By Claudio Iván Remeseira | Posted July 17, 2013, at 8.55 a.m. ET
Joaquín Salvador Lavado, ‘Quino,’ the creator of the internationally beloved comic-strip character Mafalda, just turned 80. The son of Andalusian Spanish immigrants to Argentina, he was born in the western city of Mendoza on July 17, 1933. he received the nickname that would make him famous from his parents, who wanted to distinguish him from his uncle Joaquín Tejón, a painter and commercial artist. It was this uncle who taught the little Quino his first notions of drawing.
After attending art school in his native Mendoza, when he was 21 years old Quino moved to the country’s capital, Buenos Aires. In the 1950s, Buenos Aires was the center of a thriving publishing industry. It was also the heyday of the comics, for which Quino started to work as a freelancer.
In 1964, after ten years of drawing cartoons for different outlets, Quino created a comic strip centered around a witty little girl called Mafalda. Originally conceived for a political humor magazine, the strip was soon picked up by the weekly “Primera Plana” (Front Page), arguably the most important Latin American news magazine of the 1960s, also famous as the champion of the Latin American Boom authors.
Mafalda ran as a daily newspaper strip for another nine years and was regularly collected in oblong-shaped cartoon books that today constitute a true collector’s item. The strip was translated into more than 30 languages and in 1976 its main character was chosen by UNICEF as spokesperson for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In collaboration with Cuban cartoon director Juan Padrón, between 1986 and 1988 Quino also produced a series of animation shorts inspired by the original cartoon.
After discontinuing Mafalda, Quino has kept drawing his signature op-ed style cartoons, characterized by an acerbic sense of humor that usually pokes fun out of real-life situations, marriage, technology, authority, and food. Since 1982, the Argentine newspaper Clarín has published his cartoons weekly.
Quino has been married to his wife, Alicia Colombo, for more than 50 years. They never had children, but Mafalda and her friends are somehow their own family.