Social criticism through comics: Spanish local stereotypes

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Social criticism through comics can be funny, specially if packed with humor. Comics are great vessels to convey serious information disguised in a funny way. While having a great time, readers can thing further about certain topics. This is the case of this bizarre Spanish comic book created by Deamo Bros. Under the design of old B-movie posters, this short comic book is a great example of social criticism; in this case, problems around the Spanish society. Though an outsider the comic might seem a funny collection of science fiction stories, these are criticizing some of the problems that Spain is facing, either on a daily basis, or each summer. Using local stereotypes, the authors have been able to send out their criticism while entertaining and making the reader laugh.

It is a comic book with 87 colored pages, with an “alien” style. This is a somewhat “weird” and misleading comic book. Its design does not seem local at all, and some people have already mistaken it for a foreign comic book! In fact, some Spanish friends have bought the comic thinking that it was american, made in the US, and ended up shocked to find out it was made in Spain. Though the style might seem that from foreign comics, its contents are completely local.

social criticism, spain, comics, depepi.com

One of the stories criticism won’t be understood unless you are a local. It talks about an alien race who spends its vacations on a little town on the Spanish shore. The aliens are really disrespectful with the local humans, and have a bizarre diet: they eat dogs. Hence, the number of mascots around the town during summer time decreases dramatically. A dog owner, decides to take revenge on the aliens, despite the local city hall promoting their arrival each summer due to great economic earnings.

This story is really funny (I won’t spoil the ending), but it has much more than meets the eye. It is criticizing some city halls along the Catalan shore that allow some people who decide to go on vacations to certain villages during vacations. City Halls and companies promote cheap vacations in their towns, while locals always complain on the losses of such type of tourists. The trick of the story can be found on the stereotypes used: the aliens are depicted much in the same way bad tourists are described through local stereotypes. Locals are seeing those tourists exactly as the aliens in this comic book story: really disgusting, without any manners and with very strange habits.

So we can see how local stereotypes are taken by comic book authors to create a funny story while criticizing some officials and companies for their lack of responding to the issues that are repeating themselves each summer. In fact, this story’s title, “Summer-time invasion,” reflects exactly when the problems arise and who are to be blamed.

social criticism, spain, comics, depepi.com

In “low-cost travels through time” things get out of hand. The Spanish Government, along with a low-cost time travel flight company, gets rid of the non-productive part of society (students, elders on pensions, and people without work) by sending them to Jurassic times, letting them believe that they’re going on a wonderful vacation, or only 20USD. That’s a cheap one-way trip.

This short story is hilarious and yet poignant. In it we can feel the neglect that the authors feel towards their own Government who see as a schemer of great plans to get rid of those who do not produce anything at all, including students. The authors use local stereotypes to explain this incredible story: students, unemployed people and elders are seen as the ones who produce nothing for society while Government and corporations are just plain evil. It is a really pessimistic piece in which students can see themselves taking a one-way trip ticket to a new destination somewhere in the world to find work, unemployed people can consider themselves doomed along with elder people with pensions.

In tone of comedy, it also points out at how elders are regarded by society: something to get rid of. However, in the story it is the elder people with low pensions the ones who save the day. Their experience in the story is key for the survival of the newcomers into the Jurassic time period.

social criticism, spain, comics, depepi.com

In “forever Monday” we encounter a story very much alike Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day,” but with a twist: a civil servant who works for a public organism. His life is gray, boring, and for some reason he ends up living only on Monday. His life is so gray and pessimistic that he even tries to get counseling. One Monday, however, he meets a girl and falls in love. His drama is that it’s always Monday for him, and they find out that they can only meet on Mondays in which there is a holiday.

This story is feeding itself on the local stereotype for civil servants. They’re seen as boring people who spend their days in the same way. They have a secure job, however they complain despite their security. While society sees them as a boring type, they see themselves as slaves who have no time at all and work endless hours unable to have a social life, like others might have. This story captures exactly this stereotype and the fears of the civil servants in an ingenious way, portraying it as if it were a new version of “Groundhog Day.”

This comic book contains many other stories: “the science of silicon” (fear to technology), “the forever shrinking apartment” (the forever rising prize of apartments in Barcelona), “from Mars to the Earth” (coming back to Spain after living abroad), “the attack of the zombie screenwriters” (the lack of ideas in cinema and story telling), etc. All these short stories contain local stereotypes about Spanish society today. They explain and complain about the problems within it in a funny way, while tricking the reader to think out of the box.

You can find Serie B here.

Topics:

  • Stereotypes in Spain regarding summer travelers from certain countries.
  • Stereotypes regarding Spaniards who come back home after living abroad.
  • Stereotypes regarding Spanish civil servants, the Government, companies and elders.
  • Stereotypes on technology and cinema.
  • Criticism on policies regarding elders, unemployed people, elders, tourism.
  • Criticism on the treatment of pets by families.
  • Criticism on issues within the family: their relationships and composition.


Copyright: Images on this post (C) depepi.com (C) Deamo Bros

About pepi

A Geek Girl interested in Geek Anthropology, comic books, books, Superheroes and discovering all about pop culture.

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