Monday, February 04, 2008

Gus Ariola

Yet another great cartoonist, that far too few people know, is dead. I Discovered Gus Arriola through an article by R C Harvey in the Comics Journal and immediately fell in love with his clean artwork and funny jokes. Funny jokes are still a rarity among newspaper cartoon strips and the handful of Arriola's cartoons I saw always raised a chuckle at the very least. Gus Arriola was a man with a mission, he wanted his primarily white audience to learn about his home country of Mexico and, building on 40's racial stereotypes of the fat and lazy Mexican, Ariola exceeded all expectations and, once established, proceeded to tell tales that involved all aspects of Mexican culture and history.

Arriola was a classic cartoonist in the style, I suppose, of a Disney storyboard man, he could have compared favourably with any of Disneys nine old men. He wasn't afraid to experiment though and when he did so he was in a rare class indeed, approaching the work of Cliff Sterret and Frank King in design.

Take the time to seek out examples of Arriola's work, it's going to be worth your while.

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