SE BUSCA, WANTED: For causing generations in Mexico to read and think
January 12, 2015 7:53 PM   Subscribe

The Mexican political activist and critic Carlos Monsiváis once said that cartoonist Eduardo Del Rio, a.k.a Rius, was more important than the Ministry of Education in getting Mexicans to read. Rius' work forms the basis for a wide-ranging new exhibition at Mexico City's Museo Del Estanquillo, along with the lesser-known output of his spiritual predecessor, Andrés Audiffred.

Andrés Audiffred was one of Mexico's most beloved commentators. Between 1922 and 1958, he made thousands of satirical drawings, illustrations, oil paintings, murals, and was an influential graphic designer and editorialist.

You can see 369 of his works at the Estanquillo's website. From his fun and joyful chronicles of post-revolutionary Mexico to the more somber realities of national building, Audiffred's work reflects the joys and vicissitudes; aspirations and frustrations, and the customs and fashions of Mexicans of their time.

Audiffred plays a central role in the history of political caricature in Mexico, for he's the connecting link between older printmakers like Jose Guadalupe Posada [whose 'calavera' drawings influenced a wide variety of mediums, from tabloid design to video games like Grim Fandango] to the later work of Rius.

Rius, who turned 80 in 2014, is famous for his prodigious output of illustrated political books, from Marx for Beginners to The Cruel History of Capitalism. Rius produced several volumes of comics, illustrations and strips on political events, and commentary on socialist countries [such as Cuba for Beginners] and figures [such as his biography of Che Guevara, A B Che]. He also started two illustrated magazines, Los Supermachos, and Los Agachados.

From the Museum's introduction:

"Indeed, for decades, thousands of Mexicans have found an important part of their education in comic books and Rius. Many readers have been politicized by his texts; others have acquired a critical consciousness from his humorous reflections; some people have become vegetarians or worse (atheists, philatelists, anti-bullfighting activists) because of him; several historians, politicians, community leaders, sociologists and important writers began their careers reading his comics, and we've all had a lot of fun."

Here's a profile in the New Internationalist. Most of his books are available, in Spanish, in a variety of digital formats.
posted by beijingbrown (3 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Oh yeah, that Marx for Beginners is like a gateway drug. Essential.
posted by notyou at 8:45 PM on January 12, 2015

I bought Marx Para Principiantes at a Mexican airport newsstand, of all places. Wonderful primer on Marx and communism, and quite a good read for those wishing to brush up on their Spanish.
posted by 2N2222 at 6:36 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I grew up with Cuba Para Principiantes, as a high school kid who was learning some Spanish and also listening to the Clash and thinking about what socialism meant. It was a huge factor in my development – just a masterful work, it was. Someday I'll find another copy.
posted by koeselitz at 7:27 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older Additive-noise methods   |   The Rise and Fall of the US Government - John J.... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments