Jok, you’re from Argentina, and Santullo from Uruguay. What aspects of your respective countries’ cultures that you find very valuable are unknown in the rest of the world? Can you give us titles of comics that you particularly enjoy, famous or obscure? Can you do the same for music , films, and television series? Perhaps novels too?
JOK: This question is quite big and I´m not sure if I’m capable of providing a proper answer. But I´ll try to stick to a cultural aspect I know first hand.
Everybody makes a direct connection between tango and Argentina, this is a verifiable fact in many countries. But, beyond the classic repertoire, there’s a discovery to be made in this context. Argentinians are nowadays witnessing a whole NEW generation of singers, musicians and writers devoted to tango, contributing to the genre with new interpretations, styles, and even new tango songs. Some of them tend to stick to a traditional approach, and some others have chosen a wild, energetic angle. All of these new artists are worthy of attention (whether you´re a tango fan or not). Many people tend to think of tango as music from the past, but it’s stronger and more alive than ever!
There are many Argentinian comics to be discovered and enjoyed, I´ll name just a few (touching a nostalgic string, just like a tango song, ha!). Beyond the classics (and brilliant) Mafalda and Clemente, I´d like to point out some series I used to love as a teenager that might prove difficult to find, internationally speaking:
– The Magician (Mazzitelli-Alcatena)
– The Moving Fortress (Barreiro-Alcatena)
– Nekrodamus (Slavich-Lalia)
– Crazy Jack (Amézaga-Meriggi)
– Wolf (Wood-Zaffino)
– Consummatum est (Yaqui-Oswal)
– Sherlock Time (Oesterheld-Breccia)
Some of these you might be able to find on the internet… I still find these characters, settings and creators very inspiring. Just like the (distant) day I came across them.
Regarding music, you might want to check out Soda Stereo, Sumo and Virus, some of our best pop-music bannermen from the 80s.
As to films, I´d humbly recommend Nine Queens (a frantic crook comedy), The Man from Next Door (a bizarre thriller/comedy) and Zama (an extravagant historical drama). If you wanted to know more about these films, just let me know (but they might prove difficult to enjoy outside the “Argentinian context”, I´m afraid).
Regarding TV, we have this historical (documentary) series I used to enjoy so much, featuring highly produced dramatisation, dynamic delivery, and cutting-edge edition. It’s called Algo habrán hecho (“They might have done something”), and it is very fast paced as well as surprisingly entertaining!
And there is this novel called Kriptonita about a powerful Superman-esque character raised in a downtrodden, marginal area outside Buenos Aires (who becomes the leader of a very odd, extraordinary gang). It features fun, witty dialogs all along and was written with deep love for old school Super Friends (the cartoon series) and the 80s in general (and was even adapted into a movie, a comic and a series just a few years back).
SANTULLO: Uruguay is very similar to Argentina, we are culturally attached and united (in fact, all the recommendations that Jok made are very popular here), but I’ll contribute from Uruguay itself to give you variety.
A big difference, yes, is that we don’t have such an extensive comic production in Uruguay, both in quantity and in the length of their history, but I can recommend you El Viejo (Alceo and Matías Bergara), Rincón de la Bolsa (Nico Peruzzo and Gabriel Serra), Aloha (Maco), Morir por El Che (Roy and Marcos Vergara) and some of my own books like Los últimos días del Graf Spee, and Zitarrosa (with Max Aguirre).
About music, I recommend you check out the big three songwriters and interpreters from here: Alfredo Zitarrosa, Jaime Roos and Fernando Cabrera. And, if you like metal or hard rock, check out Peyote Asesino, a great band.
Cinema: films like 25 Watts or Whisky. And my favourite Mal día para pescar (Bad Day to go Fishing).
Books: Juan Carlos Onetti, Felisberto Hernández, and the great Horacio Quiroga. I think you can find English translations.
To be continued Monday 29 March