Friday, 2 July 2010

Comic Classics: Cuba for Beginners-Rius

The book that kick started the For Beginners book series is a humorous cartoon history of Cuba by Mexican cartoonist Rius which is fiercely pro-Cuban and anti-American. Born in 1934 Rius (real name Eduardo del Río) is Mexico's most infamous political cartoonist, with a far-left viewpoint and a zest for activism . His two most famous comics Los Supermachos and Los agachados are humorous critiques of the Mexican government. In Cuba For Beginners Ruis uses a minimum of lines to create simple yet iconic imagery and despite their simplicity a cartoon by Ruis always stands out from the crowd. He comes across a bit like a Latin American Jules Feiffer at times with his playful use of stereotypes, rapid line work that somehow still manages to flow clearly and smoothly, and excellent comic timing and writing skills*(1). He also pastes in a rich history of editorial cartooning, art, advertising, and photographs surrounding the subject of Cuba for our viewing pleasure. Once again the power of comics to entertain and at the same time educate and inform is put to great use.

Ruis's work for the For Beginners book series continues with Lenin and Marx for Beginners.

For another classic of educational comics in this line see the 1976 Introduction to Chile (a cartoon history) by Chris Welch

(*1) Where as nowadays most of the Introducing/For Beginners books are formed by a two person team of writer/researcher and illustrated, Ruis wrote this entire guide himself obviously being passionate and well informed on the subject.

No comments:

Post a Comment