Manuel Vázquez Gallego was a Spanish comic artist and one of the main representatives of the Bruguera school. Born in Madrid, he began his professional career with 'Macana en el Oeste', a publication by Hispano Americana de Ediciones in 1946. He was present in Flechas y Palayos and its supplement Maravillas in the following year with his first serial, 'Mr. Lucky'. His typical sense of humor was influenced by that of the Spanish comedians Wenceslao Fernández Flórez and Enrique Jardiel Poncela, who were friends of the Vázquez family.
In late 1947 he moved to Barcelona, where he started his extensive tenure with the publishing house Bruguera, that lasted until the company's demise in 1986. He became one of the most popular artists of the periodical Pulgarcito with 'Las Hermanas Gilda', his first big series about two old ladies, that he created in 1949. Among his many other features for Pulgarcito are 'Mofeta', 'Jimmy Pintamonas', 'Gildo', 'Heliodoro Hipotenuso', 'Servulio Argamasa', 'Spoleta', 'Mr. Lucky', 'Septimio Canalete', 'Loli', 'Anacleto Pandehigo', 'Nicomedes Nibebedes', 'Fierrito, el Gaucho' and 'Don Venancio'.
Las Hermanas Gildas
Besides his work for Pulgarcito, he continued to work for other publishers. He drew seven installments in the collection 'Humor de Bolsillo' for Hispano Americana de Ediciones (1949-1950), the comic book 'La fuga de El Caimán' for Ibero-Americanas (1949), as well as the characters 'Juan Pérez' and 'El Pequeño Sultán' for Nicolas magazine by Ediciones Cliper (1951).
He was a regular in Bruguera's El DDT from the start in 1951 with new series like 'Azufrito', 'Currito Farola, er Niño e la Bola' and especially 'La Familia Cebolleta', another Vazquez classic about a typical Spanish family. Many of the other serials he created for the Bruguera magazines also featured characters that were a sample selection of the Spanish people, such as 'Angelito' (a.k.a. 'Gu-gú') and 'La Familia Gambérrez' from the DDT supplement Ven y Ven.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Vazquez remained a regular in Pulgarcito, becoming the star artist after the departure of Cifré and Peñarroya, together with Ibáñez. By 1965 he created another longrunning hit series, the James Bond parody 'Anacleto, agente secreto'. He also contributed to other Bruguera publications such as Can Can ('La Historia ésa, vista por Hollywood', 'La Osa Mayor, agencia teatral'), El Campeón ('La familia Churumbel', 1960), Din Dan (the semi-autobiographical 'Los cuentos de tío Vázquez', 1968) and Gran Pulgarcito ('Feliciano', 'Don Polito', 'La Abuelita Paz', 'Ali-Oli, vendedor oriental', 1969).
Manuel Vázquez kept working for a large audience and remained one of the most influential Spanish comic authors in the 1970s and 1980s. During this time, he also published in more adult-oriented magazines such as Can Can (1978), El Papus (1978), Demasssié (1980), Hara Kiri (1980), El Cuervo (1981) and El Puro (1982). For these publications he made erotic work that he signed Sappo, such as the serial 'Don Cornelio Ladilla y su señora María'.
When Bruguera went downhill during the 1980s, Vazquez's work began appearing in other children's magazines, such as Garibolo by Compañía General de Ediciones S.A. (the series 'Tita & Nic'), JAuJA by Ediciones Druida ('Vámonos al bingo', 'Los casos de Ana y Cleto') and the newspaper supplement El Pequeño País ('Así es mi vida'). He was also present in the relaunched Bruguera magazines TBO, Mortadelo and Super Mortadelo by Ediciones B.
Nita & Nic - El Caso del Enano de Voldavia (Garibolo 27, 1987)
In 1990, he received the Grand Prize of the Salon del Comic de Barcelona for his entire oeuvre. He spent his final years drawing for Makoki ('Historias verdes', 'Sábado, sabadete'), El Pequeño País ('Jurasy', 'Mónica') and Viñetas ('Las inefables aventuras de Vázquez, Agente del Fisco'). Vazquez additionally designed the sets for a 1991 stage show starring his characters, while also making topical cartoons for El Observador.
Manuel Vazquez passed away from a stroke in Barcelona in 1995. The anarchist and bohemian Vazquez managed to create a cloud of mysteries and legends surrounding his life. Not only in his comics self-parody 'Los Cuentos del tio Vázquez', but also in interviews. He had claimed that his grandparents were tailors to the Royal Family, he had been married seven times, and was in jail three times. Most of these claims have been refuted, but his life proved to be interesting enough to be the subject of a biopic in 2010, 'El gran Vázquez', directed by Óscar Aibar and starring Santiago Segura.