So many little details make me happy to live in Barcelona. One of them is a Catalan art form called the auca. These are topical comic strips with a proscribed structure in terms of the number of drawings and the format of the accompanying text (each drawing usually has a rhyming, two-line verse).
The auca was present in some other parts of Spain, even though it was most popular in Catalonia. It has a structure somewhat similar to comics, but has more rigid. The auca includes a number of images that can be evenly divided by 4 (usually 48), all images are of the same size, all fit on one page, and there’s a small piece of text – rodolí, pl. rodolins – underneath every image, usually in the Catalan language and since the 19th century also rhymed…
In the 19th century the auca reached its artistic peak and developed into a complete art form and publishing niche. The themes of auca stories became more varied and included history, biography, traditional moral stories and fables.
These days artists are still producing auques, but none are so charming as those from earlier generations that you can find scattered throughout the city, installed in the walls on painted tiles. One of the most famous is on the Carrer Petritxol. Discovering auques on Barcelona streets, as well as in other towns and cities, is always a fun surprise.