It was in Europe where Juan finally consolidated as a professional cartoonist. He eventually moved into comics as a full-time profession. He dedicated 24/7 to drawing comics.
“There was a need for professional expansion, to see other things. I thought: I go, I carry my drawings under my arm to show them around, and besides, I know Europe”
AS DE PIQUE (PIK AS)
In 1977 he was commissioned to illustrate the war cartoon As de pique with the screenwriter Ricardo Barreiro, in Argentine.
As de Pique was the comic series which Juan Gimenez really became known with. His series Pik As has been defined as «a comic encyclopedia of World War II. This comic book went viral, and both Barreiro and Gimenez rose to fame.
This event was what led the two cartoonist to make the decision to emigrate emigrate to Europe hand to hand.
LA ESTRELLA NEGRA
They went to Italy where As de Pique was successful. Then they moved to France, where they also found good job offers. In this trip to France the idea of making “La Estrella Negra” came up. It was the first long comic series in color. Estrella negra was a space opera heavily influenced by Star Wars.
“We were all science fiction enthusiasts with our brains turned by Star Wars. So we said: let’s stop fighting this, let’s do a Star wars type …”
EL CUARTO PODER («The Fourth Power»)
Juan Gimenez moved to Spain, while Barreiro stayed in France. They had a job offer from Claude Moliterni, the Dargaud director. But at this time Ricardo Barreiro stopped giving signals and Giménez set out to create his own script, which ended up being “El cuarto poder” (The Fourth Power).
When Barreiro showed up again they went to Dargaud Publisher and they presented the work of “La Estrella Negra”, Moretlini postponed their project. It wasn’t until in the 90s when “The Fourth Power” was published by Dargaud, then was edited by Toutain in magazine, and Norma in Album in 1999.
The Fourth Power is the story of an imperfect society, of an endless futuristic war, but this time without a hint of hope. In fact, he confesses that he avoided happy endings as much as possible. As he said in an interview:
“I celebrate intimately when I watch a movie where the character goes wrong and loses. Because even if he is a hero, things can go wrong and fail. And in this case I followed this pessimistic principle. On the other hand, sometimes I’m afraid of being a moralist.”
In the rush to find another job offer Giemenez accepted a job proposal from the American Publisher Heavy Metal, so he moved to Canada in 1980. He designed the «Harry Canyon» segment of the movie Heavy Metal.
After working in Heavy Metal film, he finished “L’Étoile Noire” (La Estrella Negra) edited by Glénat which became his first album in France. At the same time, he also finished As de Pique for Italy.
During the 1980s he collaborated with various European magazines, such as the Spanish 1984 by Josep Toutain, the French Métal Hurlant (éditions Albin Michel, 1985), Titania (editions Albin Michel, 1987), Gangrène (scene by Carlos Trillo, Glénat, 1987), and the Italian L’Eternauta (1983), experimenting with graphic and narrative innovations.
CIUDAD (1991 by Toutain Editor)
His third long project with Ricardo Berreiro was Ciudad, published in Italy at first and then published by Toutain Editor in Comix International Magazine in Spain. A series that begins as post-apocalyptic science fiction with the protagonists lost in a strange world they do not know how they got to.
With an agile and intriguing Barreiros script, and accompanied by the always splendid work of Giménez with his drawings he manages, they make the reader participate in the experiences of Jean and Karen in the «city» and of course, Gimenez shows his ability to represent fictional worlds and his extraordinarily detailed drawing. Highlight the anecdote of the appearance of the Eternauta in the last story.
A work full of tributes to the classics of science fiction, either to classic Hammer monsters or to top works of the Argentine comic, to highlight a few.
Ciudad is a work in which we are told what could happen to us if our monotonous life were transformed into a surreal journey with no apparent end.
In his stories there is an enormous fascination for military paraphernalia, paradoxically put at the service of deeply anti-war stories. His fascination for that theme had always been a duality for the artist.
CUESTIÓN DE TIEMPO («A Question Of Time»)
“A Question of Time” is the title of an anthology published in 1982 by Toutain Editor.
It was in the short comic books for Toutain Editor when Gimenez matured as a colorist. In concrete in the comic “A Question of Time” work he experimented and improved with watercolor.
In this album seven short stories written, drawn and colored by Gimenez are collected. All stories were published in the 1984 magazine, and except for what respects the last one, entitled «Residuo», the thematic unity that exists between them is undeniable. We are facing one of the first works of the author as a total artist.
Another topic that interested Gimenez within science fiction were temporal paradoxes; It is the one he was dealing with in the “A Question of Time” comic book.
“That game with the time is attractive to me, the idea of being able to alter time and relive it again or anticipate it, is fascinating.”
He also confessed that this project was a whim to use Western. His only western of all his work, adapted to the idea of a temporal paradox.
JUEGO ETERNO («Eternal Game»)
His next album was Eternal Game written by Lorenzo Díaz where it brings together the second batch of short comics for Toutain. Being the most remembered cartoon “La princesa dormida”.
He improved his color technique, and he dared to work on subjects that he had never worked before, such as fantasy, medieval…
This comic book was awarded many times.
BASURA (“Trash” published in 1987 by Comics USA)
Initially published in color by Toutain (first in Zone 84), the pages were adapted by the artist himself to black and white for his Argentine edition in Fierro magazine.
Comparing both versions we can verify the versatility of Giménez, equally comfortable in the raw ink, with that fiercely organic stroke, as in the metallic tones that are characteristic of him.
Leo Roa’s first comic was published by the newspaper ABC looking for a youth comic. So, Gimenez made a light version of the comic. Looking for a young character, a journalist of the future a little botched.
Nevertheless the full version of the comic book “La Véritable Histoire de Léo Roa” (with its erotics parts) was published later by Dargaud in 1988. Then he remade this same album for Zona 84 magazine in the beginnings of the 90s. The second part of the comic book “L’Odyssée à contre-temps” was published by Les Humanoïdes Associés in 1991 with the same main character and other characters to amplify its radius of action.
LA CASTA DE LOS METABARONES («The Saga of the Meta-Barons»)
When Gimenez was working on the 2nd Fourth Power Album with Humanoids Associés, they proposed him to work with Chilean Alejandro Jodorowsky for the popular Metabarons comic series that started in 1992 and ran through 2003.
The first appearance of a Metabaron (chronologically the last of the Metabarones) was in May 1981 in the comic series «El Incal» where he was a minor character. It was when Juan diagrammed those eight pages (that in the end came out 12) when the publisher came out with the idea of making the ancestors, the genealogical tree of the Metabarons instead of just the adventures of the Metabaron.
This project caused The Saga of the Meta-barons to turn into a unique comic series away from the shadow of Moebius who was the visual creator of the characters.
This saga consists of 8 albums of which the last one was published in 2003 under the name of “Sans Nom, le Dernier des Métabarons” (“Nameless, the Last of the Metabarons”)
Juan Gimenez confessed that after drawing so many Metabarons for so long, he began to feel the need to take up his own titles and projects that he had left halfway through.
One of his old aspirations was to create a comic book about aviation, and to be able to draw machinery from the Second World War with a story that had a well-founded background, in the line of Oesterheld and Barreiro.
ELIGE TU JUEGO
Between metabaron and metabaron, he created the comic book “Elige tu juego” to detoxify himself a bit. It was published in 2002 by 11:11.
«I was very attracted to making a story within the world of videogames, but distancing myself from the typical virtual reality helmets and stuff …»
Juan Giménez has reflected his passion for technology in all his works, managing to «transmit soul and life of his own to all his metallic dreams». In fact, most of his work revolves around science fiction, his stories and drawings are imbued with the essence of the sci-fi genre, but some exceptions of the most exciting and interesting.
One of these exceptions was when Gimenez suddenly surprised us with castles, swords, and dragons with the wonderful trilogy “Yo, Dragón”
“Yo, Dragón. El Fin de la Génesis”, the first volume of the trilogy, was originally published in France by Dargaud-Lombard, and published in Spanish in April 2011 by Norma Editorial. It is a fantasy story in an imaginary year 1280, with knights in powerful armor, besieged castles, hidden secrets, palace intrigues similar to the Games of Thrones.
In 2013 Norma Editorial brought us the second part of the Yo, Dragon trilogy: “Yo, Dragón. El Libro del Hierro”. In these unique comic books, we can enjoy his inimitable watercolor colors, praising his immersion in a genre that was not familiar to him, his ability to create tormented but human characters, with values but also with dark secrets that were insinuated and not revealed.
Again Norma Editorial published the third and last album of this comic series called “Yo, Dragón. La Vida Eterna”.