Paracuellos is a work of great courage, created at a time when telling the truth about Spain’s political past could get one killed. It is arguably the most important graphic memoir ever created in comics. With a preface by Will Eisner.
Carlos Giménez’s autobiographical account of the plight of children in post-World War II Fascist Spain has won virtually every comics award in Europe, including “Best Album” at the 1981 Angoulême Festival, and the “Heritage Award” at Angoulême in 2010.
In the late 1930s when Spanish fascists led by Franco, and aided by Hitler and Mussolini, overthrew the elected government, almost 200,000 men and women fell in battle, were executed, or died in prison. Their orphaned children—and others ripped from the homes of the defeated—were shuttled from Church-run “home” to “home” and fed a steady diet of torture and disinformation by a totalitarian state bent on making them “productive” citizens.
Carlos Giménez was one of those children. In 1975, after Franco’s death, Carlos began to tell his story. Breaking the code of silence proved to be a milestone, both for the comics medium and for a country coming to terms with its past.
An illustrated essay by Carmen Moreno-Nuño, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Kentucky, places the comics in historical perspective.
“The stories transcend just being about a historical moment in Spain. Their humanity will speak to everyone. The stories are heartbreakers, but Carlos never loses his sense of humor.”—William Stout
“Carlos Giménez’s PARACUELLOS is, in my opinion, one of the greatest, most profound works ever in the medium. Technically and artistically flawless and the rarest of all testimonials: the memory of the silent children pushed by the wayside of history. Emotional, potent and engrossing in equal measure, Carlos’ work has inspired me personally in the creation of THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE and PAN’S LABYRINTH. A masterpiece.” –Guillermo del Toro, Filmmaker
“[In Paracuellos] acclaimed Spanish creator Giménez (b. 1941) depicts brief vignettes from his life and that of other boys who lived in the fascist social aid “homes” that were by turns horrifying, pathetic, and poignant in this first English translation of this work…. These memories of the ease of a society in turning to cruelty against its least members is a cautionary tale for us all.” –Library Journal
“Giménez’s powerful autobiographical work, a renowned classic in its native Spain, looks at the miserable lives of orphaned children and the offspring of the defeated during the regime of Franco. In short episodes set in the titular state home for boys, Giménez pulls no punches, depicting the unrelentingly bleak day-to-day existence of wide-eyed children who are harshly punished… but nonetheless the boys endure, their small shoulders bearing the weight of a world that cares nothing for them.” –Publisher’s Weekly
“Giménez’ acute moral sensitivity, needle-sharp characterizations and knack for narrative make Paracuellos comparable to Maus and Persepolis. His artwork may surpass them.” -NPR Books