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Episode on 'south-up map orientation':

Mafalda: ¡Pero Libertad, lo estás poniendo al revés!

Libertad: ¿Al revés respecto a qué? La tierra está en el espacio, y el espacio no tiene ni arriba ni abajo.

Libertad: Eso de que el hemisferio norte es el de arriba es un truco psicológico inventado por los que creen que están arriba, para que los que creemos estar abajo sigamos creyendo que estamos abajo. Y lo malo es que si seguimos creyendo que estamos abajo vamos a seguir estando abajo. ¡Pero desde hoy san se acabó!

English translation:

Mafalda: But Libertad, you are putting it upside down

Libertad: Upside down in relation to what? Earth is in space, and space don't has up or down

Libertad: That North hemisphere is up is just a psychological trick bye those whose think that that they are above, for those of us that they believe that we are below stay believing we are below. The bad thing is that if we keep believing being below we will stay being below. But since today, end of deal!

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Mafalda is an Argentine comic strip written and drawn by cartoonist Quino. The strip features a 6-year-old girl named Mafalda, who reflects the Argentinian middle class and progressive youth, is concerned about humanity and world peace, and has an innocent but serious attitude toward problems. The comic strip ran from 1964 to 1973 and was very popular in Latin America and the rest of the world.



Mafalda has occasionally been pointed out as being influenced by Charles Schulz's Peanuts, most notably by Umberto Eco in 1968, who contrasted the two characters in the introduction to Mafalda la contestataria (1968), the first Italian edition of Mafalde. While Eco thought of Mafalda and Charlie Brown as the voices unheard of children in the northern and southern hemispheres, Quino saw Mafalda as a socio-political strip, firmly rooted on family values. This is one of the reasons adults play a starring role in the strip, while they are never seen in the Charlie Brown universe. Quino does, however, acknowledge the influence of Schulz's work on his, in that Quino extensively studied Schulz's books in preparation for an advertising campaign he was working on in 1963. The advertising campaign was scrapped but he reused some of the material for the Mafalda series a year later.

The appearance of Mafalda's character resembles that of the main character in the U.S. comic strip Nancy (called Periquita in the Mexican edition, which was in general used in Latin America) — and there is a reference in the strip where Miguelito buys a magazine and it has Nancy on the cover, then he asks Mafalda who she looks like. In the next panel is implied that Mafalda replied, "¡Tu abuela!" ("Your granny!"), a phrase similar to "Your mama!" in English, as Miguelito stares at the magazine wondering, "My granny?".


The comic strip is composed of the main character Mafalda, her parents and a group of other children. However, the group was not created on purpose, but was instead a result of the development of the comic strip. The other children were created one at a time, and worked by countering specific aspects of Mafalda. The exception was Guille, Mafalda's brother, who was introduced during a period when the author did not have other ideas.

  • Mafalda: Mafalda, a six-year-old girl, with a great concern for the state of humanity and a noted hatred for soup. She often leaves her parents at a loss by asking about mature or complex topics. As an example, she gets chided to concern herself with childlike things instead of asking about China's communism; in response, she pretends to play with bubbles in soapy water only to promptly proclaim that she is done and then restate the China question once more. Her incisive observations often leave the adults at a loss. Although she uses her intelligence to manipulate her parents into letting her do what she wants at times, she is shown to be very benevolent and righteous, and does what she can for her family and friends. Mafalda is generally a pessimist to the point of being accused of being so by her friends; to this she responds that things are not so bad as to stop discussing them.
  • Mamá ("Mom") (Raquel, 6 October 1964) and Papá ("Dad") (Alberto, 29 September 1964): Mafalda's parents are a very normal couple, without any particular distinguishing features. Mafalda is often very critical of her mom's housewife status; her dad often tries to avoid Mafalda's snarky remarks and questions, although he very much sympathizes with the kid's scary view of school life. He is an avid horticulturist, and proven capable of rambling on about specific topics if given the chance. Raquel appears to have been a talented pianist with Mafalda's father having a job as some sort of insurance agent who occasionally smokes. Their car is a Citroën 2CV, which was a popular entry-level model for middle-class Argentines in the 1960s.
  • Felipe ("Phillip") (19 January 1965): The brightest and oldest member of the gang, Felipe is a good-natured dreamer who is usually lost in his fantasies and imagination and also deeply scared of school. He often wages intense internal battles with his conscience, innate sense of responsibility, and top school grades that he hates ("That is the worst good news I've ever been given!"). A consummate procrastinator, he loves to play cowboys and read comics, especially the Lone Ranger. Late in the series, he also has a crush on a girl named Muriel (name given by Susanita). He is characterized by his hair and buckteeth. When Mafalda drew a picture with an uncanny likeness to him, she says she used a shoe with a carrot at an angle for a model.
  • Manolito (Manuel Goreiro, Jr., 29 March 1965): The son of a Spanish shopkeeper. He is sometimes referred to as gallego (Galician), as his surname hints at such an origin, but it is common practice in Argentina to refer to Spanish migrants as Galicians. While his family business is but a small, local grocery store, he seems ambitious with his career, and is more concerned with notions of business, capitalism and dollars, than anything else. He's always promoting the store and its products in street graffiti and even in ordinary conversations. He's shown to be simple-minded, but sometimes appears creative when it comes to business plans. He never goes on a vacation because of his father, who owns the store they work in; both appear to enjoy making money and upon Manolito suggesting closing shop and go on a vacation for a few days, his dad appeared to have fainted from shock. The quality of the products sold is often questionable, as many people have complained to him and/or his father often. Manolito is characterized by his brush-like hair, which runs in the males of the family, and in one strip it is seen as growing quickly back right after it has been shaved.
  • Susanita (Susana Beatriz Clotilde Chirusi, 6 June 1965): A frivolous girl with curly blond hair, who displays stereotypical feminine traits; her life revolves around femininity, gossip, dreams of marriage and maternity, and woman antagonism. Her dream is to be a mother and dedicated housewife and often fantasizes about the possibilities, which often leads to arguments with Mafalda. She is, however, the latter's best female friend despite their bickering ("Well... you know... I'd rather freak out at you than at a complete stranger") She and Manolito seem to be at odds, but tolerate each other for Mafalda's sake, although it is shown that Susanita is more often the perpetrator of their bickering; as the attacks are often one-sided, Manolito is caught off guard most of the times, but on occasion he gains the upper hand. At times, she seems to have a crush on Felipe. She is sometimes shown as a glutton, usually regretting sharing with her friends or tricking them out of their snack.
  • Miguelito (Miguel Pitti, 1966): About two years younger than Felipe and one year younger than Mafalda and the others, characterized by his lettuce-shaped hair. He appears in the series sometime later. Somewhat of a rebel, most of the time he is a little too eager to get into philosophical debates. Although he is characterized as "innocent" by his friends (and, indeed, proving to be very naive at times), he often surprises them with comments ridden with cynicism, pedantry, and even sociopathy. A descendant of Italian immigrants, his grandfather is very fond of Benito Mussolini. He appears to have a harsh, houseproud mother, whom he is frightened of.
  • Guille (Guillermo, 1968) or Nando in some translations: Mafalda's little brother. He loves soup (much to his sister's chagrin), has a pathological dependence on his pacifier, and he and Mafalda have a pet tortoise called Burocracia (Bureaucracy). Somewhat cynical and prone to histrionics, with the prime target being their mother. He is a bit of a troublemaker and appears to share the same trait as his sister in terms of bringing up awkward topics of discussion.
  • Libertad (5 February 1970): "Libertad" is a given name in Spanish, which means "Freedom". The girl is of small stature (a little shorter than Guille although she is around the age of the other kids), a reference to the impotence or small stature of freedom. Libertad appears somewhat later in the series, after Mafalda befriends her at the beach during a vacation, where she introduces herself to Mafalda, and, after an awkward silence, she inquires: "Have you drawn your stupid conclusion yet? Everyone draws their stupid conclusion when they meet me". She is the most politically radical character of the comic strip, more even than Mafalda herself. She took the place of being the political one while Mafalda became more well rounded in her topics of discussion. Although she claims to be fond of simple people, she often overthinks or overreacts to her friend's opinions on simple topics, like vacations or pets. She often gets in trouble with her teachers due to her point of view.
  • Muriel: Felipe's crush. Although he could never actually speak to his neighbor, it appears that Susanita knows everything about her, as well as everything else, because of her gossipy behaviour. Although she is not part of the gang, she appears occasionally on strips always featuring Felipe's lack of concentration when she is near, or his attempts to encourage himself to make conversation with her, attempts of which Felipe has never been able to carry out due to his extreme shyness.

The characters aged at about half the real time-scale while the script ran. They also went through minor changes largely due to the evolution of Quino's drawing style.


Quino has opposed adapting Mafalda for cinema or theater; however, two series of animated shorts featuring Mafalda have been produced. The first, a series of 260 90-second films, was produced by Daniel Mallo for Argentine television starting in 1972. These were adapted into a full-length movie by Carlos Márquez in 1979 and released in 1981. It remains relatively unknown. In 1993 Cuban filmmaker Juan Padrón, a close friend of Quino, directed 104 short animated Mafalda films, backed by Spanish producers.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mafalda" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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