Wally has had competition. He is another character who lives hidden and whom everyone recognizes, even without really knowing who he is or what he thinks. From the jungles of Botswana He promised that it would never happen again.– even the skyscrapers of Dubai, the geographical location of Juan Carlos I, the emeritus king, is an enigma that leaves the escapist with stripes and horn-rimmed glasses in a daze.
Between the pages of ‘Where is L-Mérito?’, written by L-Matocritic and illustrated by the Murcia-based artist Laura Tree, hides “a double tribute”: “We wanted to review its history and the History of Spain. Looking at ourselves and at this character who has represented us for so many years”, describes L-Matocritic about the project, edited by Libros del Zorro Rojo. “He is a character that has accompanied us for 40 years. You even love him from seeing him on TV, like a great-uncle, ”she abounds. “Especially with that folksy image. He was tried to be sold as someone close to him, ”observes Tree.
In this book, which goes on sale this Wednesday, L-Mérito does not recount his memories nor does he take the opportunity to open up to the Spaniards – or subjects and subjects, as he calls them –: “We never heard his voice. Something similar happens with the real emeritus, we have always seen him from the outside and when we hear him speak we always listen to the words that other people have written for him”, reflects the writer. L-Matocritic goes further and recalls how during the death of Queen Elizabeth II, her cousin, the British press highlighted her utmost discretion: “Each time the emeritus went off script he has been remembered by history, as the ‘by why don’t you shut up’”, ironically.
Hidden and mute, he travels through time and space, to the “greatest hits” –as L-Matocritic calls them– of his life: 23–F, the wedding of his son Felipe or the visit to Sanxenxo. “He goes to his ball”, explains the illustrator; “There are times when he is expected to be in one place, but he is in another completely unsuspected, breaching the protocol a bit.” L-Mérito is not alone in his adventure, along the way he runs into other people belonging to the ‘Spanish royalty’, such as Rosalía or Jesús Gil.
Among the authors there was an interesting creative process that allowed covering the almost 40 years of history covered by the project: “I’m ten years younger than Miguel (L-Matocritic) and he has older references, some he didn’t even know about; and, at the same time, I had other more contemporary ones. We managed to combine the two, I think it is very important”, explains Tree. On top of the writer’s script, the illustrator added characters and ideas that occurred to her.
L-Matocritic, aka The Hematocritic
The authors of this project chose a ragpicker name for L-Merito. The writer of the book also decided to modernize himself: L-Matocritico is the pseudonym of El Hematocritico, the alias of Miguel López: “I loved the idea of making a pseudonym out of a pseudonym,” confesses the author.
The writer, screenwriter, teacher, influencer, podcaster –and “God knows what it will be like when you read these lines”– is the author of many children’s books such as ‘Feliz Feroz’ and ‘Doña Problems’, the ‘Fun Writing Notebooks’ or ‘Max Burbuja’. He is also responsible for successful humor projects such as ‘El Hematocritic de Arte’ and ‘Drama en el Portal’.
Not only has he devoted himself to literature, he has also scripted humor programs such as ‘The Happy 20’s’, in addition to participating in ‘The Podcast Brothers’ with Noel Ceballos for 10 years.
Feminism and precariousness millennial
For her part, this is the first book illustrated by Laura Arbol, who on her Instagram profile points out that her thing is “drawing, feminism, humor and other ways of starving.” In 2016, the Granada-born woman who lives in Murcia began her personal project of illustration and visual thought, sharing her drawings and reflections through social networks. Her “imaginary is made up of feminism, precariousness millennial and actuality, from a critical and ironic point of view”.
The emeritus king, a “pop icon”
The idea of publishing a humorous book about the emeritus was born within Libros del Zorro Rojo. “It seemed interesting to us to approach the subject of the emeritus with a humorous book that was critical of the current situation,” says Fernando Diego García, editorial director.
“The character of the emeritus is embedded in all contemporary political debates. From his figure, through his trajectory, his place of residence or his future, ”Garcia enumerates. “He is also a kind of icon of the popular culture of this country. All of his adventures transcend the political plane”.