Comics were popularized in the United States in the 30’s. From political and social strips to the action comics featuring iconic super heroes, from the beginning there has been a broad variety titles for all ages. Latin America is also active in this so called “Ninth Art” and give us a lot of characters that have been entertaining for generations. Here are some examples of Spanish comic book characters developed in Latin America.
1. Argentina | Mafalda
Without any doubt Quino’s Mafalda is the most recognized comic in Argentina even after it ceased publication in 1973. Mafalda is a 6-year old girl worried about world peace and other social issues of the time. Along with all her friends and family they represent Latin American middle class. Mafalda was published from 1964 to 1973 in Argentinian publications Leoplón, Primera Plana and El Mundo.
2. Chile | Condorito
Another Spanish comic books character that has transcended the boundaries of it native country is the Chilean Condorito created by René “Pepo” Ríos. Condorito debuted in 1949 in the comic publication Okey and six years later as its own comic book. Condorito comics are jokes in the form of short independent stories that usually ends with an embarrassed character falling backward with the classic ¡Plop! or the phrase ¡Exijo una explicación! (“I demand an explanation!”).
Today, Condorito is available in 105 newspapers in 19 Hispanic countries and also Canada, United States, Italy and Japan.
3. Colombia | Copetín
Copetín is the most iconic Colombian comic. It was published in the newspaper El Tiempo from 1962 to 1994. This comic, created by Ernesto Franco, featured daily issues and situations of the people from Bogotá through the eyes of a homeless boy or gamín in Colombian Spanish.
4. Cuba | Elpidio Valdés
Created by Juan Padrón in 1970, comic Elpidio Valdés takes us back to the XIX century during the Cuban War of Independence. The main character Elpidio Valdés represents a mambí or a Cuban soldier who fought against Spain during the Ten Year War (1868-1878) and War of Independence (1895-1898). The adventures of Elpidio Valdés were also presented in movies, TV series and cartoons.
5. Mexico | Memín Pinguín
Memín Pinguín was created in 1943 during the golden era of the Mexican comic. The comic tells the adventures of a black boy called Guillermo Pinguín (Memín) and his friends Ernestillo, Carlangas and Ricardo. Despite its controversies due to racial issues, the comic was also known in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Panama and Colombia.
6. Puerto Rico | Turey el taíno
Turey el taíno was a Puerto Rican comic created by Ricardo Álvarez Rivón. It was published as a comic book in 35 issues from 1989 to 1995 and also in the local newspapers El Mundo and El Nuevo Día until 2006. Turey taught about “everyday life of the Taínos (the indigenous habitants of Puerto Rico), their customs, their vocabulary and meanings, and common conflicts of that time.”
7. Venezuela | El Náufrago
El Náufrago is a comic strip with no text created by Jorge Blanco. It started in 1980 on the Venezuelan newspaper El Diario de Caracas. Today El Náufrago is published in the United States under the name The Castaway.
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