RIP Gus Arriola

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Gus Arriola, creator of the comic strip Gordo, has died at age 90. The strip, which began in 1941, was one of the first to highlight Mexican culture on the comics page, although Arriola changed the character from a bandit to a bean farmer after some complaints.

In an interview with The Chronicle several years after he retired, Arriola said he drew the comic strip for an audience that knew little about Mexico or its culture.

“My main goal was to maintain a positive awareness of Mexico through all the years, every day, without being political,” he said in 1989. “When I started, words like ‘burrito’ were unknown in the United States.”

Comments

  1. Torsten Adair says:

    Gus Ariola was a master of the humorous serial comicstrip, combining unique characters, expert draftsmanship, and later, bold layouts and colors. A few examples are reprinted in The Comic Strip Century, and I recommend highly the retrospective volume published by the University Press of Mississippi.

  2. I learned SO MUCH from Gus’ seemingly modest one or two pages in “Tips from Top Cartoonists.” Beautiful work.

    RIP, amigo.

  3. George Usher says:

    I first became acquainted with Gordo in the St. Louis Post Dispatch sometime in the 40′s before I was 10. That and Pogo were my favorite comic strips. And, my favorite recurring theme from Gordo was the annual Christmas strips where the animals reflected on the celebration of the birth of Christ. I continued to read it regularly until I left St. Louis in 1961 and followed it sporadically on visits to the family in St. Louis until it was no longer published there.

    I didn’t realize Gus Arriola died until I saw a tribute to him in the Baldo comic strip on February 20th. My thanks to Cantu and Castellanos for that tribute.

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