Themo Lobos

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Themo Lobos
Born Themístocles Nazario Lobos Aguirre
December 3, 1928
San Miguel, Chile
Died July 24, 2012
Valparaíso, Chile
Nationality Chilean
Area(s) Cartoonist, Writer, Penciller
Pseudonym(s) Themo Lobos
Notable works
Máximo Chambonez

Themístocles Nazario Lobos Aguirre (December 3, 1928 – July 24, 2012), better known as Themo Lobos, was a Chilean comic strip, comic book writer and artist. He is the creator of characters such as Máximo Chambónez, Ferrilo, Nick Obre, and Alaraco, but his most famous work is Mampato, a character first developed, briefly, by Eduardo Armstrong and Óscar Vega; Lobos then wrote and illustrated his episodes from 1968 to 1978. He is also known as the publisher of the comic-book Cucalón, which collected all his characters and their classic adventures.


Childhood and early career[edit]

Themístocles Lobos was born in San Miguel, Santiago, Chile in 1928.[1] He started as a child drawing cartoons at the age of 7, mostly copying other drawings, but at 12 he realised that he needed "to be original and begin work on his own things".[2] Themo Lobos' first inspirations and influences came from the children's magazine El Peneca of which he was a strong fan – especially the comic strip Quintín el Aventurero (Quintín The Adventurer).[2][3] His first drawing studies were at the Chilean Academy of Fine Arts, but he quit because the academy was not what he had expected.[2] He later studied at the Chilean School of Applied Arts, where in his free time he created his first original characters, Ferrilo the Robot and Homero the Pilot.[2] His first professional work was published in La Nación (of Chile) newspaper in 1949, with his characters serving to promote advertising.[3]

The following year, he finally got to work in El Peneca. He was later signed on to work as one of the assistants to Guido Vallejos on the famous Chilean comic-book Barrabases, where he created the characters Cicleto, Cucufato and Ñeclito.[1] In the mid-50's, he was signed on to work on the humor publication El Pingüino (The Penguin); this magazine saw the creation of his first truly famous work: Alaraco, a comic strip about an over-concerned and overreacting man (modeled on Themo Lobos' own personality).[4] The same decade saw his works appearing in the magazines Pobre Diablo, Flash, Humor de Hoy and Humanoide.[1]

Mampato magazine years[edit]

Kilikilis and Golagolas (1968) was the first Mampato comic episode that was fully illustrated and written by Themo Lobos; here in the newest collected edition.

In 1968, Chilean artist Eduardo Armstrong founded the children's magazine Mampato, a biweekly publication with science and history illustrative laminae, as well as prose stories and a number of American and Chilean comic strips. Its publisher was Lord Cochrane editions.[5] The first unnamed episode of the featured Mampato comic series was initially written by Armstrong and illustrated by Óscar Vega, a veteran Chilean comics artist, telling the story of a typical young Chilean boy who uses a "space-time belt" to travel through time, seeking to experience the greatest adventures in the world. The character of Mampato was partly inspired by both Dennis the Menace by Hank Ketcham, and Goscinny and Uderzo's Astérix. Vega had just read an Astérix comic-book, at the time little known in Latin America, and he was very impressed with the work; he tried to merge Dennis the Menace's physical appearance and Astérix' style into a single character.[3] Themo Lobos was by then very busy with his work for El Peneca, but still Armstrong offered him the chance to illustrate the Mampato comic. At first Lobos didn't take the offer, but after a while he accepted – quickly becoming close friends with Armstrong.[3] He then began drawing the series starting with the third chapter of Mampato's first adventure. While doing the illustrations he noted to Armstrong that he "didn't like to work with a script he hadn't written", thus Armstrong decided to give Lobos free reins for the creation of characters and stories in all future installments of Mampato's saga.[3] For the remainder of the story and in full capacity beginning with the second Mampato adventure, known as "Kilikilis and Golagolas", the strip was written and illustrated solely by Themo Lobos and the magazine was well on its way to becoming extremely popular and successful with the local youth; eventually it sold around 100,000 copies per issue[6] and changed its schedule to weekly on April 1971.[5]

The works in Mampato and the Chilean comics circuit as a whole were affected by the coup d'état in the country in 1973 against Salvador Allende's government, headed by Augusto Pinochet on September 11. After this, many comic books ceased their publications[6] and also, in November of the same year Eduardo Armstrong died, afflicted by cancer at age 41.[7]

Since 1973, Themo Lobos had to deal with a problem in publishing the Mampato strip: some people taking notice of certain stories, such as Los Tres aka El Árbol Gigante (The Giant Tree), where Mampato fights mutants ruled by a character called "Ferjus", the leader of a tyrannical dictatorship. Lobos has commented on this particular episode explaining that he came up with it before the coup, thus he wasn't trying to satirize the then-current government with the story's themes. And above all, that children's comics shouldn't be used as a political outlet.[8]

Amid the country's tense situation, Mampato magazine ceased publication on January 1978.[5]

During the 1968–1978 period, Themo Lobos produced 25 complete Mampato stories[1] and the magazine was the main publication venue for other Chilean comic artists and several other Lobos works, including Máximo Chambónez, a comic strip originally seen in Barrabases but much more popular when appearing on Mampato magazine.

Hiatus and Cucalón years[edit]

First issue of Cucalón (1986).

With Mampato ending its run abruptly in 1978, Themo Lobos left some stories and illustrations incomplete. Around this time most of his colleagues, assistants and friends were exiled or left the country, but he decided to stay.[1] Until 1986 Lobos worked with very small or foreign publishers, most notably working as illustrator for some special Smurfs and Super Friends material.

In 1983 the Chilean TV show Jappening Con Ja staged a live-action sketch of his comic strip, Alaraco, performed by comedian Fernando Alarcón. The recurring sketch became very popular across the country and raised interest in Themo Lobos' work again.[9]

In 1986, Themo Lobos finally gathered the funds and rights to create a new publication called Cucalón.[10][11] This comic-book was a collection of all of Lobos' output from all the magazines that he had worked along his career, joined by new and previously unpublished material. Cucalón was very well liked in Chile, and lasted 48 issues until 1993[11] with most of Lobos' material being covered during the run.

After Cucalón[edit]

In 1996, Ediciones Dolmen began publishing Mampato's adventures in a deluxe comic album format, with recolored pages and new cover art, which have been sold in South America and Europe. In 2002, the movie Ogu and Mampato in Rapa Nui was released, an animated motion picture by Chilean animation studio Cine Animadores, based on the episode now known as "Mata-ki-te-rangui".


External links[edit]