Cli-Fi: Paco Roca Goes To The Lighthouse

Paco Roca’s Wrinkles was one of the most moving graphic novels, and animated films, in recent memory. His promising new comic charts a path through the destabilizing territories of war and healing properties of the natural world.

Paco Roca has enjoyed a rapid rise throughout much of Europe with lyrical and insightful graphic novels such as Wrinkles about two old men escaping the decline of age. Fantagraphics has brought this title out in the US last year receiving excellent praise. Booklist said: “Roca’s visual style is an appealing, effective amalgamation of cartoonishness and realism… distinguished by its gentle humor and sympathetic if ultimately unsparing compassion.”

The Lighthouse happens during the Spanish Civil War and tells of a very young soldier on the run stumbling upon a haven rarely visited: a lighthouse run by a crusty old man filled with brave and inspiring stories. He especially waxes about an island paradise not far off the shore he has been dreaming of going to…

This young man, Francisco, wounded to the head, desperate, at the end of his wits, is saved by the old man, Telmo, who lives aside from all the sickening realities of his day. Indeed, the lighthouse he is supposedly running turns out to be long out of commission. At first, Francisco is cynical and wary but slowly he comes around to Telmo’s hearty zest for life which revives him. The old man’s last heroic deed gives Francisco a second chance in life.

This is a heartwarming tale beautifully illustrated in two colors by one of Spain’s foremost new talents. Roca lives in Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast. He has become the star of one of the finest Spanish literary comics publishers, Astiberri. His Wrinkles has been adapted into an animated film with the voices of Martin Sheen and Mathew Modine.

In an afterword, Roca explains his process and inspiration on the book and its evolution.