Dumas, Oliveiro

Oliveiro Dumas (Valencia, 1964) is a rather tall man born on an autumnal Saturday with a pencil under his arm. A mathematician by vocation, computer scientist by occupation, unrepentant dreamer, tennis racket artist, convinced (and convincing) humorist, convincing (and convinced) humanist, is a perfect stranger to the general public.

And it is a shame, because that means they would have not been able to enjoy the astonishing graphic evolution of an eager young man, who began to draw occasionally twenty years ago, and who kept polishing his early rough style in an exquisite manner. He won a couple of awards, one for a comic strip and the other for an album cover. In the mid-80s, when he was struggling to get his work published (beginnings are hard, as we all know), and after various small jobs, in the 90s he ended up collaborating with the most relevant Valencian fanzines of the time (does anyone remember Kovalski Fly?), without ever losing the excitement of the first day. The general public will also be unaware that one good day he picked up a guitar and, after a little practice and a few broken strings, managed to make a small mark on the Valencian music scene (does Los Mocetones ring a bell?), even collaborating beyond our borders (speaking of autonomous regions, of course: in the New York of La Mancha his good labour was particularly appreciated). They will not know, then, that he belonged to the Orden de la Manopla del Quinto Sueño (Order of the Fifth Dream’s Mitten; a delirious sub-cult characteristic of the youth of the time) near the woodlands of Chelva; nor have enjoyed his skills as a prestigious figure that charmed the little ones (and the not-so-little). They will ignore the fact that he used to attend the Mestalla football stadium, home to Valencia CF, with a child membership card until the tender age of twenty-one (in another hard exercise of hocus-pocus); and be unaware of his hospitable computerisation of all those who do not know, and…

However, that is all going to change. Oliveiro has decided that in 2001, aside from his recent fatherhood and the consequent planting of trees, the illustration of a book must close this classic trilogy, thereby making himself known and starting the millennium on the right foot (his feet are quite big: I already mentioned he was a tall man). This is where the book by the Grimm brothers comes in.

This selection of folk tales brought together by the Brothers Grimm presents a rather terrible universe, some terrifying stories far from the sweetened versions we knew as children. Oliveiro has done a magnificent job as a counterpoint to these tales, a work full of small details he has conscientiously developed, and which has resulted in a collection that could not be any more captivating and impactful. A job well done that will not leave any reader indifferent. A small printed gem, basically.

Oliveiro has decided to live the lie (many try but few succeed). And it it could not be any other way, once he achieves what he desires, we will be able to say ‘and they lived happily ever after’.

Anselmo Burulanda

Self-portrait of the author