The renowned Argentine comedian died at the age of 88, as announced by his editor on his Twitter account.
He created the most famous cartoon character in Argentina and one of the most beloved in the Spanish-speaking world: Mafalda, the most rebellious girl in Latin American graphic humor.
This Wednesday Joaquín Lavado, better known by his nickname and pseudonym: ” Quino “, passed away.
The 88-year-old cartoonist died as a result of a stroke in Buenos Aires, the place where his most popular creation resided.
Despite the fact that Quino published his beloved Mafalda comics half a century ago (between 1964 and 1973), they never lost their validity.
And is that many of the astute and ironic reflections of the little girl on topics such as capitalism, the economy and the world order are still as valid today as they were when they were originally written.
That explains, in part, why for Argentines Mafalda is a national icon , on a par with flesh and blood idols such as Maradona, Fangio or Gardel.
And why its strips are part of the Argentine essence, like mate and dulce de leche.
In fact, in stores that sell products for tourists it is common to see not only Mafalda's books but also a whole series of objects decorated with this emblematic character .
Mafalda never stopped asking questions that made adults uncomfortable.
Mafalda's fame was such that Quino could never escape his most famous character: despite the fact that he had stopped making the comic strip 47 years ago – he said because he ran out of ideas – none of his later works received that same recognition.
This shy son of Andalusian immigrants, born in the central-western province of Mendoza, discovered his vocation when he was very young, thanks to the influence of his uncle Joaquín Tejón, who was a painter and graphic designer.
In fact, he received his nickname, Quino, to distinguish him from his namesake , with whom he would move at age 15, after his mother died of cancer and his father of a heart attack, barely three years apart.
In the few interviews he gave throughout his life, Quino revealed that he hated going to school and that is why the character he most identified with from his famous cartoon was Felipe, Mafalda's friend who suffered from having to go to school. the school.
The son of Andalusian immigrants, Quino was born in Mendoza and his name became known in many parts of the world.
As a young man, and with several comics of his creation, he moved to the capital , Buenos Aires, where he looked for work in newspapers, magazines and advertising agencies.
Like many other young people in the interior of the country, Quino lived in boarding houses, where he shared a room with three or four companions.
At age 22 (in 1954) he managed to get his first drawing published in the magazine This is, where he continued working for three years.
Then he published political cartoons in another magazine: Rico Tipo.
But his rise to fame would come in the most unexpected way: through publicity.
Mafalda is born
A friend introduced him to an ad agency looking for a cartoonist to create an undercover advertising campaign for the Mansfield appliance company.
The idea was to create a cartoon about a family using these products , to offer it for free to newspapers and magazines.
The artist had to fulfill two objectives: the name of the person who starred in the cartoon had to start with “Ma”, like the brand, and it had to show the life of a middle-class Argentine family.
Quino invented Mafalda and her famous family.
Ediciones de la Flor began publishing Mafalda in 1970 and it remains its most famous work.
The unusual name of its protagonist came from a character in an Argentine film that the cartoonist remembered seeing: “Dar la cara”.
The funny thing is that in the end the campaign was not carried out.
But when a colleague offered to publish some of his work in Primera Plana magazine, Quino introduced Mafalda, and thus, on September 29, 1964 – 56 years and one day ago – it came to light who would become the fictional character most popular in your country.
Despite the enormous success of the strip, Quino resisted the fame it brought.
For years he hung a sign in his study that read: “For reasons of shyness , reports of any kind are not accepted .”
“I chose to draw because talking is difficult for me,” he acknowledged one of the times that he was encouraged to give an interview.
In another report, she said that she had decided that her protagonist should be female due to the influence of the women's liberation movement of the sixties, and because “women are smarter.”
Quino in 2009, together with the endearing Mafalda.
Over nearly a decade, Quino published a total of 1,928 strips starring Mafalda.
His popular cartoons about the girl with progressive ideas were also compiled into books, just as successful.
Quino's work crossed borders and Mafalda became a publishing phenomenon in the rest of the Spanish-speaking world.
But the success was not restricted to Spanish either: it was translated into more than 35 languages, including English, Italian, French, Hebrew, German, Guarani and Korean.
Finally, on June 25, 1973, Quino said enough and published his last story about Mafalda , his parents, his little brother Guille, and his close friends Felipe, Susanita, Miguelito and Manolito, among others.
Years later, he would explain that making a strip with characters ” is a very great slavery ” and would portray himself dressed as a prisoner with vignettes instead of stripes.
But not even stopping drawing Mafalda diminished the interest and admiration for her creation.
In 2014, when Argentina's most famous girl turned 50, Quino was recognized with one of the greatest cultural distinctions in the Hispanic world: the Prince of Asturias Award, awarded by Spain.
That year he also inaugurated the 40th International Book Fair of Buenos Aires, an event that always attracted very long queues every time the cartoonist appeared to sign copies of his books.
Quino also received the Official Order of the Legion of Honor, the most important recognition that the French government grants to a foreigner.
“Quino died. All the good people in the country and in the world will mourn him, ” wrote his editor, Daniel Divinsky, on Wednesday announcing his death.
As able, Mafalda herself would reflect: “After all, humanity is nothing more than a meat sandwich between heaven and earth.”