Carlos Freixas

Freixas signed his name to this panel from a Battler Britton episode from the Sun comic - August 18th 1956

Carlos Freixas Baleito (31 October 1923 - 26 February 2003 ), was the son of another famous comic illustrator Emilio Frexias Aranguren (1899 - 1976). Carlos started painting at an early age under the tutelage of his father.

Carlos Freixas studied drawing in the School of Art of San Jorge, in Barcelona. As a teen he started an apprenticeship in a factory specialising in theatre stage sets. His first steps as illustrator were guided by his father, Emilio Freixas: "I initiatiated my first steps in the art of drawing under the direction of my father, when I turned 14 years old. When I was 16, the Spanish Civil War had not yet finished, I entered a stage scene factory where I perfected my techniques in perspective, and colour composition." Also from his father he inherited the loose technique for drawing and the complete domination of movement, and with his father he began collaborating in the magazine Readings. In Readings issue 207 (1942), where he illustrated the stories Binet Valmer, and The Death of my Double, (texts by Jose Mª Salaverría), Carlos shows a style very reminiscent of his father's.

Also like his father, Carlos entered the publishing house Mill in 1939, to design illustrations and covers for books (such as Marujita in 1942). In 1944 father and son decided to start their own comic strip publication, Mosquito, with the aid of Angel Puigmiquel another illustrator. It was in the pages of Mosquito that first appeared The Mysterious Captain, Pepe Carter, (by Puigmiquel) and the character that would become synonomous with Carlos, Pistol Jim (later just Jim). Mosquito failed mostly due to bad distribution, but Pistol Jim would find his way into other periodicals notably Chicos.

The style developed by Freixas in Pistol Jim is memorable, and possibly the loosest of all his work, which Luis Gasca judged in 1969 as: His style united with success the agile and dynamic line of his father, along with his personal and well-known admiration of Alex Raymond, particularly in the feminine characters, all with an "American" and very effective "feel". Carlos himself said: I am not a fan of the line, rather of the atmosphere. What I look for in the drawing, is to catch the dramatic sense more than the decorative thing.

This attitude moved Carlos away from the "decorative" in the work of his father Emilio. In fact it is at this time that the son of Emilio Freixas adopted the name Carlos Balito with the intention of separating his name from that of his better known father: he also continued moving away aesthetically, from the exquisite lines of his father, and adopting a gloomier style in his later work outside Spain.

1947 found Carlos working in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the publisher Mill, where he illustrated for the periodical Patoruzito. Here he collaborated with Alberto Ongaro, who wrote Drake the Adventurer (in Misterix) for him, and they illustrated scripts by the great Héctor G. Oesterheld, such as Indio Suarez (for Red Ray).

Carlos Freixas was also the author of the strange strip Darío Malbrán - psychoanalyst for the magazine Adventures, a series developed in the heady atmosphere of Buenos Aires. He collaborated with Codex editorials and Sopena as well as Dante Quinterno on the now mythical strip Patoruzito. He also drew detective adventures (Elmer King), motoring heroes (Juan Manuel Fangio) and illustrated for the magazines Leoplán, Maribel and Chabela.

During his time in Buenos Aries he rubbed elbows with Joao Mottini, Alberto Breccia, Hugo Pratt, Albistur, Raul Roux, and Premiani. He was a frequent visitor to the Pan-American School of Art, in fact Carlos gave some classes at the School. Half way through the fifties, Carlos became obsessed with the dream of becoming a publisher of fairy tales that he tried to illustrate with Nazar Halebian, partner in the company and also an illustrator. At the height of his professional career in South America, 1956, Freixas made the sudden decision to leave Argentina: he left the strip Drake and Indio Suarez in the hands of Carlos Cruz, another Spanish immigrant, and in an attack of nostalgia he took a boat for Barcelona in November 1955.

Arriving in Spain he joined Selecciones Ilustradas, the Madrid based art agency that sent work to the ever hungry Fleetway market in England and from about 1956 onwards, that was where the bulk of his work went. His strips appeared in publications like Sun, Valentine, Marilyn, Bounty and others.

During his final years as an artist he worked on comic strips for United States, Netherlands and Sweden, and devoted almost the last years of its life exclusively to the magazine Bathtub (Bardon Comics).

This website is
© Kerschner & Taylor
Last updated :