Sunday, May 20, 2012

Foreign Favorites: Delta 99

Created by artist Carlos Gimenez and and writer Flores Thies, the strip Delta 99 debuted in Spain in 1968. Sent to Earth from a faraway galaxy on a peace mission from the confederation of planets he is a member of, our hero has no super powers or amazing strength. Armed only with his intellect, he lives with a wealthy and lovely space pirate named Lu, who manages the spoils of his adventures and acts as his main love interest. Gimenez fantastic and romantic sense of design with its strong Art Nouveau style was similar to one of his Spanish peers, Esteban Maroto, as both their work eventually ended up in Jim Warrens black-and-white horror magazines. Once Gimenez left the feature for other projects, the illustration chores were passed to some equally proficient artists such as Usero, Nebot, Mascaro, and Manuel Ferrer. With new scripts by Jose Toutain and Victor Mora, this second stage of the series changed Delta 99 into a suave talking James Bond-like secret agent, with a wry sense of humor. Now loaded with private jokes and double meanings by the staff, our new hero avoided the woman robots of of his earlier exploits to tangle with exotic ballerinas and sexy foreign adventurers. Initially produced in stark black and white, Delta 99 was later reprinted in its entirety in full color to a whole new audience with new texts by novelist Jose Maria Mendiola.

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