Gordo, December 19-31, 1966

Gordo, December 19, 1966

Gordo, December 20, 1966

Gordo, December 21, 1966

Gordo, December 22, 1966

Gordo, December 23, 1966

Gordo, December 24, 1966

Gordo, December 26, 1966

Gordo, December 27, 1966

Gordo, December 28, 1966

Gordo, December 29, 1966

Gordo, December 30, 1966

Gordo, December 31, 1966

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Gordo was a groundbreaking comic strip created by Gus Arriola, which started in 1941. Arriola got his start as an animator at Screen Gems and MGM, and during his time at MGM he began developing a comic strip. He had been a huge fan of the Sunday comics growing up, especially Krazy Kat, and had even been able to work on the Krazy Kat animated shorts while he was at Screen Gems. He used his Mexican heritage as an inspiration for the strip, but in trying to give it a wide appeal, he used quite a few degrading and offensive Mexican stereotypes. This was pointed out by critics of the strip, and it caused Arriola to take it in a new direction. Gordo, the titular character, was originally a bean farmer, but lost the farm and had to get a job as a tour guide. Arriola used Gordo's new profession not only to take characters in the strip on tours of Mexico, but to take the readers on those tours as well. Instead of making fun of Mexican culture as it had before, the strip now celebrated every aspect of it, and is credited with introducing many Spanish words and Mexican traditions to American audiences for the first time.

Arriola was very fond of sharing holiday traditions with readers, especially those surrounding Christmas. In this set of strips, we see a couple of ants looking on at Mexican Christmas and New Year celebrations. One of them, Marv, details the Christmas tradition of Las Posadas, which is a re-enactment of Mary and Joseph's search for an inn. Participants stop at designated locations and at each one sing the next part of the pidiendo posada song, which Marv sings here. It's significant that Arriola chose to create a set of strips that would run over several days, as Las Posadas celebrations are generally done over several days as well, typically nine. Each night is celebrated at a different house, and each night includes its own feast and pinata.

I love this set of strips, not only for the way that it presents this lovely tradition, but the way it's so beautifully illustrated. If you want to read more about it, here's some links:

About Gus Arriola:

America Comes Alive

National Museum of American History

About Las Posadas:

Learn Religions