The artist, born Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, died one day after his beloved character turned 56.

Por Alma Sacasa
Septiembre 30, 2020
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Credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images

On Wednesday, Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, better known as Quino, died at age 88. "Family and friends inform us that this morning our Dear Master, Quino, passed away," read a message tweeted by @MafaldaDigital, the official Twitter account for the beloved character created by Quino.

Quino was the son of Andalusian immigrants and adopted his nickname to distinguish himself from his uncle Joaquín Tejón, who was also a graphic designer and painter. In 1964, he created the comic strip Mafalda, about a six-year-old girl. Growing up in an Argentinian middle-class home, Mafalda was concerned about world peace, justice, and human rights, and would always question everything. The strip ran until 1973 and was very popular in Latin America, Europe, Quebec, and Asia; its popularity led to books as well as two animated series.

Quino earned many recognitions for his work, such as the Prince of Asturias Award in Spain and the Official Order of the Legion of Honor in France. "Sometimes I think that I should stop drawing for a while, so as not to live the anguish or fear of repeating myself," Quino said in 2004. "But when I think that I'm going to open the newspaper and my drawings won't be there, it makes me more anxious and I keep drawing. It's like that stationmaster who retires, but comes back every day to see if the trains run on time. I can't imagine waiting for the trains to pass. Besides, there are no trains in my profession."

Many have reacted to the news of the cartoonist's death, including Daniel Divinsky, a former editor of Ediciones La Flor, where the comic was published. "All the good people in the country and in the world will mourn him," Divinsky tweeted.

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Fans also expressed their sadness about his death. "Whole generations are going to mourn it," a fan wrote. "The greatest of Argentina's cartoonists left. The one who taught us to see reality with different eyes, to think, and remove rust from everything. The one who showed us the world, criticizing it and questioning the meaning. Someone who educated us."

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