Happy Friday! Good Morning! I hope you are all doing well! Today, July 17th, Remembering Cartoonist Gus Arriola on his birthday, (July 17, 1917 – February 2, 2008)! You probably know that Gus was an American comic strip cartoonist and animator, widely known for the comic strip Gordo.-wikipedia
"Gus was born in Florence, Arizona, the youngest of nine children. Gus's mother died when he was a baby, and he was raised by an older sister in a Spanish-speaking household. He learned English by reading the Sunday comics. His family moved to Los Angeles, California, when he was eight years old."
"Just after graduating high School, Arriola joined up with MGM studios, beginning a career in cartoon animation, working for a year on "Krazy Kat" installments before moving on to doing story-sketches for "Tom and Jerry" shorts. After three years at MGM, Gus developed the concept for his best know work, "Gordo". "Gordo was initially designed to be a Mexican version of Li'l Abner, with a highly caricatured style and a lazy overweight title character who spoke in heavily accented English and took naps under a tree wearing a sombrero. The character reflected popular conceptions of Mexicans at the time, particularly Leo Carrillo's portrayal of The Cisco Kid's sidekick, Pancho, on television and film."
"After his early strips were criticized for Hollywood-style cultural stereotypes, Arriola realized that his was the only periodical work in American mass media that depicted life in Mexico and modified the strip to be more sympathetic. A much more svelte and contemplative Gordo eventually became a flirtatious tour guide, whom Arriola often described as an "accidental ambassador" for Mexican culture."
"The strip introduced America to such now-popular words and phrases as "hasta la vista," "amigo," "piñata," "compadre," "muchacho" and "hasta mañana," as well as Mayan, Aztec and Mexican customs, history and folklore. Arriola also periodically included traditional Mexican recipes in Gordo that proved popular, telling one interviewer, "In 1948 we ran Gordo's recipe for beans and cheese—which got me into 60 extra papers, by the way"
Arriola did all of the writing, illustration and production of Gordo himself, creating strips every day (except in his army years) for 45 years."
"Charles Schulz described it as "probably the most beautifully drawn strip in the history of the business." Arriola received the National Cartoonist Society's Humor Comic Strip Award in 1957 and 1965. Although not overtly political, Gordo was also one of the first pop culture works that regularly raised environmentalist concerns.-wikipedia
While working on "The Artist Within", I had the chance to make a trip up to Carmel California to hang out with and make a portrait of Gus in his studio, here's that portrait.
There is a website dedicated to Gus and his beautiful cartoon work, check it out here: