Monday, January 25, 2016

European Western Comic Books - The Little Fighter

The Little Fighter is a series of western adventure comic books created by the Spanish author Manuel Gago García, and was published by Valencian Editorial between 1945 and 1956, a total of 230 oblong booklets, in black and white were produced.

In the comics books 13 to 33, the covers are only drawn by Manuel Gago, while the 16 inside pages are the work of Luis Gago (his brother), and the script is of Pedro Quesada (also his brother)

Pedro Quesada also participated like scriptwriter in diverse periods until the end, but was uncredited.

In addition, Pedro Quesada wrote six novels featuring the character, published in popular novel format in 1948 and 1949.

The series develops the adventures of Fred Hood, the Small Fighter, in the legendary West of the 1880s. Fred Hood is a boy traveling in a caravan to the west, which is attacked by Apache Indians. Fred's parents die in the attack, and Fred swears revenge. Fred is rescued by the settler James Jefries, whose daughter Margarita is the first girlfriend of Fred.

The sidekick of Little Fighter is Bully, a renovated bandit. The main villain of the series is Jack, chief guard of the settlement, who commits treason in exchange for gold that the Apaches have a mountain of in their land.

Jack disappear in the middle of the series in a suicide scene that was censored in the two editions of the collection (in 1960 and 1977)

Margarita is at first a rival Flor Blanca, daughter of the Apache chief. Although she marries a warrior of the tribe called Deer Runner, Blanca Flor continues to love Fred all his life. Then Carolina appears, daughter of another settler, that dresses in masculine clothes and shoots like the best of gunmen. Carolina will become a companion in the adventures, and finally Fred’s girlfriend. For some time, Carolina adopts the personality of the hooded Fury of Manitou, to avenge the death of her father at the hands of the Apaches.

Far from relegating women to traditional roles in cartoons Manuel Gago uses many examples of independent women like Carolina in the Small Fighter or Zoraida in the Mask of Guerrero. For example, in this series Carolina has other abilities besides being able to fight like a man, because in a time of economic difficulties she creates and runs a transportation agency in the city of Ely.

Also, in recent episodes, we see Daisy becoming a schoolteacher.

Manuel Gago García (Valladolid, March 7, 1925 - Valencia, December 29, 1980)  was a prolific Spanish cartoonist, one of the most important in the Valencian School of comics. He is the creator of The Warrior Mask, among many other series, and founder of the publishing Garga and Maga, both anagrams of his name.

Manuel Gago was born in Valladolid in 1925, but spent his childhood between Madrid and Albacete, city where his father, former Republican commander, serving a sentence for political reasons. Self-taught, from 1942 sends their pimeras comic Hispano Americana (The Spirit of the Forest) and Marco (Viriato) from the same hospital where convalescing from tuberculosis. He had also begun working for Editorial Valenciana with several separate episodes, which would continue the following year the Child and Richard Gonzalo series and Bakutu.

In 1944 he published, also to Valencia, the first cartoon character that would give fame, The Warrior Mask, adventure series set in the Spain of the Catholic Kings and inspired by a novel by Rafael Perez y Perez. The scripts Warrior Mask were made by Gago, his brother Pablo and Pedro Quesada itself. The series was soon a great success and was published continuously, in separate notebooks, until 1966, reaching 200,000 rolls.

While developing the adventures of The Warrior Mask, Gago created new comics, as Alberto Tonín the orphan and Spain, both of 1944, the gang of seven (1945) and The Little Fighter (1945-1956). The latter, set in the Wild West, also had a great success. Also present in the publisher Albacete Luis Bermejo and Miguel Quesada.
Maturity (1946-1966)

In 1946 Gago moved permanently to Valencia, where he made the Fearless series for Valencian Editorial eponymous magazine, the critic Pedro Porcel Torrens longer considered a work of madurez. A year later, briefly published The Iron Swordsman (1947) Toray, with Antonio Arnau Ayné  before agreeing to work exclusively for Editorial Valenciana.

In 1948 he married Teresa Quesada, sister of Miguel and Pedro.

Another series of success that occurred around that time is Purk, artificial stone (1950-1957), set in prehistoric times, scripted by his brother, Pablo Gago. In her fantasy she increasingly overwhelmed, produced beings as men-rhinoceros and others.

In 1950, having achieved a new working conditions that allow you to combine other publishers, 6 Manuel Gago created his own company with his brothers Pablo and Luis: the ephemeral Editorial Garga, for which he made four adventure comics: The Mysterious X, The King West, El Libertador and The Son of the Galeras. After the failure of the project, began with his father's Editorial Maga, which would work, besides himself, artists like Jose Ortiz, Luis Bermejo, Pedro Quesada or Eustaquio Segrelles, among many others.

The work rate imposed may well be described as frantic as he reached to draw five series semana. To Maga, made 22 adventures, among them the ace of spades, the defender of the Cross, The Corsair Faceless Skin Wolf and the Eaglet; at the same time, in addition to the Guerrero of the Mask, developing other series for Editorial Valenciana, as the audacious guerrilla (1962), and even worked for Bruguera, with Blue Musketeer (1962), written by Francisco González Ledesma.
Last year (1973)

In 1966 he decided to retire from the world of comics, with more than 27,000 pages drawn on their backs; However, since 1973 he returned to work with Editorial Valenciana, and in 1978, because of the success of a reprint cartoons character, began publishing the new adventures of the Warrior of the Mask, vertical format and color, of which reached 110 numbers appear, leaving unfinished by his death on December 29, 1980.

After the death of Manuel Gago, his character was registered in the Spanish Office of Patents and Trademarks, but the November 8, 2005, the Court of First Instance No. 17 of Valencia, annulled such registration, recognizing the author Manuel Gago, although without granting an indemnity to herederos.

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