Her name was María Pérez Lacruz, although she was known as María ‘la Javelina’. She was a young woman born in Teruel (1917) who, like so many others, emigrated with her family to the Valencian town of Sagunto, where an increasingly powerful iron and steel industry was emerging strongly – which would be the germ of the Altos Hornos del Mediterráneo. María, an anarchist militant who grew up in a working-class environment such as Puerto de Sagunto, enlisted as a militiawoman at the age of 19 in the Iron Column to fight against the coup plotters on the Teruel front, where she was wounded. After the war, she was arrested in April 1939 and shot in what is known as the ‘wall of Spain’ in Paterna in 1942.
This story, which has been told in the book by Manuel Girona ‘A militiawoman in the Iron Column: María La Javelina’ (University of Valencia, 2007) and the novel by Rosana Corral-Márquez ‘If you forget me’ (Versatile Ediciones, 2013), as well as taken to the stage by the Hongaresa de Teatre company in the play ‘Mary the Javelin’, will become a graphic novel by the hand of Cristina Durán and Miguel Ángel Giner, winners of the 2019 National Comic Award for the work ‘El día 3’ in which, together with the journalist Laura Ballester, they narrated what happened on the occasion of the 2006 metro accident in Valencia.
The work, which will be published in 2022 by Astiberri Ediciones, one of the most powerful publishing houses on the national scene in the world of comics, is part of an initiative of the Sagunto City Council, and more specifically of the delegation of Historical Memory and Democratic: “Sagunto has a consolidated comic festival, Splash (this year it celebrates its eighth edition as a comic festival of the Valencian Community) and a comic school, so it occurred to us to link historical memory in the city with this genre, and we contacted Cristina and Miguel Ángel, who collaborate with us at Splash and are comic references, to propose the idea to them, “explains the area councilor, Guillermo Sampedro.
And the choice of María as the protagonist “seemed to us an excellent way to vindicate a local figure, a republican woman who died to defend her ideas, for freedom, a well-known anarchist,” explains Sampedro, who highlights how the project ” it enchanted “Durán and Giner.
Cristina and Miguel Ángel acknowledge that when they propose the name of La Jabalina as the protagonist, they begin to investigate the figure of María, whom they did not know. “We were passionate about his story,” they say: “We never thought it was so interesting.” “As you find out about everything that happened to him, you are amazed,” say Durán and Giner, who argue that it was worth making a graphic novel: “At first we thought about making 110/120 pages and in the end we get 150 / 160, and because we have cut ourselves, because with the trials we would only have 200, but we have to ‘prune’ “.
The comic will tell his life since he arrived in Puerto de Sagunto. “We want to show its history so that it is not forgotten, to vindicate its figure, but also to contextualize it by trying to capture the environment and atmosphere of the time,” they explain. Regarding the combination of comic and historical memory, they assure that it is “very successful” to give it visibility. In this sense, Miguel Ángel points out that he has been “very surprised” to see Cristina drawing war scenes, even if it is only the moment when María ‘La Javelina’ is injured, while Durán assures that he gives her “a lot of respect” for this theme. : “It is a challenge to be up to the task, because there are already works of a high level”. Cristina Durán has also narrated through comics very personal experiences, such as the fight against cancer in a cartoon that she published on social networks.
Project with a vocation for continuity
The Sagunto City Council intends for this initiative to have continuity. To do this, the idea they have from the department headed by Guillermo Sampedro is to commission some more works from other authors to recover the working-class memory of the city and rescue the past “in a different way.”
Thus, issues such as the closure of Altos Hornos del Mediterráneo, in the mid-eighties of the last century, or the arrest of trade unionists such as Miguel Lluch in the 1950s and 1960s and subsequent trials by the Court of Order are being evaluated. Public. These are projects that, in principle, would be entrusted to other authors, although at the moment there is nothing concrete.
This way of recovering historical memory is complemented by other initiatives of the Saguntine Council. In 2020, the City Council acquired the didactic unit on the Civil War through the comic that has been delivered to schools and institutes in the town.