Saturday, September 5, 2015

Alex Santalo reflects his fight against cancer in a comic 17

Alex Santalo reflects his fight against cancer in a comic 17
The artist Alex Santalo (Santa Coloma de Gramenet, 1977) faced death with only 17 years when he was diagnosed with cancer that was quite advanced. After a long struggle he managed to overcome it, but years later another tumor was diagnosed. An experience that has decided to share in the comic 17. Living, revive, survive (Panini), in case he was useful to someone passing through the same situation. A realistic view of the disease, but always positive and even humorous. And that has a foreword exfutbolista FC Barcelona Eric Abidal, who also beat cancer and could keep playing football.

"The comic says Alex tells, both times I've had cancer. The first when he was 17 years and the second at 34, and how I faced on both occasions. And as in both cases, comics, movies and fantasy in general helped me to pass those dramatic moments in the best way possible. And above all, the comic is a thank everyone who stood by me: family, friends and doctors. "

An experience that has decided to capture in his first comic book as a complete author, partly as therapy. "It was pretty unconscious and automatic assures the dibujante. If much thought I found myself writing my experience and transforming it into a script. So yes I think something should be therapeutic, because I did it instinctively and I guess I asked the body. But during the process, yes I realized that perhaps could serve someone who was going through something or had someone close sick. You could say that, although the situation is dramatic, there is always time for laughter and head away from what is happening and the days become shorter. "

Alex also confesses how important it was for him to accept Eric Abidal write the foreword: "I am a football fan, and almost from the moment I decide to move forward with this project, I have it in mind to write me prologue. And although it seemed impossible to get to get in touch with him, I got a rather curious way. I work illustrating articles on the website of Martí Perarnau. And in presenting his book Herr Pep, we were talking and I told him if he saw the project and feasible to reach Abidal. Martí did all the work. He told my story to Guardiola and he forwarded it to Abidal, who contacted me. "

Cancer at 17 and at 34
But ... How is this disease live at 17 and 34 years? "In much different answers -we Alex. At 17 you are learning to live, it's time to make decisions and start adult life, and suddenly you have a break you can not understand. Without further explanation, he has won the lottery of cancer and spend a year in boxes. Luckily, family and friends were there to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible. At 34 already have structured life, parents do not play such an important role, but they are there, and the relay taking your partner. And although the fact of having exceeded once and catching it before, makes the process not so complicated; you still need people around. "

In the comic, Alex reaches drawn as a zombie because it ensures that felt almost like one of them: "Yes. After months of chemotherapy, the body is exhausted. You crawl and you just go up and down. The last sessions of chemotherapy have become a blur of hospital rooms in my memory, and I guess it must be the life of a zombie. No appetite for brains. "

Alex has won the battle on both occasions, partly because "the people who were around me he assures. Also important is having a daily routine based on radio, television and reading comics, he made the days be made shorter and more fun. The ability to get away and get into other realities serves to think about other things, to forget those moments what you're going through. And help much. And comics specially. Already part of my cultural diet for quite a few years, and continue reading them daily, it was a way that things will not change much compared to when he was not sick. "

Drawing the fight against the disease
The comic includes some interesting extras where Alex tells us how he found the tone and style to tell his experience: "The fact that my previous comics were more humorous cut, or adapting myself to the style of other authors, made me struggle to find a way in which I would find comfortable explaining this story. I did many tests with more cartoon styles and more realistic styles. And the mere fact of keep trying and go drawing pages sent me almost naturally to it. "

A process which also decided to combine with the black and white: "During confesses find the right style, it became clear that the story had to be in black and white. I think that brings the visual drama that has to have a story like that, and allows contrast with touches of humor there occasionally. And also give me the opportunity to introduce color in the moments when the imagination and fantasy worlds into action. Making it clear to the reader, where the line between reality and fiction. "

Finally we asked Alex for their future comics: "I'm working on a couple of projects, again with writers, of which I will not talk much to this superstition that cartoonists have not jinx projects. And stay alive; because the hero of the comic survives two stories with cancer. "

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