Baldo Revisited

Posted by on April 28th, 2010 at 6:18 PM

A few weeks ago (our post for April 7, to be bibliographic in the extreme), we wondered why the drawing in Baldo suddenly got realistic for a couple of days, and we speculated, based upon some of the strip’s history, that it was signaling a “serious” episode involving Baldo’s great aunt Carmen and her infatuation with Gregorio, an operative in the neighborhood super market. Well, yes and no (as is almost always the case in my wilder conjectures).

In the weeks following, Gregorio proposed marriage to Carmen, and they pondered the matter together as they flitted around in various exotic and therefore romantic sites. But then, as we see here—

Carmen opted for life with Baldo, his father and his younger sister instead of romance with Gregorio. In short, “love” wins out. (Robert, incidentally, is her deceased husband. Unless I’ve missed the wagon on that one, too.)

What will happen when next Carmen goes to the grocery store is another question.

My speculation about the seeming “seriousness” of the matter was only marginally correct. The strip’s renderer, Carlos Castellanos, explained (when I asked him about it): “Until now, every encounter Tia Carmen has had with Gregorio at the super market has been drawn in a more serious soap opera style simply because I thought it would be interesting to show how she sees herself in that relationship and romanticize it through the art. Of course, as soon as Baldo enters the picture, her real world existence collides with her fantasy and they are drawn in cartoon form from there on out.” (That is, in the “real world” manner of the strip, “cartoon form.”)

I hadn’t noticed. Here I thought I was attending to the adventures of Baldo with some fidelity, but the super market manifestation escaped me. Maybe it happened before I was a regular reader, starting in 2007. But, no matter—the circumstance is now fully explained.

On another matter, Castellanos sheds some light—namely, how he and the strip’s writer, Hector Cantu, hooked up: “Hector and I first started working together back in 1996 or so. He was, if I remember correctly, an assistant editor or something at Hispanic Business, a Santa Barbara based mag in California. He had seen my illustration work and hired me to do some editorial art for the magazine. We worked on and off together in this capacity for almost two years, developing our friendship along the way. Then in 1998 he approached me with the idea of working on a comic strip together about a Hispanic familia.”

By then, Cantu was in Texas at the Dallas Morning News. Castellanos continues: “We started hashing it out and in April of 2000 got launched by Universal Press Syndicate. It wasn’t til about six weeks after the launch that Hector and I finally met face to face.”

And that’s the “rest of the story,” as my son used to say. Metaphors be with you.

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One Response to “Baldo Revisited”

  1. WLLilly says:

    I presume the ” Deja Vu In The Funnies ” Response mechanism is disconnected , then ???
    It’s gone now , when I looked there .
    Sometimes , people don’t always have the time to read – or respond – that day…