“Marginalized Identities and Cultural Production in Modern Spain”, 22 March 2015
Sandie Holguín, University of Oklahoma

  • Allyson C. González, Brandeis University: “The ‘True’ Catholic Woman was Sephardic? Rebecca Aguilar and the Ambiguities of Spanish Womanhood”
  • Charles A. McDonald, New School for Social Research: “Return to Sefarad: Towards a History of the Jewish Present in Spain”
  • Louie Dean Valencia García, Fordham University: “Clashing with Fascism: Spain’s Democratic Transition in Punk Comic Books”

Comment: Joshua Goode, Claremont Graduate University

Clashing with Fascism: Spain’s Democratic Transition in Punk Comic Books

In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, the newly installed dictatorship of Francisco Franco banned the centuries-old tradition of carnival, the often debaucherous period leading up to Lent in which Spaniards from the largest cities to the smallest pueblos would make their own costumes, drink, dance, and subvert social norms in preparation for the solemn Easter season. In the last years of the dictatorship, young Spaniards created a post-modern variation to the traditional carnival that aesthetically resembled a sort of Warholian punk, inspired by the Underground culture of New York and London. While this prohibition lasted until the late 1960s, in the years just before the dictator’s death in 1975, young Spaniards began to create an underground scene that challenged Spanish normativity vis-à-vis creative expression, clandestine gatherings, and explicit comic books that depicted street drinking, sex, drugs and punk rock—resurrecting a carnivalesque tradition that became known as the “Movida Madrileña”, or Madrid Scene. Emerging out of the Rastro of Madrid, a marketplace known for marginalized peoples, the Movida more broadly challenged both the Francoist dictatorship and normative constructions of gender, class, and taste.  Because of the antiauthoritarian nature of the Spanish comic book underground culture of the 1970s, the régime actively sought to censor and confiscate the transgressive self-made comic books and zines, only calling more attention to their potential to subvert the dictatorship.

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