Jordi Penalva

Penalva's original art for one of the interior plates in the 1960 Kit Carson Annual.

Jordi Bosch Peñalver, (better known as Jordi Penalva) was born in Barcelona (Catelonia) in 1927. He studied at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes in Barcelona under Ernest Santasusagna. The young Jordi had the ambition of becoming a serious artist and many of the pieces that he did in the 1940's can still be found at modest prices.

He began working as an illustrator in the late forties for the publishers Janés and Juventud, where he illustrated covers for paperback reprints of Zane Grey and PC Wren.

In 1952 he moved briefly to Brazil before returing to his native Spain. It is probable that he was commissioned via one of the art agencies that flourished at the time: either the Anglo-Spanish Bardon or the Belgian A.L.I. His work however speaks for itself.

I have found no reference to his ever working on a comic strip per se, and like Alessandro Biffignandi and others, the bulk of his output seems to have been covers.

He started working on Fleetway's Cowboy Picture Library series in the late 50's and contributed two colour plates for the 1960 Kit Carson Annual, published in September 1959. This was a sure sign of Fleetway's faith in Penalva as the colour plates in these annuals were always done by their quality artists such as Derek Eyles and Septimus Scott.

Times and tastes were changing by the early sixties: westerns were making way for the new war comics and it was in this genre that Penalva is best known in the UK. When Cowboy Picture Library folded he started working for Battle Picture Library, War Picture Library and the Front Line Series racking up over 200 covers for these three titles alone. He stopped working for Fleetway in about 1968 and started with their arch rival D.C. Thompson on their Commando comics where he contributed hundreds of covers.

Frontline Series no. 22 - Penalva's original cover art.

As Penalva was not a "house" artist, but a freelance artist, he was also contributing work to other markets, notably the Swedish. By the mid-1970's Penalva was contributing to the Swedish version of James Bond published by Semic: these were re-prints of the original Daily Express newspaper strips by John McLusky and Yaroslav Horak, but with a Penalva cover. He was also producing paperback book covers for various European publishers.

Not contending himself with the European market, in 1978 Penalva started working for the US market in the shape of Warren where he contributed covers for Eerie, The Rook, 1984 (later re-named 1994) and Vampirella, thus aligning himself alongside the likes of Frank Frazetta, Sanjulian (a fellow Spaniard who had also worked for Thompson's Commando comics) and Enrich. Penalva actually won an award for the cover of Eerie no. 96 as Best Cover of the Year for 1978, and in total he contributed 15 covers to the title.

After Warren closed up shop (rumour being because of the settlement to Harlan Ellison for publishing one of his stories without permission) Penalva re-established himself back in his native Spain where he contributed covers to Zona 84 and Cimoc.

Jordi Penalva has an older brother, Antonio Bosch Peñalver born in 1925, who has created several comic strips in Spain. Brother Antonio signs his work Bosch Peñalver - so Jordi signed his as Jordi to avoid confusion. Antonio Bosch Peñalve has worked on several comic covers for the German market - mostly westerns.




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