Argentine comics

Argentine comics

Argentine comics refers to comic strips, comic books and graphic novels created in Argentina. There is a rich history of comics in Argentina, where they are referred to as historietas.


Early years

The first cartoons to appear in Argentina were editorial cartoons in political satire magazines at the end of the 19th century. These cartoons, originally single panels, quickly evolved to multiple panel constructions with sequential action. Many used methods such as text indicating dialogue emanating from the speaker's mouth, or text below the drawings for dialogue and explanation.

In the 1900s, comics continued to be largely political satire and commentary, but strips about normal life, called "cuentos vivos" (lively tales) began to appear. Text still frequently appeared below each drawing with dialogue or explanation. Comics continued to be published exclusively in magazines. Also during this time, translations of comics from the United States, such as "Cocoliche" (Happy Hooligan) by Frederick Burr Opper showed up in Argentina.

During the 1910s, the amount of comics made in Argentina grew by leaps and bounds. In 1912, the first Argentine comic strip proper, with speech balloons and recurring characters, "Las aventuras de Viruta y Chicharrón", by Manuel Redondo, began being published in "Caras y Caretas". Later comics, such as "Aventuras de un matrimonio aun sin bautizar" (later known as "Aventuras de Don Tallarín y Doña"), followed, and by 1917, "Las diabluras de Tijereta" was one of the lone strips that still put text at the bottom of each picture. Billiken, a children's magazine started in 1919, already included some cartoons.

The popularity of comics grew in the 1920s, and children's comics gained popularity. The newspaper La Nación started publishing comics daily in 1920, and comics, both foreign and domestic, were a big reason for the popularity of the newspaper "Crítica". In 1928, the first publication containing solely comics, the magazine "El Tony", began its run of more that 70 years. The 20s also saw the first characters created ("Andanzas y desventuras de Manolo Quaranta") and drawn ("Panitruco") by Dante Quinterno. Also in 1928 Quinterno's most important character, Patoruzú, first appeared.

The 1930s saw most important newspapers featuring comic strips. Patoruzú had its own magazine, which began publication in November 1936. It became one of the most important humor magazines of the 1940s, with a record of over 300,000 copies printed for one edition. Also during the late 1930s superheroes from the United States, such as Superman and Batman, began appearing in local magazines such as Pif Paf (1939), giving a place to action comics.

Golden era

The Argentine comic had its golden age between the mid 1940s and the 1960s, when a number of foreign artists, including many Italians, arrived in Argentina following World War II.

The Intervalo magazine appeared in 1945, containing longer dialogs and text in comparison with comics edited in other houses. Patoruzito magazine also appeared in 1945, containing a number of children's comics in addition to the adventures of young Paturuzú. In 1948, local superhero Misterix got his own magazine, which also included other action comics, and which would become one of the most important the time period. Initially, it contained several Italian comics translated into Spanish, but later that gave way to local creations.

The late 1940s saw the arrival to Argentina of a circle of Italian writers and artists, which further improved the quantity and quality of the comics in Argentina. These included Mario Faustinelli, Hugo Pratt, Ivo Pavone, and Dino Battaglia, who were known as the "Venice Group". [ [ Lambiek comic shop] ] Some Argentines, notably Alberto Breccia and Solano López were considered honorary members of the Venice Group. A number of new publications appeared, such as "D'Artagnan" and "Fantasía". During this decade, Héctor Oesterheld, one of the most prolific writers, and Solano López also created the "Hora Cero" magazine. Between the mid 1950s and mid 1960s some of the most important Argentine comics were created, such as Héctor Oesterheld's El Eternauta (1957), Héctor Oesterheld and Breccia's Mort Cinder (1962) in the action genre, and Quino's Mafalda (1964) and Mordillo (1966) in the humor genre, and García Ferré's (1962)"Anteojito y Antifaz" for children.

Around 1960, of the 6 best selling publications, only one was foreign (The Donald Duck magazine). Nevertheless, the arrival of foreign publications, mainly from Mexico, with better paper and ink quality and lower prices, started a financial crisis in the Argentine comic industry, and several publishers, including Oesterheld's "Ediciones Frontera", had to close or be sold, which forced several artists and writers to go abroad.

Political instability

After the coup d'etat of 1966, the comics industry suffered from both some censorship and from the economic depression. The 1968 biographic graphic novel of Che Guevara by Oesterheld and Breccia was removed from circulation by the government and the originals destroyed. Nevertheless, action comic magazines such as "El Tony" and "D'Artagnan" continued to publish both foreign and local creations. In 1967 Robin Wood's Nippur de Lagash debuted in "D'Artagnan", and in 1969 a sequel to the Eternauta was published.

In 1971 Fontanarrosa's Inodoro Pereyra premiered, in the Córdobean "Hortensia" magazine, one of the few successful Argentine magazines from outside Buenos Aires. In 1972 satirical humor magazine "Satiricón" was first published, which later had problems with government censors. Also that year, Caloi created "Clemente" as a secondary character to his "Bartolo". In 1973, Quino decided to put an end to Mafalda, and moved to Italy.

From their exile in Europe, Muñoz and Sampayo created Alack Sinner in 1974, which was later published in Argentine magazines such as "Super Humor" and Fierro. In 1975 Trillo and Altuna started one of the longest lived newspaper strips, El loco Chávez, published in Clarín.

In 1976, while working on a politicized sequel of the Eternauta that was being published in Skorpio, Héctor Oesterheld was kidnapped and disappeared by forces of the military government. A year later his four daughters, all leftist students, disappeared as well.

1978 saw the birth of satirical humor magazine Humor by Ediciones de la Urraca. One of the first attempts of erotic comic was the 1979 "Las puertitas del Sr. López" by Altuna-Trillo, later published in "Humor" and "Fierro" (1984).


The return of democracy in late 1983 ended years of military censorship. A new cultural wave started in several arts. Applying the specialized anthology format in the tradition of magazines like the French Pilote, Argentine creators began publishing Fierro; The magazine had a 100 issue run, from 1984 until 1991. In 2006, the newspaper publisher Página/12 initiated a second volume of the magazine.

The Rise of Self-Publishing

Argentine creators started producing self-published zines in the 1980’s. [ [] History of Argentine Comics es icon] This trend intensified during the 90's with magazines such as "El Cazador" or "Ultra". Participants in this trend attribute the boom to both economic and cultural factors.

On the economic side, technological developments and national crisis facilitated the dissemination of new methods. Increased availability of personal computers enabled creators to format, edit and print their own work. Other factors that contributed to the boom resulted from a crisis in traditional methods of production and distribution. In the 90's, pro-trade reforms made it more difficult for local products to compete. Suffering a similar fate to many sectors of the Argentine media and industry in general, the comic magazines still working during the 80’s slowly decreased in quality and died off (e.g. Fierro, D'Artagnan, Nippur). While many creators found work in other countries or changed professions, others continued to reach local audiences by publishing and distributing their own work. Another side-effect of the crisis was that many creators started offering workshops for children and teens because job markets were tight. Passing on their own methods, creators armed a new generation of creators with self-publishing techniques.

Cultural factors that creators cite as shaping the self-publishing boom include a desire to read and produce stories that deal with local issues by local authors, a strong sense of autonomy matched by a tradition of collaboration and a commitment to free creative expression. [] AHI-Rosario es icon

Competing in a difficult market, Argentine creators have experimented with various formats and forms of collective self-help. At first, self-published works remained in dark corners of the comic shops and (less so) news stands and most of them failed to survive past the 2nd or 3rd issue (i.e. Ultra). To collectively address the challenges of independent publishing, creators formed the Asociación de Historietistas Independientes (Association of Independent Comic Creators, AHI), at the 1996 Fantabaires convension, from which later the group La Productora split. [ [] Productora es icon] Costs are sometimes shared, as in the case of publishing house Ex Abrupto, which co-publishes Suda Mery K!, a biannual anthology, with Viñetas con Altura of Bolivia and Feroces Editores of Chile. [ [] Ex Abrupto]

More recently, self-publishers have been increasingly displaying comics on the web in addition to printed formats.

Notable Artists and Writers

* Horacio Altuna
* Daniel Branca
* Alberto Breccia
* Pier Brito
* Caloi (Carlos Loiseau)
* El Tomi
* Lito Fernández
* Roberto Fontanarrosa
* Juan Giménez
* Waccio Skater (Manuel Gutiérrez)
* Liniers (Ricardo Siri)
* Jorge Lucas (Uruguayan, but lived and worked in Argentina since 1972)
* Maitena (Maitena Burundarena)
* Domingo Mandrafina
* Carlos Meglia
* Sergio Mulko
* José Antonio Muñoz
* Mariano Navarro
* Nik (Cristian Dzwonik)
* Carlos Nine
* Héctor Germán Oesterheld
* Lucho Olivera
* Ariel Olivetti
* Hugo Pratt (Italian, but lived and worked in Argentina for over a decade)
* Quino (Joaquín Salvador Lavado)
* Rep (Miguel Repiso)
* Salvador Sanz
* José Luis Salinas
* Carlos Trillo
* Robin Wood (Paraguayan, but lived and worked in Argentina for several decades)

Notable comics

*"Boogie, el aceitoso", by Fontanarrosa
*"El Cazador de Aventuras", an adult humor comic.
*"Clemente", by Caloi, currently published in the newspaper "Clarín"
*"Cybersix", by Carlos Meglia, also adapted into a live-action and animated television program
*"El Eternauta", a science-fiction tale about an alien invasion, by Oesterheld
*"Gaturro", by Nik
*"Inodoro Pereyra", the "Renegau", a gaucho, the most famous creation of Fontanarrosa
*"Macanudo", by Liniers. Currently published in "La Nación"
*"Mafalda", the most famous Argentine comic strip, by Quino
*"Mort Cinder", by Oesterheld and Breccia
*"Nippur de Lagash", by Robin Wood and Lucho Olivera
*"Patoruzú", about a native Patagonian cacique with superhuman powers, by Quinterno
*"Yo, Matías", by Sendra. Currently published in "Clarín"


*Leyendas is a science fiction, fantasy and comic convention held annually in Rosario.
*Fantabaires was an annual comic convention held in Buenos Aires.


* [ Argentine comics] en icon es icon
* [ La Historia del Comic en Argentina] es icon
* [ Historieteca] es icon

External links

* [ Sci-Fi Argentine strips listing] es icon
* [ Argentine caricaturist> Cao Luaces - Caras y Caretas] es icon
* [ Argentina comic in] en icon

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