In 2010, a 77-year-old man confronted drug traffickers who wanted to strip him of his ranch in Tamaulipas, the story now serves as inspiration for a Franco-Belgian graphic novel. The story of determination and aplomb, but above all the courage of Don Alejo Garza Tamez, has been of great inspiration to all, and not only in Tamaulipas or the rest of Mexico, to the extent that it will now be told in a European comic that will begin circulating in France and Belgium.
Titled "Le vieil homme et les narcos" (El viejo y los narcos) tells the story of the man who defended his property in the fall of 2010 in the "San José" ranch, located in the vicinity of Güémez y Padilla, in Tamaulipas. The 77-year-old man had been visited by members of an organized group of criminals, who demanded the delivery of his 3,000-hectare farm, giving him 24 hours to leave it of his own accord or he would be "plomeado" (shot).
The rancher was slow to make a decision. He thought very well what he should do. He paid his workers and asked them to leave. He went to the interior of the property where he had raised his daughter and lived as a family, took his shotgun, and began to clean and oil it. The patient, as if he were a character in a Clint Eastwood western, sat down to wait for the return of the criminals, who were shot, wounding two and downing four.
In the fray of about a thousand percussions, the cowboy received two shots, one in the head and one in the chest, falling dead, to defend what was his. The graphic novel "Le vieil homme et les narcos" will be released on February 7, based on the life and death of the "norteño" that was taken as a symbol of national anger against the scourge of violence that began to take shape almost a decade ago.
"It all started eight years ago when I read an article by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, about the life of Don Alejo, it caught my attention because I saw a universal story, about a man who tried to buy with money and threats and who chose to defend himself", said the 39-year-old writer to the Editorial Organization of Mexico, and praised that Don Alejo, "had to choose between dignity and money, and decided to give his life."
There are 58 pages of the album that will reach the Franco-Belgian market, considered the strongest in the world, under the signature of the publisher Nouveau Monde Éditions. "It's different from the American comic since the Spanish version has more vignettes - drawings - per page, which would be equivalent to a 100-page American comic," he details.
The drawings have been developed by the artist Max Vento, who received the script from Vílbor, who developed the story of Don Alejo based on the readings of articles, novels, and Mexican writings. "I did not travel, Mexico has caught my attention too much and I know it from what I've read," said the creator, a professor of Spanish language and literature, passionate about ranchera reading.
The project began in 2015 and ended in September 2018, now on Thursday, February 7 will be public with the first printing of 5 thousand copies that will be distributed in France and Belgium, keeping negotiations for publication in Spain and Mexico. In the comic, Mr. Alejo Garza becomes the character of Alejo García, and his creators have endowed the courageous Mexican man with an interesting past life.
"I have not talked only about Don Alejo, I have invented a past because there is not much information on the network -about him-, there are few interviews since his family had a great disappointment about all of the politicians". Also, the scriptwriter Ricardo Vílbor, who resides in Guadalajara Spain, created the personality of Don Alejo's daughter, also making an emotional reference to what led that determined man to make the decision to give his life to defend the ranch he had occupied since the '70s.
That November 2010, Don Alejo stopped being a rancher and hunter from Tamaulipas, intimidated by crime to become a legend, in the image that undoubtedly captured the courage of a people lacerated by violence. Today his life and death are the subjects of articles, films like Don Wislow and El Desierto del Cazador, or now a comic by a man who: "Was an old Mexican rancher. A worker, honored. A man of his word. ", As it is well described at the beginning of this European work.
"The old man dusted off his hunting shotguns and sat down to wait. The decision was made. There is only one way to live and die, he thought. Standing. like a man".