Adapting American journalist Jon Lee Anderson’s biography to tell the story of one of the greatest legends of the 20th century, Ernesto “Che” Guevara in the format of a comic book was a huge challenge for Mexican cartoonist Jose Hernandez, who presented the book that focuses on the phase of Guevara’s life when he had become a prominent figure of the Cuban Revolution (1953-1959), at the Guadalajara International Book Fair, or FIL, The Latin American Herald Tribune reports.
This is the first, chronologically the second, of three volumes expected to be released during the next two years and which have been divided between Mexico (and Central America), Cuba and Bolivia.
Released in 1997, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by Anderson was till then considered “the best documented biography on Che” because the journalist “had access to several documents that until then had been unknown, including letters, his diary, several things that his widow gave him,” Fernandez told EFE.
“I didn’t want to do an illustrated biography, I was very clear I wanted to tell a story. Not simply to illustrate a chronology with dates and facts, but describe important moments, the relationship this personality had with different people close to him, his father, his mother, his first wife,” he explained.
One of the biggest challenges the cartoonist faced was to imagine and draw private scenes, “moments we knew had occurred but without much clarity as to what was said.”
“To decide which dialogs, which words were used, what was said, how they reacted, where they were, how they were dressed, in all, is a work of recreation. But I always have my limitations while inventing dialogs, I respect as much as possible the logic of the story,” the artist said.
Another challenge, he added, was putting people who are already part of history “in day-to-day situations.”
“It is not easy, one runs the risk of ending up with stilted scenes, finally they are historical figures and suddenly to imagine a dialog between Fidel Castro and Richard Nixon was not easy,” confessed Fernandez.
Although the book is aimed at “any curious reader” who enjoys this genre, the idea is that young people, the main readers of comic books, can draw closer to this figure.
“One hopes people aged 30 and below who don’t know much about the story of Che or for whom he is only a picture, a poster, a T-shirt, a button, come closer to him and get to know a little more of this personality,” he added.