In the Indies, the Treacherous Alain Ayrole & Juanjo Guarnido | Review


Published on Dec 09, 2019


While we are waiting for the new history of Blacksad, Juanjo Guarnido comes back to offer his art to the public at large, this time accompanied by the texts of Alain Ayrole, realizing In the Indies, the Treacherous (Les Indes fourbes), work is published in our country by Rizzoli Lizard, which has the ambitious intention to bring back to the adventure el buscón Don Pablos, in search of fortune, this time in the Spanish colonies in america.


“THAT is A second part of the Story of the life of the adventurer called don Pablos de Segovia, the tramp model and a shining example of he; inspired by the first, as well as at the time the told don Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Villegas, knight of the order of Santiago, lord of Juan Abad”

The life of a rogue, a poor whatever, be compelled to struggle everyday to eat and survive, never can be nor flat nor devoid of storm events: and, this, is what knows Pablos, a “poor” first-class, continuously looking to raise his social status, to become a true virtuoso (and rich) Don of Spain.

Again and have it come in the New World, where Quevedo had left at the end of his novel, the reader follows Pablos in his adventures in the distant americas, always in the pursuit of wealth and “nobility” in the aristocratic society of the colonial Spanish.

And the beautiful and exotic India, with their temptations fourbes (devious, deceitful, but at the same time, full of charm, just like our protagonist) represented par excellence by the dream of the conquest of El Dorado, turn out to be the theatre, a perfect place where Don Pablos can put in the scene of his intrigues.

Suffering from hunger and subendole the usual humiliations by the “powerful”, adding to the sad moments, pieces of life of a great lord, Pablos will be a display of wit, oscillating continually between poverty and wealth, he and the nobility, providing the reader with a drama fully “human” in which the opposites (for the very constitution of life) blend, and I confuse one with the other.


“Distillerò once again my tears to take away the bitter and keep the sweet”

Right from the first impact with the impressive hardback packed in italy by Rizzoli Lizard, one has the impression of having between the hands a prestigious print of the seventeenth century, with the cover decorated by a portrait in the style of the time, portraying the Don Pablos and the first page that links to the cover of the first edition of the Buscón, printed in 1626.

What they have to offer us, therefore, to the present day, of the new adventures of the rogue of Quevedo? In full Baroque style, In the Indies, the Treacherous confuses through, Don Pablos, the tragic with the comic, blurring into one another and never let the two elements in contradiction.

Vista with a look the current, the “epic” of the character can easily stand up to the “myth” of the modern man, a man, humanly imperfect that fight daily for his “identity”, nor heroic, nor bad, within which coexist different shades unique, decryptable only by the actions he makes.

Don Pablos is shrewd, ingenious, “camouflage”, ambitious, quality now no longer associated with a “type” ethically classifiable, but simply part of the baggage of “human” and that, as such, are used: this is Pablos (and each of us) to choose how, and for what use, right or wrong, that is the ultimate goal.

Further reference to the “totality” is typical of the poetic baroque is the narrative structure of comics, capable of creating a vortex folding of cross-references between the narrative past and the present, between the flashback and the time of the tale, through isotopes of semantic associations and language that you answer between them, between past and present, accompanied by a relentless narrative pace marked by the expression of the tables.

As far as style, the agudeza del Siglo de oro shows to the readers with the witty paradoxes included in the screenplay, along with sarcastic maxims on life that tear a sincere smile while maintaining their great dramatic intensity (again, in this, supplemented and emphasized by the wonderful drawings, often contrasting in tone).


The watercolours of Guarnido, once seen, do not require additional comments: among the exotic locations in the americas, where they shine the colors, the light and the shade of the forests, and those more traditionally civilized and “western”, a simple blink of an eye, in front of the drawings directs us to the adventure with the characters, awakening in us the “wonder” (which was also so dear to a good part of the Seventeenth century) typical of the rediscovery of the world with new eyes.

On the other hand, the expressive power of the drawing of Guarnido is so strong that, in the moment, perhaps the most dramatic of the whole opera, the scene is narrated only by images; a symbol, perhaps, of a the background general of desengaño and muerte, a vanitas that makes its way into the world of the past by the values of the sword to those of money, in which a simple rogue tries to get space.

The sacred and the profane, the noble and the vile, falls and triumphs, and the “high” and “low” are mixed together chemically In the Indies, the Treacherous, and in the final presentation of Don Pablos the same: on the other hand, for the space of a book, he is the main actor in the theatre of the world.

Scoundrel, yes, or maybe something more, simply an imperfect man. The modern, “alive” is still human, like all of us.

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