Saturday, August 21, 2010

José Luis and Alberto Salinas

José Luis Salinas was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 11 Feb 1908. His grandfather was an emigrant in Montevideo during the time of the Rosas. In 1929 he was employed by the Exitus agency as an advertising artist. Although he stayed until 1939 Salinas began experimenting with comics, concentrating on the romantic style of Hal Foster, Burne Hogarth, and Alex Raymond.

In December 1936 he made his name when a thrilling pirate serial, Hernan el Corsario, began publishing in Patoruzú, a magazine named after Dante Quinterno’s famous comic Indian. In 1937 he began illustrating comic adaptations of the classics for El Hogar. Titles included The Last of the Mohicans, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and The Three Musketeers.

In 1949 José Luis moved to the United States where he assisted various cartoonists (including Frank Robbins) before he was contracted by King Features to draw The Cisco Kid western comic strip, with scripts by Rod Reed. The strip began on 15 Jan 1951 and came to an end on 10 Aug 1968. He contributed to the British weekly Tell Me Why in 1969 and drew a King Features comic strip, Gunner, written by Alfredo Grassi, from 1971 to 1972. He died 10 Jan 1985.

José Luis’ son Alberto César Salinas, born in Buenos Aires 1 Nov 1932, followed in his father’s footsteps, and became a popular cartoonist in Argentina and abroad. He too, began in advertising; for Pueyrredón Propaganda. His initial comic work began in 1950 with the series Capiango in Superhombres magazine. In 1961 he drew Spartacus for the Italian Eurostudio. In 1968 Alberto ghosted The Cisco Kid comic strip while José Luis was in Europe. José Luis, who generally worked without assistants, had problems with his eyesight and was operated on for cataracts. The strip continued with the help of his son.

Alberto Salinas returned to Argentina where he worked as an illustrator and drew comics for Editorial Atlántida, Editorial Columba and Editorial García Ferré. Dago, with scripts by Paraguayan writer Robin Wood, was first published by Columba in Argentina then in Italy for Eura Editoriale from 1983-1986. He drew a Dracula comic with scenario by the same author. He contributed many illustrations to Look and Learn in London and taught workshops in his specialty in Britain, Spain, France and Sweden. He was the recipient of the prestigious Yellow Kid Award in Italy. His paintings of horses were exhibited at the Exhibition Rural de Palermo.

Alberto Salinas was a knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. He died about 2 January 2005, apparently victim of a shooting accident. His Wikipedia entry gives the date of death as 27 Nov 2004 but I am relying on the obituary which appeared in La Nacian Cultura for 3 Jan 2005.


  1. Hola, JOHN:
    Gracias por recordar al magistral José Luis Salinas y a su hijo.
    Un saludo.

  2. It's good to see J. L. Salinas get some more appreciation in English. He was a titan of comics. I have a Spanish reprint of his 3 Musketeers; absolutely breathtaking.

    A local paper carried Gunner. I'm surprised J. L. did it by himself, as the artwork though competent was dull and the compositions repetitive. Maybe it was when he was having his vision problems.

    The idea of Salinas assisting Robbins is strange indeed. Talk about apples and oranges!

    I'd love to see some of his work besides The Cisco Kid appear in English. Where on earth did you find originals of Hernan el Corsaro???

  3. Hi Ron,
    You can see more of Hernan el Corsario at Descartes Mil blogspot. I added a link from the words "Hernan el Corsario" in my post.