This week we learned of the death of Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, better known as Quino, the creator of Latin America’s beloved comic strip character Mafalda. The Argentine cartoonist was 88.
In Mafalda: A Social and Political History of Latin America’s Global Comic—first published in Argentina in 2014 and appearing here in English for the first time—Isabella Cosse analyzes the comic’s vast appeal across multiple generations. From Mafalda breaking the fourth wall to speak directly to readers to express her opposition to the 1966 Argentine coup, to Spanish students’ protest signs bearing her face, to the comic’s cult status in Korea, Cosse provides insights into the cartoon’s production, circulation, and incorporation into social and political conversations. Analyzing how Mafalda reflects generational conflicts, gender, modernization, the Cold War, authoritarianism, neoliberalism, and much more, Cosse demonstrates the unexpected power of humor to shape revolution and resistance.
Cosse shared this remembrance on Instagram:
He’s gone. Quino, the creator of Mafalda, one of the best artists in Argentina, has left us. We knew it could happen, but that doesn’t take the pain away. Soon, the media became filled with loving messages and memories. Quino and his creations have left a strong mark on many generations all over the world. I thought immediately in one of his self-portraits. He made few of them but he was somehow present in each of his characters. I recalled one in particular. On it, he is wearing prison clothes with his drawings on them. When I was writing about Mafalda, I had this image very present in my mind. I believe it expresses very well Quino`s relationship with his creations, his sense of humor and irony, and his peculiar philosophical approach, which he managed to convey through his art. His is a very original production, difficult to label. He will always be with us in these creations. And, then, he will come alive in the hearts of each and every one of us.
Earlier this year, Cosse wrote about how Mafalda was harnessed to encourage Argentinians to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about this iconic character by ordering a copy of Mafalda. Save 30% with coupon code E19COSSE.