Geminis by James Zee
Font's "training period"
Alfonso Font studied fine arts before beginning his comics career in 1962 at Bruguera,11Juan Bruguera set up El Gato Negro (The Black Cat) in 1910, specialising in serialised novels, joke books and popular... Toray22Barcelona publisher Ediciones Toray was established 1945, producing comics and books through into the 1990s. Toray published Johnny Galaxia... and Bardon Art.33Bardon Art was formed at the suggestion of Jorge Macabich (then working for the Belgian agency A.L.I.) to Fleetway editor... Like many Spanish artists of the time, he anonymously produced one-off war, crime, horror and western stories for these companies.
Font gained some international recognition through Black Max for Fleetway in the UK (1970-1972),44"Black Max" is German WWI flying ace Baron Maximilien von Klor, who trained giant bats to attack British planes, routinely... which he took over while at Bardon Art. Through Selecciones Ilustradas, he accessed the US market with short horror stories for Skywald55The stories in Skywald publications are credited to "Alphonso Font": "William Wilson" in Nightmare 19, June 1974, "Uncle Ed’s... and Marvel66"Shadow In the City of Light" from Dracula Lives 3, October 1973 and "The Scrimshaw Serpent" in Monsters... in 1973/74.
Based on the art style, Font's only story for Warren—"Alica" in Vampirella 102 (Warren, US)—is from this period, despite the January 1982 publication date.77As with Skywald, this story is also credited to "Alphonso Font"....
Font is negative about this early work, suggesting that it is a comfort to his professional and personal dignity that it is generally unknown. Reflecting on this period, he said:
"I spent years studying drawing and painting, but wanted to be a comics artist and there was no school for it then. So, like others, I was self-taught. The first years were not constant, but a learning exercise. Then came the need to produce my own work and take responsibility for drawing and also the script."88From an interview dated December 2008-January 2009 at www.tebeosfera.com....
While US publishers such as Warren paid well, it was the opportunity to express themselves as artists that attracted Spanish creators. The conservative UK comics provided a training ground in straightforward storytelling, but the US allowed freedom for expression and experimentation, at a time when the Spaniards were seeking to seize full creative control of their work.
Font's work on Geminis—which is his only syndicated work for Selecciones Ilustradas and his last work for the agency—reflects his growing frustration and artistic ambition.
Toutain arranged with Echevarría and Font that they would complete one 20 page episode each month, while Toutain managed selling the series to various countries.
Font found the pace formidable and the series left him exhausted. He was also jaded by working on a character he did not like—a "hero" who resorted to torture and murder to solve problems.99See www.tebeosfera.com: a profile of Geminis and the 2008/09 interview, "Las fronteras de la aventura"....