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Mario Molina, the artist who assumed humor as a form of resistance to power, dies

As a child, no one dreams of being a political humorist. Everyone aspires to be an astronaut, firefighter or soccer player. An exception to the rule was Mario Molina (1959-2023), who always took his early vocation seriously, as he was personally, as was the political humor to which he dedicated a large part of his life. The celebrated Peruvian cartoonist and graphic humorist, accompanied by his family, died today, Tuesday, February 21, from a brain tumor. He was the end point of a series of diseases linked to endocrine cancer that have afflicted him in recent months.

His passion for drawing began at the Colegio Franco-Peruano, obsessed with the readings of Asterix, Lucky Luke or Tintin that the library of this study center treasured. In high school, thanks to a French exchange student, he discovered the fundamental magazine “Metal Hurlant”, and through it he met Jean Giraud or ‘Moebius’, an artist who would leave a profound influence on him. Encouraged by his brother who warned him that he was losing money by accumulating so many drawings, he looked for work as an illustrator at the Weekly Caretas, which at that time, in 1977, reappeared after its closure by the military dictatorship.

Mario Molina has devoted himself entirely to political humor since 1991, when his cartoons appeared on the editorial pages of the newspaper “Gestión” and, later, in “El Comercio” and other media. His discipline was always the same: review the topics of the day and focus on what his nose dictated, looking for humorous edges and possibilities. He always tried to escape from the more conjunctural political humor, for this reason, he tried to make humor more based on situations than on mediocre political characters.

The journalist Fernando Vivas remembers the artist and accomplice of university adventures: “Mario Molina has been the author of graphic novels, an illustrator of newspaper articles and a political cartoonist, which is a way of marking and collaborating with the editorial lines of the media. All this makes him a figure in journalism ”. Parallel to this, Vivas highlights the humorist’s passion for cinema, an interest that led him to participate in a magazine like “Cine Club” at a very young age, which in the eighties brought together a group of young moviegoers who consumed and devoured classic films. of the Hollywood he loved. “That cinema is also part of the references of his graphic work”warns the journalist.

Indeed, Molina himself pointed out his fascination for John Ford’s films, interested in stories that were told, basically, from the action. Likewise, he confessed that by drawing female characters he made a silent homage to the women in Howard Hawks’ films, females who lived in a universe of men, but who were capable of dealing equally with them.

Although Mario Molina faced political humor as one of the greatest expressions of freedom that breaks the formality of power, in his last years he tried to dedicate more time to comics, his initial passion. Thus, in September 2021, he published a long-cherished project: the graphic novel “En la cara no”, a book that reinvented him as a cartoonist, with a script by his friend and former partner “Caretas”, Oscar Malca.

In recent times, the artist had been working on a project in which he updated the pre-Hispanic myth of the Incarrí, also enthusiastically hoping to turn Mario Vargas Llosa’s novel “La ciudad y Los Perros” into a comic, a work scripted by the writer Hernán Migoya that was going to be published in Spain by Penguin Random House. However, illness took away from the creator the possibility of delivering the dreamed originals.

I once asked him, for a newspaper article, what made us laugh about politics. I recover from the file your wise answer as a closing of this farewell. According to Molina, the humor lay in the contradictions, “in the confrontation between what the politician says and what he really does: There is a type of reader who will always ask the cartoonist for a joke. However, my intention is not to provoke laughter. I’m looking for a reflection, a suggestion that, together with a smile, helps you see things more clearly.”, he pointed out.

His remains will be veiled between this Wednesday the 22nd and Thursday the 23rd at the Virgen de Fátima Church, Avenida Armendáriz 350. Miraflores.

Source: Elcomercio

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