UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mafalda as a site of refuge : Quino's comic, state repression, and audiences in Argentina since 1964 Boyd, Deborah


My dissertation explores the ways in which Quino’s Argentine comic Mafalda functions as a site of refuge to Argentine audiences in three periods: from the birth of Mafalda to Quino’s last strip 1964-1973, the preamble to and during the dictatorship 1973-1983, and following the return to democracy in 1983. In my investigation of Mafalda as a site of refuge, via my examination of the changes in the editions of Mafalda compilations by Ediciones de la Flor in Buenos Aires allows, I arrive at a vision of who these audiences are, and what that shows about the evolution of Mafalda as a site of refuge. I begin with contextualizing the birth of this comic in the sociopolitical history of Argentina with special emphasis on the themes of authoritarianism, censorship, and repression that characterize the cultural experience of the region. In the following chapters I analyze the different functions Mafalda rapidly acquired within Argentine culture, and how this comic denouncing and protesting against injustice and the tireless tug of war between the weak and the powerful is based on the relationship that develops between reader and author. Further, my project shows that Quino, through Mafalda, treats important issues that are both local and universal, thus making this comic strip as valid and current today as it was in the 1960s and 1970s. I examine the ways in which the characters and plots in Mafalda represent facets of Argentina’s social, cultural, and political truth of the sixties and seventies, concluding that they add to Mafalda the function of reporting witness of that era, and that this function justifies this comic to be regarded as primary source when studying cultural history of Argentina. I further conclude that this function, together with the strip’s cosmopolitan nature, propelled Mafalda to transcend cultural barriers of time and space. I analyze select strips that illustrate those discussions, some in the main body when this does not obstruct flow, and others, by themes—such as the middle class, poverty, racism, the role of women, and war—in the appendices located in the end of the dissertation.

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