October 21, 2020

Quino, the creator of Mafalda, dies at 88

The famous graphic artist Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known as Quino, died this Wednesday at the age of 88 after a lifetime dedicated to graphic humor and being known worldwide for the strips of little Mafalda as confirmed on Twitter who was its editor, Daniel Divinsky.

Joaquín Salvador Lavado was born in Mendoza, Argentina, in 1932. Son of Andalusian parents, republicans and anticlericals by conviction, he grew up in an environment that always encouraged him to reflect on authority -emanating from whoever emanated-, its nature and the reasons for the injustice. It all started as an advertising commission in 1962 for the Mansfield appliance brand. They put several requirements: create a comic strip in the style of Charlie Brown, starring a family and whose names begin with the letter M, alluding to the company.

Perhaps that is why his most popular character, Mafalda, is a specialist in questioning the order of things, in not accepting them as they are because they have always been that way. “The Spanish Civil War marked me a lot”, says Quino himself in the documentary Looking for Quino directed by Boy Olmi. “Very soon I began to wonder about good and evil, Abel and Cain. And God, who distinguishes between what is right and what is wrong. Well, that is the role that has been assigned to him, I do not know if with reason or not. You would have to ask him. ”

As a child they already called him Quino, to distinguish him from his uncle Joaquín Tejón, a painter and graphic designer from whom he learned what would become his trade. He would sign as Quino for the first time in 1954, in the weekly Esto Es. Anti-warfare, empathy and the reasoned fight against hatred for hatred and unreason, always occupied his sandwiches.

In 1964, a cartoon of Mafalda was published for the first time, a character that would make her a success that would cross borders by being published throughout South America, but it would take until 1970 for her arrival in Spain by Esther Tusquets and from the publisher Lumen. It came at an appropriate time: five years before Franco died. As happened in Argentina, Mafalda was the mirror of a progressive youth concerned about the future beyond the Franco dictatorship. In fact, as the BBCDuring the dictatorship years, publishers were forced to place a strip on the cover of Mafalda labeling it as a work “for adults.”

Quino’s characters have also been misinterpreted to represent totally opposite political ideas. This is what happened when stickers of Mafalda or Snoopy began to be sold as if they belonged to the Falange. “At the time of the 80s these symbols were used by a certain right around the Salamanca district (Madrid). They put these figures with Spanish flags, but with Franco’s shield”, told this newspaper the journalist Carlos García Santa Cecilia about a story published by him that was on the cover of El País on April 10, 1985. As it appears in the text, Quino then said he was “deeply upset” by this, since his characters “are in favor democracy and are, of course, anti-fascists. ”

The influence of Mafalda has been shown on numerous occasions to go beyond her cartoons and Quino, who in 2014 received the Prince of Asturias Award, is already part of the collective imagination of more than one generation around the world.


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