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Quino, the creator of Mafalda who transcended borders, died


It was confirmed by its editors Daniel Divinsky and Kuki Miler. The cartoonist was 88 years old.- Goodbye to Quino: how were his last hours

Juliet Roffo

09/30/2020 - 11:42

  • Clarí

  • Culture

How long is an autobiography?

Perhaps it can be synthesized in a vignette.

There is one of Mafalda in which Guille, with the walls of the whole house recently scribbled, asks his mother, who looks at the stunned landscape: “

Isn't it incredible how much a pencil can have inside?


Quino must have felt something of that the night in 1935 that his parents left him and his two brothers in the care of his uncle to go to the movies.

That uncle, a

painter and cartoonist

, decided that he would entertain his nephews by drawing pictures for them.

Quino was three years old and that night from Mendoza he knew that he would also draw


Even with all that determination, it was impossible to know that

his cartoons would be translated into more than 35 languages

and that, only by the hand of his most inexhaustible creation, he would achieve that one in two Argentines had a book of his.

Putting in numbers the legacy of Quino, who

died today at the age of 88 after having suffered a stroke last week

, is more a journalistic vice than an act of justice: neither those numbers - nor these 16,000 characters - are enough.

"Isn't it amazing how much a pencil can have inside?"

But for that work to gain notoriety, time was lacking.

Before, at the age of 6, Quino decided that he would dedicate himself to comics.

And when he realized that he had to know how to read and write for that, he endured going to elementary school: he

didn't like classes and he was too shy

to make friends.

At 9 he made a pact with his mother

: she agreed to let him draw on the poplar table in the kitchen if he brushed her every time he finished.

At 10 he fell in love with Mirtha Legrand and when he was 12 his mother, Andalusian and Republican, died of long-term cancer.

My second dad left.

Thanks for everything #Quino


🖤 ​​

- Miguel Rep (@miguelrep) September 30, 2020

Three years later, of a sudden heart attack,

his father, Andalusian and Republican



The family home, organized around the radio in which news about the Spanish Civil War and the grandmother who told communist stories was heard, was dissolved: Quino was once again in the care of his uncle.

He had already dropped out of the Mendoza School of Fine Arts because the theoretical classes bored him.

The beginning

At his uncle's house, he drew the comics that he would bring to Buenos Aires the first time he tried his luck, when he was 19 years old.

Neither newspapers, magazines, nor advertising agencies were interested, so he returned to his native Mendoza and did the colimba.

But with more drawings and money that one of his older brothers lent him, he was encouraged to go back to Buenos Aires: he

lived in boarding houses where he shared a room with three or four people


When things were a little better for him, he went to a room with fewer companions.

On November 9, 1954, when Quino

was 22 years old

, the magazine

Esto es

published a first drawing of

his - for which he was paid 30 pesos in national currency - and defined it as follows: "Reveal a new Argentine cartoonist with penetrating ingenuity in the line laconic ”.

That laconicism would always accompany him.

He captured it in strips like the one in which the hammer and sickle raised by two monks who work the earth crossed in the air and put the cry of their religious superior in the sky.

Or the emblematic conversation in which Mafalda teaches Miguelito that

a policeman's truncheon is the “stick to dent ideologies”


Or when, without a single written word, Quino sets a refined lady to give instructions to his maid and, on returning to the living room, he finds that even the characters in his reproduction of Guernica have been ordered: that was one of his Favorite vignettes.

Joaquín Lavado died at the age of 88.

The cartoonist and graphic humorist had his own reproduction of Guernica on one of the walls of his studio: Picasso was the artist that Quino would have wanted to be if he had not been the artist he was.

He was also laconic in his life: for years there was a sign in that same studio that read

"For reasons of shyness, reports of any kind are not accepted



In an interview, several decades ago, he said: "I chose to draw because talking is difficult for me."


This Is

, in 1957 he went to

Rico Tipo

, where he published political cartoons and got close to


, one of the cartoonists he most admired: for years Quino's dream had been to ink the original drawings of his idol.

Shortly after, in 1962, Miguel Brascó introduced it to the Agens advertising agency.

There they were looking for someone to draw the cartoon that the Mansfield line of appliances - from Siam Di Tella - was about to launch.

They would offer it free to newspapers and magazines, and the cartoonist had to fulfill two conditions: the name of the person who starred in the strip had to start with "MA", like the brand, and it had to show the life of a middle-class Argentine family .

Quino remembered a baby called "Mafalda"

that appeared in the movie "Dar la cara", scripted by David Viñas, and named the

most popular fictional character ever invented in Argentina


Quino died.

All the good people in the country and in the world will cry for it.

- Daniel Divinsky (@ DanielDivi1) September 30, 2020

Mansfield never launched the campaign, but in our favor, what was done was done.

So when Julián Delgado, a friend that Quino had made in San Telmo and who was a bit of a baker and a bit of a journalist, asked him if he didn't have some drawings to publish in the weekly

Primera Plana


Quino opened the drawer and left there the girl that started with eme


The birth of Mafalda

Mafalda's first cartoon

was printed in the September 29, 1964 issue, a year after its author published his first book with compiled strips,

Mundo Quino


The last Mafalda cartoon was published by

Siete Días

Ilustrado almost ten years later, on June 25, 1973. By then, with works that had nothing to do with “La Mafalda”, as its Cuyo inventor called him, Quino had published two other books: "Don't yell at me" and "Yo que tú ...".

There were

1,928 strips starring the girl

who, more than fifty years later, is printed in books historically edited by De la Flor in Spanish, but also in English, Korean, Italian, Finnish, French, Hebrew, German , in Norwegian, in Guarani and the languages ​​follow.

The girl who made Argentine girls, when they ask the kind of questions that a little inopportune and a little make their closest adults proud, say “Mafaldita”.

The girl's friend who wants to have many children and a husband and no job outside the home and who still nicknames "Susanita" a woman who aspires to care for a large family.

The girl who, when she grew up, would have a room of her own.

The Argentine brunette that is most stamped on mugs, T-shirts, diaries, bookmarks and mates that are sold at artisan fairs and international airports.

The girl we want to be the piece of the country that those who come to know it will take away.

Some strips of Mafalda

"Why don't we have a car?" Mafalda asked her mother.

As soon as he began to devise the campaign for Mansfield, Quino had thought of an older brother for that middle-class family that takes out a loan to buy their first car, that struggles until they reach vacations in the Argentine sea, that is based in public school , who has a father who every so often buys pills to calm his nerves, a mother who comes back scandalized from the supermarket because prices do not give truce and a daughter who warns that mother surrounded by clothes to wash and iron and asks her what she would do if she lived .

Mafalda was going to have an older brother but its author considered that the

exclusive role should fall on a woman


"Women are smarter," he said in an interview, and also said that the women's liberation movement during the 1960s led him to make that decision.

In the almost ten years in which

Quino drew Mafalda

, his family and his friends until the

fear of repeating

himself made him close that artistic stage, things happened.

Some: the first book that compiled the vignettes and that Jorge Álvarez edited sold out in two days, which meant that the first printing of the second book was 30,000 copies;

Quino made



for agencies

that wanted to advertise shirts, pens, and rugs, and bought Sigmund Freud books to better understand his ideas about humor and jokes;

He also bought reading books for boys his characters' age to find out what they were learning at school.

Brascó intervened again, when he managed to get the newspaper

El Mundo to

publish Mafalda after

Primera Plana

prevented its publication in a Cordovan newspaper and Quino got angry;

Channel 11 of Argentine TV made Mafalda debut on TV and the author thought it was "a sweetened version" of her character;

Quino knew that

Felipe was the character with whom he most identified

because of that unlivable suffering when going to school, that Manolito was the one who amused him the most, and that Miguelito was, because of his sweetness, the one he loved the most.

Quino and Mafalda.

He also knew that he would not do another strip with characters because - he would say years later - "it is a very great slavery."

Perhaps that feeling led him to portray himself dressed in a prison suit that, instead of stripes, had vignettes.

During those years, Alicia Colombo, the doctor in Chemistry that Quino had married at age 27, made breakfast before going to work at the National Atomic Energy Commission.

Quino read the newspaper: first the news about international politics, then the comics and film and music reviews.

The readers' letters were a source of inspiration:

"They set the tone for everyday life

," he once said.

The Bible also inspired him: the scriptures, he said,

"have everything: sex, corruption, politics, violence



He and Alicia, who were together until her death in 2017, had no children.

"I'm scared.

Fear of ruining the life of someone that I have not even asked permission to create ... I could never be sure that I was not wrong, "he replied when asked why.

With the same doubts, he once said: "I think I'm an atheist, but I'm not sure."

But it was less insecure by proclaiming itself anti-Peronist during the last Perón government.

After Mafalda stopped being published as a daily strip, things also happened.

The Franco regime, which had ordered the cover of its books in Spain to be covered, used Guille's image for propaganda:

Quino made his anger public.

When José López Rega was Minister of Social Welfare, he let the artist know that he wanted Mafalda to be the image of a press campaign.

Quino refused.

A few days later, an armed group broke down the elevator door of his apartment

: he and Alicia traveled to Milan, from where they came and went for years.

In addition to an exile, that departure was a way for Quino to travel from winter to winter so that the light bugs wouldn't hover over his worksheets.

And a way of living seven blocks from Leonardo's “The Last Supper”, which he visited once a week.

It was in that Italian city that Umberto Eco, several years later, was the master of ceremonies during Mafalda's 30th birthday.

And it was from that city that Quino, exceptionally, dusted off his baby to illustrate the international edition that Unicef ​​launched of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

He redrew it on April 17, 1987: it was Good Friday of the carapintada uprising in Campo de Mayo.

“Yes to democracy!

Yes to Justice!

Yes to freedom!

Yes to life!"

, says Mafalda, on her stool to make proclamations, in the last vignette of that strip.

Manolito and Mafalda in class.

"Women are smarter," Quino said about why Mafalda was the protagonist of the strip.

By then, Quino had been publishing his comics in


for seven years


On its pages he drew, for example, a couple in which the groom smiles with enthusiasm and the bride, dressed in white, looks upset and has a bouquet in her hand that is not made with flowers but with plugs that lead to a blender. a washing machine, an iron and a toaster.

In 2009, in Viva, he wrote a letter entitled

"See you later, friends"

: he said goodbye to the fear of repeating himself, as had happened with Mafalda.

"I consider this attitude as the most honest that I can assume at this time,

" he said in his text.

She had already published sixteen other books that condense her graphic humor beyond Mafalda's books.

He had already drawn in



Tía Vicenta




How long is a trajectory?

Quino was the first of the Argentines to be distinguished with the Bicentennial Medal.

He was recognized by the City of Buenos Aires, by the Province of Buenos Aires and by his native Mendoza.

He received the Platinum Konex.

The Guadalajara International Book Fair awarded him La Catrina, its recognition of the Cartoon.

The University of Alcalá de Henares gave him the Quevedos Award, one of the most important for Hispanic American graphic humor.

The Angoulême International Comic Festival organized the 50th anniversary of Mafalda.

Spain gave him the Prince of Asturias Award.

And yet the most accurate yardstick to measure Quino as an artist was guessed at the human snake that occupied the aisles of any book fair in which he sat, cold beer can and black fiber through, to receive his readers:

He gave them a kiss, took a photo and signed their books


Those rows - that trajectory - did not measure meters but generations.

Mafalda was an animated short and a television feature film


It was wrapper for sour candy and a computer game when games came on floppy disks.

She was proposed as a Buenos Aires Illustrious Citizen in 1988 but, given her fictional status, the project was not approved.

It was the face of campaigns to promote breastfeeding.

It is a mural in the passage that connects subway A to D, along with Florencio Molina Campos and Hermenegildo Sábat and Luis Benedit, and a square in Colegiales bears her name.

When forty years of its creation were completed, each of the ten books that compile its daily vignettes had, in Argentina alone, two million copies sold.

He has a statue in Chile and Defensa, half a block from the building in which Quino lived with Alicia and which he drew as the entrance door to that apartment we have all entered.

Mafalda in Chile and Defense.

For its creator - this obituary will not say "for his father", a nickname that Quino rejected when saying that a father had invented the creature for something - Mafalda was the main reason for his readers to love him and queue up to let him know .

It was also, the artist said, the biggest reason why all his other works did not receive so much attention.

It was not my intention for Mafalda to last that long.

I expected the world to improve

, but liberal policy is making the rich increasingly rich, and the poor increasingly poor, "he told Folha de Sao Paulo in 1999.

The reflection, so long later, seems intact.

Mafalda with a photo of Quino in her hand.

Once, in a Chinese movie, Quino saw one of the characters go into a business to complain that they had lowered his bottle of liquor with water.

He immediately thought of the cartoon in which he made Manolito take advantage of the drop of wax from cleaning the floor on a tin of quince paste to highlight the price: brighter it seemed of better quality.

He knew, at that moment, that a good part of his global massiveness resided in those stoked that can occur in the Asian giant or in a Buenos Aires warehouse.

He had painted his village

, and learned sitting in the cinema that he had painted the world.

Another time, Julio Cortázar was asked what he thought of Mafalda and he replied: “

It doesn't matter what I think of Mafalda.

The important thing is what Mafalda thinks of me


Is that the girl who came to inoculate us with electrical appliances ended up drawing the line that separates good from evil.

Because we saw her disheveled and in pajamas shouting “Good morning!

Have earthly injustices already been abolished? ”, Or sitting next to the radio that brings distressing news of the Vietnam war, or again on her bench, saying:“ I want to congratulate the countries that lead world politics ”, and in the next vignette he concludes: "So I hope there are ever reasons".

A fictional character became the mirror

to look at.

Thinking like Mafalda - or thinking like we think Mafalda would have thought - became aspirational.

Nobody invented for us what Quino invented for us:

a stick to try to be better that is now over fifty years old and has not found a replacement


All of that was inside his pencil.

Nothing less.

Quino by Quino

Look also

In photos: Quino, the creator of Mafalda who transcended borders

Source: clarin

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