Spanish infographics mourns the death of Fernando Rubio
On 28 January, at only 52 years of age and after fighting cancer for several months, Fernando Rubio, Head of Illustration for the ABC newspaper and one of the leaders in Spanish Infographic Journalism, passed away in Madrid. The death of Fernando Gonzales-Rubio Anganuzzi (Buenos Aires, 1957) has stunned all visual media professionals in Spain, who have lost one of their most important guiding lights. Since 1986, he directed the infographics and illustration departments at the century-old Madrid daily ABC.
Rubio is survived by his wife and two daughters. He came to Spain at the age of 21, armed with hundreds of drawings and comics. He caught the illustration bug from his maternal grandfather, the painter Mario Anganuzzi, and from another Argentinean illustrator, Gustavo Trigo, with whom he collaborated at the start of his career. At seventeen years old, his work was published in the magazines Skorpio and Humor and by the Columbia publishing house. But the Argentina of those years was too restrictive for him and so he decided to set out on his own. He went to Italy, from where his family had emigrated, to further develop his creativity. He was to stay there only a few months working at Eura Editoriale, in Rome, before coming to Madrid in 1978, where he immediately felt at ease. In Spain, he began to work and to publish in Totem and at the legendary adult comic imprint Norma Editorial, where he published his books Persecución and Homero, as well as publishing works in the magazine Cimoc.
His relationship with print journalism did not take long to develop. Soon after arriving in Spain he became illustrator of the now defunct Diario 16, and at the magazine Cambio 16. In 1986 he joined ABC as the person in charge of Infographics and Illustration. It was a time of technological fervour, with the arrival of computers in the pressroom, and Fernando Rubio participated actively in their introduction. He belonged, thanks to his own merits, to the pioneering generation of modern Spanish Infographics, which revolutionized the way in which news is presented in our newspapers and magazines. He was also an integral part of the group that founded the Spanish Chapter of the Society for News Design in 1989, together with other important persons, such as Juan Antonio Giner, Mario Tascón, Tomás Ondarra, José Juan Gámez and Javier Sicilia, among others. Since then, the work of Rubio and his team at ABC has deservedly won innumerable prizes in the successive editions of the Malofiej Infographics Awards. He himself was member of the Malofiej jury in 2004.
Besides being an infographer, Rubio felt himself to be, above all, an illustrator and draftsman; he was a graphic novelist. And so he combined his professional work at ABC with collaborations for publishing houses such as Anaya, Planeta and Ediciones B; he was the author of the storyboards for the short films “Huellas en la nieve” and “Polillas” by Pedro Touceda, with whom he also published the comic strips Perico and Ninex. His last album was devoted to Homer. And, no less importantly, he was involved in the education of future generations through his classes on Infographics and Illustration at the University San Pablo-CEU.