

Early life and career
Born in Barcelona in 1965, Antonio Fernández Pons grew up reading mostly Spanish comics, but he ended up fascinated by the Franco-Belgian school. Artists like André Franquin, Albert Uderzo, John Buscema and Carl Barks have been influences on his later artwork, which varries from realistic to cartoony. He got his education from Barcelona's Llotja School of Arts and Crafts. While still a student, he started out at Studio Comicup in 1982.

Fix und Foxi, by Tony Fernandez
'Überraschungs-Eiland' (Fix und Foxi #48, 1989).

Fix und Foxi
The Barcelona-based studio was founded by José Cánovas in 1980 to produce artwork for Rolf Kauka's Fix und Foxi magazine in Germany. Tony Fernández, at age 17, was assigned to work on these productions as an inker for pencil artists like Josep Nebot and José Antonio Gonzalez. He eventually drew stories of his own as well, which were in turn inked by José Antonio Pineda, Gina Carol or Humberto Tran. Between 1982 and 1994, Fernández worked mainly on stories with the two foxes 'Fix und Foxi' and the wolf 'Lupo', all in their 1970s cartoony redesign by Massimo Fecchi. Fernandez was also the artist of the riddle comic feature 'FIXOFLUX-Detektiv GmbH' (1991).

Commercial German comics
During the 1980s and first half of the 1990s, most of Comicup's activities were for the German market. Fernández alternated his work on 'Fix und Foxi' with drawing stories for KNAX, the advertising comic book for Germany's saving banks, written by Fred Kipka. The comics are set in a medieval-like community on an isolated island called KNAX, representing an idealized image of a bourgeois society. The kids Didi and Dodo are the main heroes, who are often confronted with a robbers gang known as the Fetzensteiner. Fernández furthermore provided artwork for comic stories with 'Sumsi', the mascot of the Raiffeisen bank goup. In later years, Fernández and studio colleague Jordi Alfonso provided most of the comics and illustrations to Quix!, the children's supplement of the German monthly Eltern family (launched in 1996).

Disney comics
From the mid 1980s on, Comicup established itself as one of the leading production studios of European Disney comics. The team has worked on assignments from Disney licensees in France (Hachette), The Netherlands (VNU/Sanoma) and Denmark (Egmont). With no extensive story production of his own, Tony Fernández still had a hand in nearly every story produced by the studio. As Comicup's art supervisor since 1990, he has been streamlining, correcting and inking artwork by other artists, while also training new talents. Among the artists he has worked with are José Antonio González, Carmen Pérez, Angel Rodriguez, Mario Cortés, Valentin Domenech, Marga Querol, Jordi Alfonso, Sergio Garrido and many more.

Tony served as co-penciller or inker for (new) graphic novel adaptations of Disney films such as 'Tarzan' (1999), 'Simba's Pride' (1999), 'The Tigger Movie' (2000), 'Robin Hood' (2000), 'The Emperor's New Groove' (2001), 'The Sword in the Stone' (2001) and 'Return To Neverland' (2002). He succeeded Francisco Figueras as the longtime inker of the 'Donald Duck' stories by Dutch fan favorite Mau Heymans, before Sonia Albert and Lorena Rufián Ruiz took over. The Dutch editors also requested Tony's services in cleaning and inking the pencilled pages by another one of their local artists, Sander Gulien. Tony's ability to adopt different styles has come in handy on several occasions. With no problem at all he has been able to fill in on panels or even entire pages in the styles of either Heymans or Gulien.


'Donald Duck' gag pencilled and inked by Tony in Mau Heymans style (H2012-196 from Donald Duck #52, 2012) ©Disney.

Robert Le Robot
Unlike the other European Disney magazines, the French Journal de Mickey also contains a variety of non-Disney comics. One of these was 'Robert le Robot' (1989-2005), a family gag comic about two kids and their "pet" robot. The gags were written by Gégé and Bélom and drawn for many years by Tony Fernández. Albin Michel released two book collections in 2004.

Other productions
Tony also served as character designer for many of the studio's other clients. Outside of the Disney universe, he helped Josep Nebot with his artwork of 'Karlijn, Catootje en de Ouders' (2011) for Sanoma's girls' magazine Tina. The comic is a spin-off of the popular Dutch family comic 'Jan, Jans en de Kinderen', originally created by Jan Kruis. In the same way, he participated in Comicup's production of comics with Hanna-Barbera's 'Tom & Jerry' for Egmont, Warner Bros' 'Looney Tunes' and Rovio Entertainment's 'Angry Birds' popular smartphone game franchise.


Donald Duck in Picasso style (published as a poster in the Netherlands in Donald Duck #14, 2019).

Work for Oscar Martin
In addition to his international work for Comicup, Tony Fernández has lended a helping hand to the local Spanish comics projects spearheaded by Oscar Martin (a.k.a. "The Machine"). With José González he drew the comics series 'Rip' (1997) for Martin's adult-oriented magazine Zona X. He was also the inker for Oscar Martin's post-apocalyptic funny animal comic 'Solo' (1999-2000), of which nine issues were self-published by "Oscar's Estudio".

"Inspired by" paintings
In his spare time, Tony Fernández likes to make paintings and drawings with Disney characters, based on classic or contemporary paintings, films, literary works, sculptures, photographs or pop culture phenomenons. Again showing the versatility of his drawing style, the spoofs have been a hit in exhibitions all over the world and on the artist's social media channels.

Tony is the father of character designer and comics artist Dany Fernández, who has also worked for Studio Comicup for a while.

www.comicup.net

Inducks entry

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