A close reading of the innovative, distinctive vision of Pere Joan, who has pushed boundaries in Spain's comics scene for more than four decades and stoked a new understanding of the nature of reading comics.
Born in Mallorca, Pere Joan Riera (known professionally as Pere Joan) thrived in the underground comics world, beginning in the mid-1970s with the self-published collections Baladas Urbanas and MuŽrdago, both of which were released almost immediately after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco and Spain's transition to democracy. The first monograph in English on a comics artist from Spain, The Art of Pere Joan takes a topographical approach to reading comics, applying theories of cultural and urban geography to Pere Joan’s treatment of space and landscape in his singular body of work.
Balancing this goal with an exploration of specific works by Pere Joan, Benjamin Fraser demonstrates that looking at the thematic, structural, and aesthetic originality of the artist's landscape-driven work can help us begin to newly understand the representational properties of comics as a spatial medium. This in-depth examination reveals the resonance between the cultural landscapes of Mallorca and Pere Joan's metaphorical approach to both rural and urban environments in comics that weave emotional, ecological, and artistic strands in revolutionary ways.
Nominated for Best Academic/Scholarly Work, 2020 Eisner Awards
- List of Illustrations
- Selected Artist Chronology
- Important Note on Spain for the General Reader
- Introduction: Pere Joan’s Comics Geographies
- Chapter 1. The Comics Landscape of Spain
- Chapter 2. Topographies of the Image, Panel, and Page: Comics Narration Three Ways
- Chapter 3. Rural Cartographies: Emotion, Ecology, and Subjectivity
- Chapter 4. Urban Geographies: Cityscapes, Mobility, and Belonging
- Chapter 5. Island Imaginaries: Mallorca’s Cultural Landscapes
“The Art of Pere Joan is a valuable contribution...Its historical introduction as well as its balanced blend of theory and close reading makes this book a useful tool for scholars and students interested in comics in general but also Iberian cultural studies in particular.”
European Comic Art
“The Art of Pere Joan takes an ambitious interdisciplinary approach to Comic Studies through the analysis of the reception of one particular artist: Pere Joan...Through [Fraser's] complex and comprehensive investigation into [Pere Joan's] works, the reader not only understands how the Mallorcan pushed the boundaries of comics definitions, but also how to frame Comics Studies research as the product of cultural, economic, political, and social frameworks...Fraser has created a robust and contextualised history of a lesser-known artist.”
Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
“This book is an immensely valuable model of how to conduct interdisciplinary research in a way that appeals to a broad audience. It performs a difficult task with authority and elegant writing--that is, laying out a history of the intersection of geography and comics and using these insights to plumb the depths of the art of Pere Joan.”
Susan Larson, Texas Tech University