Our September 2011 banner is by Argentine cartoonist Quino (born 17 July 1932). The banner is a segment from Mafalda, one of the best known and most loved comic strips in Latin America. It originally ran from from 1964 to 1973.
Since September is ‘back to school’ month, we thought we had to honour a classic comic strip where the most vital matters were discussed over the dialectics between family holidays and school.
Mafalda was once, and up to a certain extent it still is, one of Latin America’s foremost examples of comic strip art. The strip’s protagonist is 6-year-old girl Mafalda, a deeply complex character who rebels against the status quo and worries about the future of humanity and the world.
The strip uses the perspectives of a set of children characters to engage with international politics, bridging the worlds of the private and the public, the domestic and the global, through the exploration of the differences between the worlds of adulthood and childhood.
Back in 1980, David Foster analysed several Mafalda strips in an article published by The Journal of Popular Culture (Volume 14, Issue 3, pages 497–508, Winter 1980). According to Foster, Mafalda’s cleverness is based on literary strategies based on what he calls “judicious inverosimilitude.” Foster came back to Mafalda in 1989 in his book From Mafalda to Los Supermachos: Latin American Graphic Humor as Popular Culture (Boulder, Colo.: Lynn Rienner).
Mafalda deserves the critical attention of scholars that do not necessarily focus on comics scholarship as well. Those interested in feminism, gender, child psychology, Latin American studies, international relations, environmentalism, have found a wealth of sources in Quino’s strip. (See for example mentions in Ursula K. Heise’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Ecocriticism”).