Mafalda

By Andreina Ibarra

Joaquín Salvador Lavado, known as Quino, was born in 1932 into an Andalusian family that emigrated to Argentina in search of better opportunities. With his heart divided between the two countries, Quino took refuge in drawing and, over the years, became the most important graphic creator in the Spanish language.

Thirty-two years after Quino’s arrival on the American continent, he was commissioned to work on drawings to promote a washing machine. The project failed. It was not until two years later that a true legend began to develop in the weekly Primera Plana pages with his comic strip Mafalda, “born” in 1964. An eloquent character, Mafalda is continually questioning the society around her.

Along with Mafalda, Quino created her friends Miguelito, Susanita, Libertad, Manolito, and Felipe, who represent global culture, capitalism, anarchy, machismo, bureaucracy, naivety, and racism. In 1973, Quino stopped drawing Mafalda, but the comic strip has never stopped being popular. It has been translated into dozens of languages ​​and is an icon of world culture.

After moving away from Mafalda, Quino created comics that kept his style but had anonymous characters mired in routine. The comics were heavily charged with social criticism, however, and this, without a doubt, is Quino’s legacy. 

Quino also received recognition around the world. In 1982, he was elected Cartoonist of the Year in Argentina. In 2005, he was named Knight of the Order of Isabel la Católica. In 2014, he received the title of Knight of the French Legion of Honor. That same year, he received the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, and in 2015, the government of Chile awarded him the Pablo Neruda Artistic Merit Order.

On September 17, 2020, at 88 years old, Quino went to bed for a nap and never woke up. He suffered a stroke as a complication of Parkinson’s disease that he had suffered for some years. Doctors could do nothing to stabilize him. He died at 10:45 on the morning of September 30 in the city of Mendoza.

In San Telmo, Buenos Aires (Argentina), the famous Mafalda statue is always sitting on a bench in the plaza with Susanita and Manolito. After Quino’s death, hundreds of fans came there to leave flowers and say goodbye.

Goodbye, dear Quino!

Read it in Spanish.

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