Fanzines, ezines, “historietas” and independent publications, this is what “Qué significa underground?” is all about, a contemporary portrait of the comic market in Spain directed by Guillermo Carandini.
From the early 20th century TBOs to date Spain along with France & Belgium has always had a long tradition in comic production, but unlike in the Franco-Belgian markets, very few people and authors can actually live from this art. Figures like Ibáñez or Jan always found reasonable success with their characters within European frontiers, but never earned the “star” dimension people like Gireaud or Hergé. Maybe something is changing and current authors like Paco Roca or Santiago Valenzuela are earning not only national but international admiration.
However, “Qué significa underground?” is not about those new big names but more about the DIY self-edited, self-published comic market which to be fair, has always been (at least) as important as the mainstream one.
The documentary (which was just published on-line yesterday) takes 3 Spanish zines TMEO, Rantifuso and Tonterías del Rock and tries to summarize in 130min the essence of this group of authors who struggle every day to get some recognition and who may have to adapt or die with the digital formats. It may be in Spanish but luckily enough Google subtitles works perfectly for everyone else.