Minor robbers there were and there will be at all times in history, but few would steal from you more gracefully than “Makinavaja”, a character who was created by deceased Ramon Tosas, artistically known as “Ivá”.
( Click on the picture to enlarge )
When Ivá came to Barcelona he stayed at a pension in Las Ramblas, which was at the time the most crooked part of the town. He lived closely the whole atmosphere of low level crime, pickpockets and such of characters.
Makinavaja was born in hostel Don Quijote, 26 years ago, where there were whores, pimps, dealers, and much fresh-out-the-academy secret police. Ivá became friends with many of the later and they took him to the raids, after which he ended drinking with the villains.
His work was an example of manners, a fresco of a tacky and dandruff Spain. He was the best cartoonist in this country, a guy capable of inventing original stories and explaining them so great.
The slang was another big gun of the illustrator. There are very few cartoonists who create a new language, and Ivá —who really spoke in that way—, incorporated it into his characters. Many of his expressions remain today in everyday’s Spanish conversations.
Popeye, Mustafa, The Pirate, The Smurf … (Makinavaja’s associated characters) don’t lack complexity, as shown by Makinavaja itself, a petty thief with pretensions of enlightenment philosopher.
There lies the genius of Ivá, because a raider is not a sympathetic character, but he becomes charming with that strange mixture of crime, anarchism and social awareness.
It took me quite an effort to attempt the translation to English of the unique idioms of the characters —a job that is far from the impacting original. “Makinavaja”, which could be translated as “Maki the Knife”, comes finally as “Machinife…”
In any case, if you enjoy this cartoon, I will continue —from time to time— with these posts.
Let me know!
Machinife, the last felon – Ivá (English translation by Dugutigui)