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The Argentine cartoonist Joaquín Salvador Lavado, who created the character Mafalda, has died aged 88 in Mendoza, the city where he was born.

Mafalda, the cartoon about the adventures of a six-year-old girl of the same name, is immensely popular in the Spanish-speaking world.

Lavado wrote and drew the comics between 1964 and 1973 but they are still being reprinted to this day.

Mafalda is so popular she even has her own statues in Argentina and in Spain.

The comic, which first appeared in the Argentine weekly Primera Plana in 1964, features the daily life of Mafalda, the daughter of a typical middle-class Argentine couple, whom she often baffles with her insightful questions.

Mafalda hates soup and wants world peace.

image copyrightReuters

image captionQuino posing in front of one of his comics of Mafalda in which she calls for world peace

Mafalda’s wit and her sharp observations of the adult world ensured the comic’s popularity, which was translated into 26 languages.

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionThe comic strip was originally published in a weekly but has since appeared in book format

Quino drew the comic strips for nine years until in 1973, he decided to stop. Asked about his decision, decades later, the graphic artist said he wanted to avoid repetition.

“It’s the same for many artists – for example, I’ve had enough of Botero’s chubby people,” he said referring to the Colombian painter whose paintings feature portly animals and characters.

He also said that the changing political landscape in Latin America influenced his decision to stop drawing Mafalda.

“After the coup d’etat in Chile, the situation in Latin America became very bloody,” he said about the 1973 ousting from power of Salvador Allende by Gen August Pinochet in the neighbouring country.

“If I had continued drawing her [Mafalda], they would have shot me once, or four times,” he said referring to the attacks on artists and intellectuals who opposed right-wing military regimes in Latin America.

image copyrightAlamy

image captionThere is also a Mafalda statue in Oviedo, in Spain

Quino left Argentina for Italy in March 1976, days after a military junta had seized power in his native country. Thousands of political opponents were rounded up and killed under military rule.

After democracy returned to Argentina in 1983, Quino split his time between Buenos Aires, Madrid and Milan.

He continued to work as a cartoonist until he retired in 2006.

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