Gordo (comic strip)
Characters and story
The strip ran from November 24, 1941 to March 2, 1985 and chronicled the life of Mexican bean farmer Perfecto Salazar "Gordo" Lopez ("Gordo" approximately translating as "Fatso"). Other characters in the strip included his nephew, Pepito; his pets, Señor Dog and Poosy Gato (a cat); a black cat named "PM" and her kitten "Bête Noire"; jazz-loving beatnik spider Bug Rogers, drawn with only six legs; Paris Juarez Keats Garcia, a poet; Artemisa Rosalinda Gonzalez, a widow determined to marry the bachelor farmer; and Tehuana Mama, Gordo's housekeeper.
In 1954, Gordo lost his lease on his land and had to travel throughout Mexico as a tour guide. The character's trips were a vehicle for the strip to introduce Mexico and its people to the wider world. At the height of its popularity the strip appeared in 270 newspapers. The strip was praised by the Mexican Government and the California State Legislature for its promotion of international understanding.
One of Arriola's trademarks was to use a comic pseudonym for many of his Sunday comic strips, often a phonetic pun of a recognizable word or phrase. Examples include "Kant Wynn" (Can't Win), "Overa Cheever" (Over Achiever), "Anne Teak" (Antique), "Liv Anlern" (Live and Learn), "Bob N. Frapples" (Bobbing For Apples) and "E. Trink and Bea Meri" (Eat, Drink and Be Merry).
The final strip ran on March 2, 1985, where in a final effort to avoid the advances of the widow Artemisa Rosalinda Gonzalez, Gordo marries his longtime housekeeper Tehuana Mama. Arriola used three-quarters of the strip to say farewell to his readers.
Today, Kit Parker owns the performing arts and merchandising rights to the comic strip and related characters.
- Harvey, R.C. and G. Arriola. 2000. Accidental Ambassador Gordo: The Comic Strip Art of Gus Arriola. University of Mississippi Press. ISBN 1-57806-160-1
- Arriola, Gus. 1981. Gordo's Cat. Oak Tree Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-916392-84-8