Working name of prolific Spanish Comic-strip artist Luis Bermejo Rojo (1932-2015), whose stylish pen-and-brush drawing for UK comics became increasingly attractive and sophisticated throughout the 1960s; thereafter he transferred to Spanish comics, US comics, and Spanish comics again. His earliest work of note was the series Aventuras del FBI ["Adventures of the FBI"] (1954-1955). In 1959 he formed a close working association with José Ortiz, taking on a number of young and talented assistants, including, briefly, Esteban Maroto.
The greater part of his work in the 1960s was in the UK for Fleetway Publications' digest-size comic books of WWII stories. His artwork developed markedly in dramatic quality and sensitivity in the two-year period during which he worked on John Steel Casebooks, a series of distinctive private-eye stories which he drew in a dramatic film-noir style for the companion title Thriller Picture Library (7 titles 1962-1963).
LB's first work of fantasy interest was Pike Mason for Boys' World, a series of three stories about a freelance deep-sea salvage expert – The Curse of Zentaca (1963), The Monster of Duncrana (1963) and The Sea Ape (1963-1964) – which he imbued with a shadowy, mysterious quality and rendered in line and wash. Immediately after this he worked on Heros the Spartan (1964-1966), alternating stories with Frank Bellamy. This was followed by the creation of one of the very few entirely UK Superheroes, Johnny Future (1967-1968), which LB sensitively rendered in b/w for the Marvel Comics reprint title Fantastic. He was now at the height of his creative powers, his refined use of fine line and black areas showing a remarkable crispness and sophistication. During 1969-1975 he drew a number of children's Fairytales and fantasy strips for Once Upon a Time and Treasure, and a strip adaptation of the Song of Roland for Look and Learn (1971).
LB drew a number of fantasy, sf and horror stories for Warren Publishing, for whom he also created the time-travelling character The Rook. One issue of Creepy was devoted entirely to him – Creepy #71 (1975). But LB's work suffered a subtle decline in quality, and his 1979 strip adaptation of J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955), El Señor de los Anelos (graph 1979 6 vols), scripted by Nicola Cuti, showed drawing which, although obviously accomplished, had lost some of his sensitivity and clarity of imaginative vision.
LB remains a leading artist of Spanish comics, with a very long list of fantasy, sf and Western strips to his credit. He drew the 48-page colour comic-strip album Los 8 Anillos de Elibarin (graph 1981) and the fifth volume of the 25-volume Relatos del Nuevo Mundo ["Stories of the New World"] (graph 1992) – a series in celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of the Americas. His work has been published in Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, Scandinavia and Japan. He continues to draw a wide range of strips for regular publication throughout mainland Europe, including the two long-running Westerns El Mestizo ["The Halfbreed"] (1985- ) and, in continued collaboration with Ortiz, the stories about the Native American Jon Khe (1986-current). [RT]
Luis Bermejo Rojo