Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known by his pen name Quino, is an Argentine cartoonist born on July 17, 1932 in Mendoza. His comic strip Mafalda (1964 - 1973) is very popular in Latin America and many parts of Europe.
Quino's strips and cartoons feature no talking animals or animated toys: his main characters are ordinary people with ordinary feelings. If the situations are often surreal or allegorical (like the operating room with Errare humanum est written over the door, or the riot police throwing Valiums into the protesters' open mouths), the personalities and reactions are very real and familiar — only magnified to caricatural proportions. Thus, although the conception of his Mafalda strip superficially resembles those of other children-centered strips, such as Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts — including the kids' incongruous concern for adult topics like world politics — Quino's characters can still be seen by readers as real children, with real (if caricated) children minds and real parents, rather than the stylized "adults in children bodies" of Schulz's world. In that respect, Mafalda is closer to Bill Watterson's Calvin (but without Calvin's easy and frequent escapism into his fantasy world).
Quino's humor is characteristically bitter or even cynical, often dwelling on the misery and absurdity of human existence — independently of one's station in life — in face of stupid authorities and institutions, confining dogmas, and the narrow-mindedness of fellow humans. In Quino's cartoons there is no promise of redemption, no hint that things will ever get better. Misery is essential and eternal, and each cartoon is just a snapshot that misery, caught in a particularly funny moment — which is funny only for its absurdity, and then only for a fleeting moment. His cartoons seem to say, let's have a laugh at life, to forget — just for a moment — how painful it is.
On the other hand, Quino's focus on how grim life is betrays a inner conviction that it ought to be good, and a deep sympathy for life's mostly innocent victims — employees, children, housewives, pensioners, obscure artists, unrecognized heroes — in spite of their very human failings and limitations. Even in his caricatures of oppressive bosses and unfeeling bureaucrats one can glance some sympathy: for they too are, after all, only victims of their own stupidity. Quino's world view is easy to explain in light of Argentine's vicissitudes over the last forty years; and his mixture of pessimism and humanism may be the reason for his immense popularity in Latin America.
Prizes and honors
- The kind of ideas that he works with are one of the most difficult, and I am amazed at their variety and depth. Also, he knows how to draw, and to draw in a funny way. I think that he is a giant. -- Charles M. Schulz
Quino has won many international prizes and honors throughout his career. In 1982, Quino was chosen Cartoonist of the Year by fellow cartoonists around the world, and has won twice the Konex Platinum Prize for Visual Arts. In 2000 he received the second Quevedos Prize of graphical humour.
- Quino's official webpage (English)
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