Despite the popular perception that comics were the poor relations of illustration...
... Camps seems to have been quite happy to work on both strips and illustrations throughout the '60s decade.
By 1970/71 though, something of an exodus from Britain began with many of the best artists moving on to new countries and new disciplines to be replaced by more broadly cartoony artists. Many readers will no doubt have grown up reading Warren and Skywald magazines such as Creepy or Psycho, filled with fantastic art from the same Spanish artists who had drawn so many British romance strips.
I would love to have seen Camps get his teeth (ouch) into painting Vampirella but sadly it would seem that at point he was no longer with S.I. who were supplying the U.S companies with their artwork.
Instead he concentrated on paperback covers for Europe and throughout the decade created numerous arresting images for various publishers.
Amongst the highlights were covers for children's books...
... The Three Investigators and Encyclopedia Brown, Bruguera’s Ciencia Fiction series...
... romances for the Nocturno imprint and mainstream work for authors such as Agatha Christie, Malcolm Saville and Dickens.
As the market for painted book covers contracted in the '80s and '90s Camps moved into fine art and academia setting up his own art school with fellow comic book/ paperback artist Rafael Cortiella. Recently he seems to have concentrated on gallery paintings which fall into one of several categories- still lifes, buildings or cityscapes...
... portraits or nudes - all of which are equally stunning.
(As an aside - it is fascinating to see so many Spanish artists like Camps taking exactly the same career moves from comics to paperbacks and then on to fine art in a way that few of their U.S. equivalents have done. The likes of Jordi Longaron and Warren favourites Felix Mas, Fernando Fernandez and Leopoldo Sanchez have all emerged as major talents in the gallery arena.
Long time comic fans might well also remember Luis Garcia whose strips were very much a highlight of Warrens’ heyday- I believe his recent paintings are amongst the very best being produced anywhere in the world ranging from delicate, ultra-realistic nudes to searing social commentary and paintings reminiscent of Lucien Freud. They have all come a very long way).
Camps may well have left behind his pulp roots but to my mind they are still as wonderful as ever – and I hope you have all enjoyed them as much as I have.
David A. Roach 2010
* Many thanks to David for this fascinating week on Angel Badia Camps!
* Some of today's paperback cover scans are from the website Mundo Bocado
* The fine art scans are from the website Exposición Arte