Mique Beltrán, cover drawn specially for an anthology edition of the comics magazine Cairo. It’s worth noting from a history-of-Spanish-comics perspective that the umbrella Cleopatra (the blonde) is wielding is drawn exactly like the umbrella carried by Doña Urraca, one of the earliest successful ongoing characters for the Bruguera comics publisher in the 1940s (her creator, who signed his work Jorge, is the father of the globally popular noir comics artist Jordi Bernet).
Beltrán, like Cairo more generally, was keen to forge aesthetic links between classic Spanish comics and classic US and Franco-Belgian comics, which had had a head start in critical appreciation in the 1980s. You can see Eisner, Hergé, Franquin, Kirby, Barks, Toth, Jijé, and Kelly here — not to mention perhaps most crucially Chaland — but his debt to the sophisticated design and pacing of classic Bruguera cartoonists like Jorge, Cifré, Figueras, Vázquez, Martz-Schmidt, Ibáñez, and Jan is also very real.
Those who have followed my Mique Beltrán fixation over the past few months might be interested to see this early page from underground comics-and-rock magazine Star. His line hasn’t been pared down to a graceful swoop yet, and his composition is still underground-style cluttered; but I can see hints of his eventual mastery of shape, and it’s already relatively stylish for its milieu and, uh content.