Where'd You Get That? Cuban Comic Books
This colorful comic is helping me learn revolutionary Spanish at home.
What: Cuba Revolution comic book
Where: Libreria Venicia, Calle Obispo, Old Town Havana
The Lowdown: I found this 32-page combination comic book and trading-card album languishing in the racks of a dusty used book store on Calle Obispo in Old Town Havana. It was published in the early 1960’s to “retain an exciting memory of the glorious Cuban epic,” in a style “pleasant and appropriate for youth,” according to its Spanish-language introduction.
Nowadays, the neighborhood is hardly revolutionary. Tourists flock to the area to shop, and perhaps grab a drink at Hemingway’s favorite daiquiri bar, El Floridita. In the alleyways, vendors hawk sunglasses and Chinese-made faux-Cuban souvenirs. You’re far more likely to see rainbow-colored jugglers and clowns than soldiers in olive drab.
Communist party? No thanks, I’ll take a street party. Calle Obispo, Havana. (Photo: Bill Fink)
But inside the used book store of Libreria Venecia, the revolution lives on, stacked high on the shelves, and hanging on the walls. For 15 CUCs (“kooks” as the dollar-equivalent Cuban Convertible pesos are called) I purchased this blow-by-blow graphic-novel style account of the Cuban revolution from its 1952 beginnings to Fidel’s “triumphant return” to Havana in 1959. While its memories are biased and the violent content neither pleasant nor appropriate for kids, the book is a fascinating snapshot of the times.