Munuera  Chloe Vollmer-Lo
Art and story

Jose Luis Munuera was born in Spain on 21 April 1972. He does not deny the powerful influence that French-Belgian comic books have on him, particularly the humoristic ones. He reads them as Spanish translations and in the magazines that reach the other side of the Pyrenees. After completing his studies at the academy of fine arts and architecture of Granada, he tries to make it in his own country, but soon realises that American series, mangas and an aesthetic realism nowhere near his natural inclination toward humour are more to the taste of Spanish editors. His favourite reading consists of Spirou, Fantasio and the work of Uderzo. Considered too "French" by his colleagues, he makes a pilgrimage to Angoulme where he is lucky enough to team up with Sfar, who writes the scripts for three albums of the "Potamoks" for Editions Delcourt in 1996-1997 ("Terra incognita", "Les Fontaines rouges", "Nous et le dsert"). The commercial success of first joint effort does not satisfy the duo at all, and they turn to Dargaud where they create a story about the childhood of Merlin the Magician, starting in 1999 with "Jambon et Tartine", followed by "Merlin contre le Pre Nol", "Merlin va la plage", and "Le Roman de la mre Renart". Just like the sadly missed Franquin, Munuera always says that he likes to illustrate stories he would have liked to have read as a child...

Living in Murcia, Munuera uses the Internet and information science to reach out to France. Meeting Jean-David Morgan gets him at a higher level in the world of humoristic fantasy with "Sir Pyle" at Soleil Productions. A strange character, this doctor. Monsters and other creatures of the dark turn to him whenever they suffer from physical or psychological illnesses. "Mythecin gnraliste" (1999) and "Mauvais Souvenirs" (2000) are noticed because of their graphic exuberance and the fact that a twelve-year-old boy tells stories many centuries old.

In 2000 he publishes "La route d'Eldorado" on his own at Dargaud, a cartoon adaptation of an animation of the Dreamworks studio. This commissioned work helps him master his typical style of drawing, compulsive and rich in detail. Although he is a rather quiet person, he admits to becoming overexcited when he works: "I have steam coming out of my ears, I jump up from my drawing table to make faces and draw them in front of the mirror, I pull out documentation, photographs, old engravings and books while I work, so I have everything piled up by the end of the day. I wake up every day saying to myself that I'm going to do a masterpiece and then I get so incredibly nervous."

His take-over of the mythical "Spirou et Fantasio" will have no calming effect on his Mediterranean enthusiasm whatsoever, but he certainly gives it everything he's got, and definitely realises one of his childhood dreams. He is hardly aware of the huge challenge he has taken up with this rebirth of characters so deeply anchored in everybody's memory. He is sure to take them a long way into the new millennium, gradually modernising them with the help of his favourite script-writer. Their first story, "Paris- sous-Seine", shows exceptional temperament and a modernistic lay- out, playing on the multiplicity of the boxes and unique details.