Rubén Fdez: “What is it like to be a geek today, if they give points in supermarkets to get Star Wars figures”

CASTELLÓ. Ruben Fdez (Castelló, 1983) returns with another book under his arm. Is about Frequently asked questions about the XXI century, a compilation with the vignettes that since 2018 are shaping his ‘Random Clinic’ at the head of Thursday. After more than a decade absorbed by the energy of FBeautiful Freak, The series with which he started in the satire magazine, now the cartoonist has put aside his more “geek” side to focus his gaze on all those doubts -some series, others not so much- that surely go through our heads. His interrupted career as a cartoonist and cartoonist praised him as one of the great firms that will also visit the Castelló Comic Fair today. Fdez will not be able to sign copies of his new book yet, as it will be published in October. But even so, the illustrator has a lot of material to share. Of this and of other of his works, such as the one dedicated to George R.R. Martin, the cartoonist talks with Castellón Plaza.

The title of your new book leads me to wonder if we are a society that questions things more. It is rare for a journalist to say it, but Are we overly wondering?
-It is not that we ask more, but that we know less and less. The easier the information is to access, the less interest people have in knowing and learning. Right now anyone with a mobile has access to all the knowledge of humanity and yet they are more ignorant than ever. The book exposes all those questions that people have no interest in looking for the answer, because I give it to them.

-In another of your critical series, a book is consumed only when it has been legitimized before by the audiovisual industry, that is, when it has been converted into a series or film. You put by case The maid’s tale. But isn’t the important thing, after all, that it be read?
Actually when I made that page, dedicated to the types of best sellers, rather critical editorial practices. It is decided to take books, decades after being published, to change the cover and put the actor or actress of the series or movie in order to sell more. I think it’s great that people read for whatever reason, but it is critical that this actress is put on when the book obviously does not appear.

-There are times that, as in the reissue of Homeland, it is even advised that the story is on HBO.
-Patria which is a best seller that it has sold a lot and even so it is necessary to put HBO, that it has not done anything. But I can think of a more delusional case. Some time ago I saw a book that featured Harrison Ford. This is the cover of Úonly Witness. Well, it’s not that Harrison Ford appears, because he played her in the movies, but they put a photo in his role as Indiana Jones, in order to sell more.

-LOr what seems obvious is that in addition to entertaining, with your vignettes you seek to create reflection, right?
There are times that yes. What the Random Clinic has is that every week we answer a question and there are times when I invite more reflection, because there is a certain message, but other times it is just stupid, they are crazy jokes. I alternate, each week is a different thing. One of the last ones I did, for example, deals with the ‘Crystal Generation’, it is said that young people are very fragile because they continually complain, but the previous generation that complains about them is even more complaining.

– Would you say that now there is more sensitivity for humor?
There are groups that seem to complain more about jokes, but this is what we said before, this happens because there is a loudspeaker to comment on and people express what they like or dislike all the time. But there are groups like the LGBTIQ + that when they complain, they don’t complain so much about terrible jokes that shouldn’t be made, but about stale jokes that have been made for decades. That is why we should start making other jokes more in keeping with the time and not 40 years ago. The humor has to go according to the society and the jokes expire, sometimes even very quickly. PYou can make a joke in the morning and in the afternoon it is no longer funny, because the context has changed. As a comedian, the job you have is that you have to go according to the times and with the public that is reading you. If they complain about what you do, you can get defensive and defend freedom of expression, or think if it has gone stale.

You started the Random Clinic in 2018, after more than a decade with the Federik Freak series. Was it difficult for you to close this stage or did you come alone?
-When I started the series almost 15 years ago, the figure of geeks was more like strange but endearing people, who in the end could like them even if they were very much their own. But as the years progressed, the geeks began to organize themselves on social networks and although
There are very healthy people who enjoy their hobbies, there are other more toxic people who want to complain about everything, for example if now in Star Wars there are women. I saw that my character veered towards that kind of geek bad person. That’s why I preferred to finish the series before I started to like the character and it was a terrible appearance.

You explained then that the term ‘freak’ no longer makes sense, because it nerd moves millions of dollars.
-Today everyone goes to see Marvel movies and has funkos at home. In the end, what is it like to be a geek today? If you go to Carrefour and you can spend 30 euros on detergent and food and they give you points to get Star Wars figures. It is very widespread. You can also see people on the street wearing Marvel logo t-shirts. If that’s being a geek, it’s not weird anymore. The purpose of the series was gone.

-What future do you predict for comics and fanzines?
-The fanzines were made by novice authors to make themselves known, but right now there is no one who does it because there are social networks. It is cheaper and faster to hang your things on the Internet than to pay for a fanzine that in the end will not feed you and the diffusion will be more limited. And as for the comic in general, I don’t know. The thing is very diffuse, on the one hand you see that many things are published, but on the other, very few people make a living from it. The Internet changes so fast that nothing can be predicted.

There are times when I would say that I need a month of vacation, but in the end you get used to it. It is the job I wanted when I was six years old, few people can have that privilege and be aware of it. I hope it lasts a lifetime.

You dedicated to the author of Game of Thrones your previous book, George RR Martin, you are very slow writing Would you say that you are the opposite of him, that delaying your orders does not suit you?
– Beyond the joke of the book, George Martin I do not think that it is vague. He is 70 years old and has a lot of money. With the sale of his books he and his descendants can live. Of course, you have to continue the saga and finish it, but I see well that if you don’t need the money, take your time to finish it calmly. People complain when there are more books in the world. It’s a bit hypocritical for me to say this after making a book of it, but that’s the way it is.

Well, George RR Martin has said that he is sorry for his delay and promises a different ending than the series …
He regrets that the series has caught up with him. And of course, the end of the series will be different for obvious reasons, because there comes a point where it deviates from the book. Still, I didn’t dislike the end of the series that much. It is good that they are going to be different.

And you, do you see yourself another ten years with the Random Office?
I have things on my mind, but for now I’m fine. I’ve been there for three years and I’m not tired yet. I also have another series with El Jueves, 24 hours with, who just turned ten and I would say I’m not tired either. I’m fine. I have ideas, but hey, I’m happy and at ease. We will see later.

What I can advance you exclusively is that I am going to do another book like George RR Martin’s, but with JK Rowling. I do not know when I will start it, but it will be a series that I will post little by little, every week on the Internet and as soon as I finish I will publish it in a book.


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Rubén Fdez: “What is it like to be a geek today, if they give points in supermarkets to get Star Wars figures”