“What do the years matter? What really matters is verifying that after all the best age in life is to be alive”, Mafalda.
This Wednesday, one day after Mafalda turned 56 since he first appeared in Primera Plana magazine, its creator, the Argentine cartoonist Joaquín Lavado “Quino”, died at the age of 88.
Mafalda was Quino's most beloved character, a figure who ended up conquering many corners of the world.
But do you really know Mafalda? Yes, you sure know that she hates soup and loves the Beatles and the Mad Bird.
It is not the only thing. BBC Mundo presents other data less known by readers of the most rebellious girl in Latin American graphic humor.
1. Mafalda was conceived to advertise home appliances
The same girl who reflected so much on capitalism, the economy and the world order is the very fruit of the consumer society.
Shortly after the publication in 1963 of the book Mundo Quino, the first graphic humor book by this Argentine cartoonist, Joaquín Lavado was asked to design a family of characters in order to promote the Mansfield electrical appliances from the firm Siam Di Tella in a newspaper strip all with names beginning with M—.
The girl is named Mafalda — after one of the characters in the novel Dar la cara, by David Viñas — but the advertising campaign never saw the light and Quino kept his baby in the drawer.
It is finally a few months later, when Quino is asked to publish a strip in the weekly Primera Plana, that Mafalda becomes newsprint and begins her career of fame. 2. Mafalda lived in San Telmo
Little was known about the home of Mafalda's family, apart from the fact that she lived with her little brother Guille and his parents in department E, in a building where her friend Felipe also lived.
The Mafalda sculpture in San Telmo was inaugurated in 2009.
But not everyone outside of Buenos Aires knows that this building existed — and still exists — in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of San Telmo, at 371 Chile Street, very close to Quino's home.
“Mafalda lived here”, reads a plaque in tribute in the building.
Quino was also inspired by a friend's father's bakery to draw Don Manolo's warehouse.
Today, on the corner of Chile and Defensa streets, a life-size sculpture of Mafalda awaits the arrival of tourists sitting on a bench and has become one of the main attractions of the neighborhood. 3. A book “for adults”
– I'll explain: millibars are a measure of pressure. Depending on the atmosphere, it is said that there is a pressure of so many milli …
– Sorry Dad, I asked you about the millibars; not by the military, ”Mafalda replies.
The always critical Mafalda did not sit too well with some sectors.
In Spain, Franco's censorship forced publishers to place a strip on the cover of Mafalda's first book with which it was declared as a work “For adults.”
Mafalda also had to face censorship in other countries, such as Bolivia, Chile or Brazil.
“From the outset I just had it,” Quino tells about censorship and his early work as a graphic humorist.
“They told me: 'Kid, jokes against the family, not the military, not naked. I was born with self-censorship.” 4. Felipe really existed, and lived in Cuba
Mafalda's best friend loves to fantasize, play the Lone Ranger, and delay schoolwork for as long as possible.
But perhaps what defines Felipe the most are his rabbit teeth and his long face, with disheveled hair.
Those same factions are those of the Argentine journalist Jorge Timossi, who worked for the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina and was a good friend of Quino.
“When I was in Algeria, Mafalda's first little notebook fell on me,” Timossi told Peru21 in an interview before dying in 2011.
“I saw him and I thought, here's something familiar. Shortly after, in Chile, I got an address from him and I sent him a business card of mine in which I put: Quino, confess, son of a p … And by return mail , I got a poster with Felipito, which said: “It's my turn to be like me.” 5. Mafalda even in the soup
Mafalda is everywhere. And not just because his books have been translated into 30 languages.
In the neighborhood of Colegiales, in Buenos Aires, there is a Plaza Mafalda. And in the one in San Telmo there is the sculpture of the girl in life size, by the artist Pablo Irrgang.
But also underground there is a tribute to the strip. At the Peru Subway station, in the Argentine capital, there is a mural of “The World According to Mafalda.”
And in the Paris metro, at the Argentine station, Mafalda observes attentively from a mural figures of science, politics or the arts of Argentina, such as Jorge Luis Borges.