It was on September 29, 1964 in Argentina. The bold little girl of six years appeared to question the world. It was Mafalda, who loves the Beatles, peace, the rights of children and women. But hates injustice, soup and James Bond.
She lived with her parents and three years later, won a brother, Guille. Over the years, has been making friends. Felipe was the first. The boy of seven did not like to study and therefore had frequent crises of conscience.
Then came Manolito and Susanita. The first was a merchant’s son, soon learned to like profiteering. At six, he helps his father in the family’s grocery. Intelligence is not his strong suit. His conservatism often irritates Mafalda.
Susanita is the picture of the creation of a girl in society at that time – unfortunately, even today. Inspired by soap operas, her dream is to marry and have children. Mafalda is feminist and does not understand her, as she regards her own mother an example not to be followed by a woman.
Miguelito is the youngest in the group. Jazz lover, he spends time killing time. He uses to philosophize about vague and often useless stuffs. Libertad was the last to arrive. She learned French with her mother, who was a translator of works such as Sartre’s. With her father, she found that there would be a revolution. Libertad appears when least expected and needs no invitation.
Each of these characters is a symbol of the 1960s. Huge demonstrations took place in Europe pushed by the 1968 French May. In Latin America, dictatorships were ruling in many countries, and social injustice increased. The so called communist states were beginning to take steps toward the restoration of capitalism.
How Mafalda was born?
Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, the Quino, created Mafalda in 1962 to illustrate an advertising piece. With the broken contract, the black-haired little girl was kept in his drawer for two years. Until the editor of the weekly magazine Primera Plana allowed her first official appearance.
From Primera Plana, Quino went to publish Mafalda’s cartoons in the newspaper El Mundo. With daily production, Mafalda could express her opinions and blunt her anger on the current topics of the time. This would be the bridge that would make the little girl cross the ocean and reach the world.
Quino’s comic strips were turned into a book, which won over America and soon Europe. The first book was published in Italy in 1969. The girl was known as Mafalda la contestataria (Mafalda, the rebel), title of the book that deserved the presentation of the great writer Umberto Eco.
In 1973, Quino decided to stop the production of the strips. Unlike other cartoonists, he would not leave the drawings in the hands of teams that could continue to work. In its context, Quino realized that Mafalda had fulfilled her role.
He once said Mafalda was still current because society itself had not changed. Capitalism puts us today before the same problems that Mafalda used to question. Quino always repeats that Mafalda is just another of his works, just a drawing. However, the public refuses to accept the opinion of the creator and keeps her very much alive.