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Disgraced treasurer finds popularity - as a cartoon

Jessica Jones · 10 Apr 2015, 13:38

Published: 10 Apr 2015 13:38 GMT+02:00

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The latest adventure in the Mortadelo y Filemón series, by illustrator Francisco Ibáñez is called “El tesoro” follows the adventures of Luis Bárcenas, the former Popular Party treasurer who is currently awaiting trial on corruption charges.

Bárcenas was imprisoned in June 2013 after being accused of running an illegal slush fund and was released on a €200,000 ($230,000) bail in January 2015.

In March, the judge in the case ruled that Bárcenas should stand trial on charges of tax fraud and embezzlement and referred the case to state prosecutors.

The latest edition of the detective series – its 200th – was released on Wednesday, smashing records with 10,000 copies sold on its first day alone.

The original print run of 50,000 copies has been increased by 40,000 according to Spanish daily, El Periódico.

Mortadelo y Filemón, known as Mort and Phil in English, is one of the most popular Spanish comic series’, published in more than a dozen countries since it first appeared in 1958 in the pages of the magazine "Pulgarcito".

It follows the adventures of two hapless secret agents, Mortadelo, the tall, bald master of disguise and his short, bossy sidekick, Filemón.

The comics have been made into an animated television series, as well as two live action films; Mortadelo y Filemón: The Big Adventure (2003) and Mort and Phil Mission: Save Earth (2008).

The 200th edition of the comic series was unveiled by its creator, Francisco Ibáñez, in Madrid on Tuesday, April 7th and, according to the latest rankings on Amazon, is currently the bestselling book in Spain.

Story continues below…

In "The Treasurer", Mort and Phil’s boss, El Súper, instructs them to locate the missing money from the treasury of the party in government.

As well as sending up Bárcenas, who appears in cartoon form complete with signature quiff, the comic lampoons Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who is transformed into the character Mamerto Rojoy. 

Other Spanish PP politicians make an appearance such as Secretary General of the PP, María Dolores de Cospedal, who appears as the character Demetria Costipal.

In the comic, the pair of PP politicians suspect their party treasurer of being behind the missing money, but before Mort and Phil can catch him, he escapes to the "Seiselles" islands, where he is greeted with fanfare and a red carpet by the island's banks. 

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Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

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