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In Memoriam: Comic Creator Juan Giménez

Trail-blazing Argentinian comic creator Juan Giménez has died, a victim of Coronavirus.

Juan Gimenéz. Photo: Humanoids
Juan Gimenéz. Photo: Humanoids

We’re sorry to report the passing of trail-blazing Argentinian comic creator Juan Giménez, who specialised in science fiction comics for Les Humanoïdes Associés. He’s best known as the writer, artist, and genre trailblazer behind The Metabarons, The Fourth Power, and Leo Roa.

The much-loved artist died after contracting Coronavirus, having recently returned from a trip to Spain.

Art from The Metabarons, from the legendary duo of Alejandro Jodorowsky and artist Juan Gimenez
Art from The Metabarons, from the legendary duo of Alejandro Jodorowsky and artist Juan Giménez
"37 years ago I asked Juan Gimenez for a sketch," noted Spanish artist Tayete on Twitter. "He sent it to me as soon as he traveled back from Spain to Argentina and it has been with me all my life. Not only a master but a true gentleman.  May the soil rest lightly on him."
“37 years ago I asked Juan Gimenez for a sketch,” noted Spanish artist Tayete on Twitter. “He sent it to me as soon as he traveled back from Spain to Argentina and it has been with me all my life. Not only a master but a true gentleman. May the soil rest lightly on him.”

Gimenez finished his high school education as an industrial design major and advanced his artistic education by attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Barcelona, Spain, where he studied drawing. For the next few years, he dedicated himself to the drawing of comic books, both back in his native Argentina with such publishers as Colomba and Record, as well as in Spain, contributing to magazines such as Zona 84, and Comix International, and Italian publications such as LacioStory and Skorpio.

Early art from an Italian edition of Leo Roa by Juan Giménez
Early art from an Italian edition of Leo Roa by Juan Giménez

Well known for his extremely detailed renditions of machinery, chiefly in the war and science fiction genres, his art further propelled him to international collaborations, leading to publication in France from 1979 onwards with a series of titles including Leo Roa, which he also wrote.

The following year, he participated, as a creative designer, on the “Harry Canyon” segment of the Heavy Metal film.

A production cel for the "Harry Canyon" segment of the Heavy Metal film
A production cel for the “Harry Canyon” segment of the Heavy Metal film

For the next decade, he continued his work in comic book magazines, notably the French comics anthology Metal Hurlant and the Italian L’Eternauta. He earned particular acclaim for a number of SF short stories published under the title of Time Paradox, and worked with writer Ricardo Barreiro on The City.

Repeatedly voted best artist by European audiences in the 1990s by fans, recognition mirrored by Festivals and critics, he met Alejandro Jodorowsky for the first time in 1992 and they began work on The Metabarons, a sci-fi saga of epic proportions in both art and story, completed over eight volumes by 2003.

The strip is regarded to this day as one of the true graphic novel classic of the genre – and it continues successful sales around the world.

Gimenez continued to maintain a consistent yet varied workload, lending his talents as illustrator to covers for CD albums and novels, as well as serving as a concept artist on video games, and motion pictures.

As a graphic novel artist he also collaborated with some of Europe’s most acclaimed authors such as the late Carlos Trillo (on Gangréne), Emilio Balcarce (in Heavy Metal), and Roberto Dal Prà (on Apocalypse).

Several creators have taken to social media to pay tribute to the artist, including Franceso FrancovillaJackson Lanzing, and Ron Marz.

“He was an early fave of mine (read his stories in Eternauta, LanciiStory, Comic Art etc),” notes Francesco, “and [definitely] an inspiration for anything Fantasy and SciFi. Gonna miss him greatly.”

“I didn’t know him but loved his work,” commented Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. “He was actually a major influence (don’t know if it shows) on the more tech sci-fi bits of my old Ironwolf graphic novel.”

“Juan Gimenez’ entry on Wikipedia is shorter than mine, which makes no sense,” noted artist Walt Simonson. “He was a brilliant artist and storyteller, whose work I first saw years ago in Ciudad [The City], a black and white series of stories that I fell in love with instantly. He did beautiful, elaborate, and decorative work that was the envy of many, including me.

“I never met him, but I didn’t have to. His influence touched my work and still remains, hidden away here and there. Thanks for everything, Juan. Godspeed.”

“Giménez was my spirit animal,” mourned artist Shane Patrick White. “His unannounced trip to Seattle ECCC, where I got a sketch from him was the single most excellent con experience of my career.”

“The universe is a darker place to explore without you,” noted his publisher Humanoids.

“He left one of the best cartoonists in the world, but also a great friend,” noted collaborator Emilio Balcarce on Facebook. “I imagine him sheared in one of the glorious spacesuits he drew and rising in one of his magnificent intergalactic ships.

“Bye Juan, you will remain alive in your comics and in my memory until I meet you on one of your planets, to give you a hug.”

• Juan Gimenez, born 26th November 1943 in Mendoza, Argentina, died 2nd April 2020

WEB LINKS

Web www.juangimenez.com – uses Flash

Juan Giménez Biography and Catalogue on Humanoids

Books by Juan Giminez available in English | Available on AmazonUK

Juan Giménez – Lambiek

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.