Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Diario de guerra, by Alberto Breccia (1960-1961; 2009)

It is very difficult to get hold of comics by the great Uruguayan artist Alberto Breccia. Or, should I say, it is difficult to get them in Spanish (his native language) or in French, very difficult in Italian or German and nearly impossible in English or any other language. So it may appear as a pity that the latest publication of some of his works (released in 2009), should be constituted of such minor works as Diario de guerra. But let's be clear: even on these minor works, Alberto Breccia displayed an amazing talent, if not the incredible genius he would show in most of his later works, from Mort Cinder to Dracula, through Perramus and Buscavidas.

Diario de guerra is a Spanish compilation of four war stories drawn by Breccia, initially released in specialised comic books in Great Britain in 1960 and 1961. Their writers are unknown and they are adapted from popular novels. However very conventional, the plots are quite pleasant to read. But the strong point here, and the reason why these very classical stories deserve not to be forgotten, is Alberto Breccia's art. At this middle stage of his career (he was 41 at this time), he is a true master of realistic drawing. He can draw anything in an excellent way: warriors and femmes fatales, planes, trucks and boats, Asian jungle and French countryside, intimate conversations and frightening explosions or accidents... All this with the right level of realism and movement. In these pages, two main elements were already beginning to escape from conventional realism: quite often, Alberto Breccia was using expressionistic ways to increase the suspense or the acme of the story: weird angles, exaggerated shadows, etc.; besides he loved dwelling on wrinkled faces, especially those of elder men.

This is only the beginning of what he would be capable in his later works. After more than 20 years of conventional drawing, having reached a great level of mastering in realistic art, he will develop much more original and experimental techniques: fantastic expressionism (inspired by famous German film-makers such as Murnau or Fritz Lang), inclusion of photographs, cut paper, colour painting, caricature, etc. During the following 30 years, this never-ending experimentation would give birth to numerous masterpieces, all worth being read and read again...

But this is another story...

P.S.: You can get much information about Alberto Breccia on this website: http://www.alberto-breccia.net/. It is in French but it contains many images, which can easily be enjoyed without understanding the language...


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for the link to the website !

    Eric, from www.alberto-breccia.net