Born in 1942 in Buenos Aires, José Muñoz has been making extraordinary illustrations and comic books since his early twenties, when he began assisting Francisco Solano López, a contemporary master of Argentine comics. Since that time he’s moved across Europe, living in London, Barcelona and finally settling in Italy where he still resides today, writing and illustrating his own stories and those of long-time collaborators for international publication.
José’s work can broadly be categorised as ‘painterly’. His expressive use of brush and ink maintain a fluidity of form and constructive use of negative space that many have come to admire in mainstream comic artists like Frank Miller. Unlike Miller, José’s images deal very much with the real world; specifically with the 1940s and 1950s, his characters all suited in bold chalk stripes and panama hats, lurking suspiciously in the shadows.
To this end his work fits perfectly with Albert Camus’ seminal novel L’Étranger which he was invited to illustrate in 2012. The combination of rich, brooding imagery, composed of large swathes of black ink, and a text whose sweltering intensity is legendary results in an incredibly visceral literary experience; one in which the balance of image and text is unprecedented. Sure, it’s in French, but it’s a new year, so why not learn a new language and enjoy one of the best illustrated works of classic fiction we’ve ever had the pleasure of holding in our hands.
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