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Thursday, March 20, 2014 (read 1542 times)
Don Quijote as a Comicby Matthew
Don Quijote de la Mancha
Don Quijote de la Mancha, a novel written by Miguel de Cervantes and published in 1605 and 1615 in two separate volumes, is widely regarded as being one of the most significant works in Spanish literary history, and as a founding pillar of modern Western literature. A German illustrator “Flix” whose alias is Felix Görmann has transformed this ancient story into a modern-day comic.
It is not the first time that “El Quijote” has been published in this format, and it probably will not be the last. In this latest version, Flix has transferred Cervantes’ literary character from his native La Mancha plateau to a confederate state in Germany. The story focuses on an old German man with his bicycle named “Rocinante” and his grandson who is a big batman fan. The two characters are based around Cervantes’ Alonso Quijano and Sancho Panza respectively, and they embark on a mission determined to prevent a wind power company from filling their village with windmills.
Flix, the illustrator said that when he was a young child, his grandfather used to read him a lot of books with one of those being that of don Quijote. Many years later during a pilgrimage from Seville to Santiago de Compostela, he took the book with him. At the time his grandfather sadly passed away after suffering with Alzheimer’s and whilst Flix re-read the book he realized that his grandfather and Cervantes had a lot in common. This is what inspired him to start writing the comic strip.
Flix has enjoyed great success with this comic in his native Germany with his work being featured between October 2011 and May 2012 in the newspapers “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Märkischen Volksfreund.” He has now added several new pages to the final version that is being published in Castilian Spanish for the first time. Despite there being over 400 years difference between the original work of Cervantes and this new comic, Flix believes that despite the language being old the story is not, and he stresses the importance of retelling old stories in order to keep the language fresh and breath new life into them. He thinks that a “good story” will never become outdated because its plot, narratives and underlying themes consist of a “great truth that sustains them”.
The legend of El Quijote is well-known in Germany but evidently not thought of with the same passion and intensity that it is in Spain, the country in which it was created. However the figure of “don Quijote” is considered by Flix to be an archetype. He transcends nationality and becomes a symbol personifying human behavior in general which is what the author thinks that everyone understands. For this reason, Flix believes that the “creative process of comics” can adapt to any character in literature or history, so perhaps he will soon start writing about other influential figures; he even suggested that it would be very interesting to portray “Hamlet, Moby Dick, Tom Sawyer or Munchhausen” in a modern-day world in the format of a comic strip.
Keywords: don quixote,don quijote,comic literature,el quijote,don quijote de la mancha,spanish literature