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The incredible story of the cartoon found in a trench in the Falkland Islands

Two Argentine travelers found the magazine in an unexplored bunker. The excitement of the cartoonist, the decision to donate it to a museum. I knew the story on this note.

Argentines around the world
historieta malvinas

 Two Argentines, on a walk in the Falkland Islands , find the remains of a magazine in an old war trench. That's how the film could begin, although it is a real story. It was  Gisela Candarte and Carlos Maslatón  who made the find. In a cave located in Tumbledown, once a bunker of Argentine fighters during the war against the English, in 1982, the fragments found corresponded to the cartoon “Estación Polar ZEBRA”, by Fantasia Magazine (No. 136, printed in February 1970 by Editorial Columba).  The vignettes were drawn by Argentinean Gerardo Canelo. 

The exciting thing is to put the find in context. Comic book reading was a frequent habit in moments of calm in front . These pages were a company for the soldiers in their waking hours.

After publishing the discovery on social networks, Gisela and Carlos decide to donate the fragments to the Malvinas Museum and Islands of the South Atlantic, which will be exhibited in the new temporary exhibition:  “Cartoon found in a bunker”  . The exhibition will also feature a selection of comics and characters, with the aim of providing a panorama of what was published and read in Argentina at that time.

“ We are two friends who decided to visit the Falklands at the end of 2018. The trip took 24 hours, departing from Buenos Aires, then Santiago de Chile and Punta Arenas, until arriving at Mount Pleasant, the Islas Airport. We did the same tour on the return, with our heart full of emotions,” says Gisela.

It was Gisela's first trip; Carlos had already been in 2005. “ We both have a very large identification with the Malvinas cause, not only from the point of view of Argentina's historical rights over the territory, but also in relation to what were the 1982 war events and what is the recognition of the soldier,” says Carlos.

The stay lasted six days.  “ At all times we respect the inhabitants,  without going into discussion about who is right and who is not.  For five days we were dedicated to seeing places where the battles took place and where the remains of the soldiers, both English and Argentine, are located,” they tell.

The find

 Mount Tumbledown  witnessed the last days of soldiers in the Islands, a site of great  resistance by the Argentine forces  , and where the final battle took place on the night of 13 to 14 June 1982. It is very famous for the quality of Argentine combat and because there are two remains of field kitchens from Marine Corps Battalion 5 (or BIN 5), which are rusty but very interesting.

 “ The Malvinense who accompanied us told us that there was a new bunker, on the west side, discovered just two years ago and that he was not yet on the circuit that is usually traveled. We decided to go visit him.  It is there that, ammunitions, remnants of clothes and slippers, Gisela moved a stone and found a magazine . We took 4, 5 photos and left it there, out of respect,” adds Carlos.

Gisela tried to get distracted, but she couldn't get the cartoon out of her head and  decided to go back the next day . “I asked the Malvinian to join us and I thought, who was the soldier who was here reading? Would he have survived or fell into combat? I asked to take the magazine because it meant a lot to me, and they  only allowed us to take three sheets.” 

The repercussion and emotion of the cartoonist, Gerardo Canelo

“I am very active in networks. Hours after the visit to the bunker I published that we found the remains of a magazine we assumed was from Columba Publishing House. Immediately, the impact was huge,” says Carlos.

Among the answers was that of Paula Canelo, daughter of the author of the comic book:

“ Paula's father is Gerardo Canelo, great comic book writer in Argentina. She sent me a private message, asked me for the pictures and told me that the father was totally excited,” says Carlos.

After the impact, they had  the intention to donate it  and they contacted, through the Minister of Education of the Nation, Alejandro Finocchiaro, with the Ministry of Culture of the Nation to begin the donation process to the Malvinas Museum.

“ My concern was that I had brought the leaves inside a book and wanted to touch them to us, as they were glued. In  Heritage and Conservation  they took care of separating them and putting them in conditions so that they can be transported,” explains Gisela

 “ We're looking forward to knowing who were there.  We estimate there would be 300 Argentine soldiers in that bunker.  We hope survivors, family members, friends of soldiers and anyone who wants to come to revive this story with us.”  Gisela and Carlos conclude.


Publication Date: 11/04/2019

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