The Mexican literary world and readers are mourning the death of comic book writer, YA novelist and screenwriter Francisco G. Haghenbeck who passed away last Sunday 4 April at the age of 56, a victim of Covid-19. Mexican author Dan Sam introduces us to Francisco and his work …
By Dan Sam
For many years now, Paco Haghenbeck has been one of the best established figures in the panorama of contemporary Mexican literature and his novels have been translated into several languages. I would say he had three passions: comics; espionage; and the Second World War, particularly relating to the presence of Nazism in Mexico.
He was one of the few Latinos to write a comic book for DC Comics’ Superman, and the successful Mexican Netflix horror series Diablero was inspired by his novel El diablo me obligó [The Devil Made Me Do It].
I spoke to Paco at the end of February this year and told him I was keen to read his novel Sangre helada [Frozen blood]. Always generous, he agreed to send it to me, and we spent time reminiscing about when we first met several years ago at the publishing house where I used to work.
From that moment on, he was always a generous and unassuming person who sought to enthuse his readers through his stories. My first novel was released around the time that he launched Casi Diosa [Almost a Goddess] with HarperCollins, another book for young adults. Paco was a writer who won the love and respect of his thousands of readers through his great works. Writers like him will always be an inspiration for me.
Paco, it hurts so much that you have left before me. I will ask Chester, my dog, to welcome you to one of the many universes that you created. I’m sure you will enjoy it.
(Translation from Spanish by Claire Storey)
So far, the only novels by Haghenbeck available in English translation are two of his adult novels, The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo (translated by Achy Obejas, Simon and Schuster) and Bitter Drink (translated by Tanya Huntington, Amazon Crossing).
We hope that publishers will consider commissioning his YA novels too, such as Deidades menores.
Dan Sam is an author, editor, lecturer and yoga instructor. He has written several popular books on wellness, meditation and yoga. The first part of his YA trilogy, Buenos días Avril, ¡estás en Delhi! (Good Morning Avril, you’re in Delhi!) was published in 2019 by HarperCollins Mexico and HarperCollins Spain. The sequel, Good morning Avril, you’re in Kyoto! continues with the saga of the adventures of this 16-year-old girl who, after India, discovers a new world in Japan. You can follow Dan on Twitter @AvrilBuenos, Instagram @buenosdiasavril and Facebook.