DID YOU KNOW SOME SPANISH CELEBS HAVE FUNNY CAMEOS IN AMERICAN COMICS?
By Jöse Sénder, nerd
You may have noticed there’s a lot of Spanish and Catalan artists working for Marvel and DC. There’s very good talent in their home countries, but a scant and poor industry, which takes them to move to the USA and work there. From the big classics such as Carlos Pacheco, Pasqual Ferry or Salvador Larroca to the new wave of big pencils such as David Márquez (Defenders), Daniel Acuña (Avengers), Natacha Bustos (Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur), Ibán Coello (Deadpool), Víctor Ibáñez (X-Men), Pepe Larraz (Uncanny Avengers), David Aja (Hawkeye) and the list goes on and on.
But what you might not know is that many of them have a dark hobby… they love to include small cameos of Spanish celebrities in their comics, which are not detected by the American readers, but when the comics get to this side of the ocean we laugh out loud with it –come on, let’s be honest, if you were working for the comic industry of a foreign country, you’d sure love to include some cameo that only your fellow citizens could catch… am I right?
Well, enough with the introduction, let’s go see some of the funniest cameos:
1.CHIQUITO DE LA CALZADA.
Chiquito was a humourist who made a big impact during the 90s with his absurdly long jokes and his totally made up language, impossible to translate to English –because it barely was Spanish. He was a big hit and never forgotten. Catalan artist Pere Pérez decided to include it as a recurring extra in the Superman comics, a worker of the Daily Planet –he’s that bald man with long hair in the back of his head and extremely tacky shirts who usually appears in the background of the office. He also included a couple of cops named Grijander and Gromenauer, two made up words that Chiquito used to say in his performances.
Pérez is not the only artist to pay homage to the great –and weird– Chiquito. David López and Álvaro López did it too, turning him into Catwoman’s driver.
They also included two other celebrities in a Batgirl comic, the Spanish TV host Gran Wyoming and the Catalan humourist Andreu Buenafuente.
In the pages of Captain America, Daniel Acuña slipped a cameo of an infamous alt-right-related journalist named Francisco Marhuenda –whose name was changed to Frank Marhuender. He was actually portrayed as a creepy TV reporter with hostile views about anyone he considers “enemies of the state”. Good call.
The former journalist and current Queen of Spain –yes, we still have a monarchy in the 21st century, and if you ask, most of us are embarrassed of what the rest of the world may think about it– also appeared in American comics a couple times. On the left, her appearance in Catwoman by David López. On the right, she also appeared in New Universal by Salvador Larroca.
Well, this is a tricky one. It was actually not designed by a Spanish artist, but by Mike Mayhew, from New Zealand –literally, the opposite side of the world. But the thing is, in the Pulse special of the House of M saga, Mayhew wanted to represent Magneto as a royal ruler, so he looked for pictures of European kings and decided to copy the style and looks of the former Spanish king, Juan Carlos. The Royal Family was pissed about it and they complained, sadly forcing Marvel to remove this awesome cover.
In 2008, famous Catalan TV humourist David Fernández went to the international Eurovision music talent show, disguised as a ridiculous character he invented, named Chikilicuatre –nope, don’t Google Translate it, that means nothing at all. Since we always end up losing the contest because of the lame singers we send, that year someone decided that at least we could get some laughs out of it and sent this hilarious guy to play a stupid song and turn the show into something funny. The artist Juan Santacruz decided to include him in a Wolverine comic.
The infamous ultra-conservative and openly racist politician Esperanza Aguirre was a member of the government until not long ago. In issue 10 of the newest She-Hulk series from 2016 –named simply Hulk-, Catalan artist Julián López included a scene where Shulkie steps on a car roof and the old lady inside starts yelling at her. That old lady was Aguirre. But the funniest thing about this is the following: most of the Spanish government –including Aguirre and even the president himself– were recently caught in a corruption plot involving receiving dirty money in envelopes sent by an accountant named Bárcenas –now in jail. The matter ended with the president being impeached and a change of government, but when this comic was published, it hadn’t happened yet. If you zoom in the panel, you can see that the old lady in the car owns an envelope with the text “From Mr. Bárc…” Nuff said.
7.THE AMAZING LIST OF CAMEOS BY SALVADOR LARROCA.
Larroca is one of the biggest names in Marvel Comics from the 90s to the present day. He’s worked in X-Men, Fantastic Four, Avengers and basically everything important in the Marvel Universe, working currently in the Star Wars comics. He’s also the king when it comes to cameos. I remember being shocked as a teenager when I saw Mister Fantastic reading El País, a well-known Spanish newspaper, or Johnny Storm going to the Razzmatazz disco in Barcelona. But he didn’t stop there. Recently he’s been including cameos of his Spanish idols in some of the Star Wars comics.
For example, this is Alberto Chicote, a chef and the host of the Spanish version of the TV show Master Chef, named Top Chef:
This man is Nacho Fresneda, one of the actors from the Spanish sci-fi TV show The Ministry of Time –a great show, check it if you can. But please don’t watch Timeless, that’s the unauthorized copy that Eric Kripke “created” (and got sued for) when he was denied of purchasing the rights of The Ministry of Time for a remake. And it’s also lame.
And finally, the most heart-touching of them all.
Constantino Romero was a great Spanish actor and TV host, but mostly he was known as a voice actor, who dubbed to Spanish such important characters as Mufasa, the Terminator, Dirty Harry or even Darth Vader himself. No wonder why Larroca decided to put him in a Star Wars comic as Chancellor Jooli, as a posthumous tribute. He was our own James Earl Jones and we all loved and respected him –mostly we Star Wars fans.