the Camino de Santiago leaves a deep mark for anyone who has ever walked it, whatever route it is, because all of them offer a vital experience that, once finished, brings a “I don’t know what”, a feeling of satisfaction, happiness, joy and fullness. We are not the only ones to say it, you can ask any pilgrim, as for example the two creative people from the comic world who offer us an emotional comic about the Camino de Santiago, “En Camino”.
Two creative pilgrims
Let’s name the two creators of this story. The scriptwriter and Tik-toker Paco Hernández (Lleida, 1977) and the cartoonist José Ángel Ares (Bilbao, 1979), regular collaborators in other stories, invite us to walk the Camino de Santiago with a very special comic. The first one, Paco, is perhaps the one who put the first seed in this project, published in 2020 by Ediciones La Cúpula. As he tells us, he did the Camino in 2001, at a difficult time in his life, and he is convinced that “I have no doubt that it was one of the best experiences of my life”.
Such was the positive impact of his pilgrimage that he decided to make it again, but in comic format. And this time he didn’t do it alone, but with the graphic contribution of José Ángel, who, unlike Paco, has not yet done the Camino. However, José Ángel lives in Santiago de Compostela, and just by walking through the Obradoiro square he can imagine all the goodness that the Camino can mean. Moreover, as he himself says, “Paco’s script has only confirmed it for me”.
The script: a blend of personal experience and fiction
Paco was fascinated by his Jacobean experience and discovered that he had a very good content for a new creation. As he himself says, “the characters embody people I met, experiences I witnessed and moments I witnessed: surprise, laughter, tears, calm, etc… All that and more”.
With this premise in mind, let’s see what the story is about. The main characters of this comic book are Emma and Abby, two girls with their vicissitudes of life who strike up a strong friendship on their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Emma is a comic book artist in her thirties who is going through a life change, a normal person who has just finished a love relationship and who has her desires, dreams and worries. Abby, on the other hand, is a girl with a lot of life experience but who carries some pain silenced inside her, and she will find in Emma the support and warmth she needs.
The chosen route is the The French Way of Santiago from Roncesvalles, since besides being the most popular route and the same one that Paco himself walked, with its month-long duration it gives “enough time for the characters to evolve”. Through all the stages, from the nerves of the first day to the thrilling arrival in Santiago de Compostela, we will find Emma walking day by day, getting tired kilometre after kilometre, sweating under the weight of her backpack and the scorching sun and feeling her feet as she had never felt them before…
But this is not just a physical journey, it is also a spiritual one.
Everything she experiences reconnects Emma to herself, as well as to the world around her and the people she meets, as if in a new reality and a luminous and positive spirituality. This is a path of learning, which makes each pilgrim self-taught of his own experience, as Paco felt at the time and as immortalized in these two protagonists.
The secondary characters are also very important, the people along the way, even the villages, animals and landscapes that are found along the way. All of this is inspired by Paco’s pilgrimage reality, who adds that the people he meets “They are a reflection of all the good things that you will take with you on the Camino, and I say this clearly as a statement because it is… inevitable. Hundreds of thousands of people are an example that we can be better if we put our minds to it, sometimes it’s a matter of simple gestures”.
All the good things you can find in the Camino and in its people are friendship, love, empathy, companionship and generosity, and regarding this last value, Paco himself went “in person to give the comic book to one of those people, who has no idea that this comic book exists and that part of his and his wife’s story has been reflected in it”.
“The road is the one that asks the questions and the road is the one that gives the answers.”
A phrase that every pilgrim understands perfectly, just like Paco. It is not a work of self-help, moralizing or to touch the heartstrings of the reader. It is an argument based on a real experience, with a personal and spiritual background justified by the experience of thousands and thousands of pilgrims who embark on the enriching Jacobean experience.
If you have not yet been a pilgrim, with this reading you will understand us, and you will realize what the Camino de Santiago means for the pilgrim community. “En Camino” is now available and you can buy it here and if you decide to do it, we have all the royal roads at your disposal.
Good reading, and get on the road, pilgrim.
Edificio Centro de Emprendemento, Cidade da Cultura Monte Gaiás s/n. 15707 – Santiago de Compostela.