With the rise of the graphic novel in Spain, comics found new voices and new audiences, demonstrating the ability of the medium to tell stories dealing with many different genres and themes. A perfect example is the renewed interest in recent years in telling stories of the bloody Spanish Civil War as well as the subsequent Francoist repression. Comics, as cultural products, are part of artistic creations that have participated in what has been called ‘recovery of historical memory.’ The Civil War is still highly debated in Spain: many streets keep their Francoist names, and Franco himself is buried in a glorious pantheon, while many thousands of anti-fascists still lie in ditches. This is all the result of the transition to democracy (Transición) and its promotion of national amnesia.

This chapter explores the role of comics in this process of recovery of memory and its portrayal of extreme violence, a well-known feature in many civil wars. The medium has provided many stories that outline both the victims’ individual and collective experiences of violence which help Spain to recover its traumatic memories. The chapter draws on examples such as Paracuellos (stories about children living in Francoist orphanages), Cuerda de presas (the abuse of women in Francoist prisons), Un largo silencio and El arte de volar (the memory of some defeated and fearful Republicans through their children’s perspectives) and Los surcos del azar (about those Republicans who continued fighting in the Second World War after the Spanish Civil War).