René Ríos Boettiger, who is widely known simply by his nickname, Pepo, was born in 1911. Today, he is one of the most recognized figures in Latin American comic book history. He created images that described everyday Chilean life in the 1960’s.
He also created Condorito in 1949. The character, who appears like a humanized Condor, wears a red shirt and green pants. The shirt is similar to the Chilean national soccer jersey, while the pants are commonly associated with those of farm workers who live on the margins of society.
In 1930, René Ríos arrived to Santiago from Concepción in order to study medicine. However, two years later, he decided to begin following his true calling and enrolled in drawing classes at the Fine Arts School in Santiago. Some of his first drawings were published in Topaze, a political humor magazine.
Soon thereafter, he began to be recognized as a leader in new styles of drawing. His work also appeared in other political humor magazines like Pobre Diablo (Poor Devil) and Pingüino (Penguin), as well as, children’s magazines life El Peneca, Barrabases, and O’Key. O’Key was the magazine that first published Condorito, a comic character that appeared to Chileans of all ages and is also very read in other countries of Latin America. Exijo una explicación (I demand an explanation), is his a slogan that captures the situations and experiences that surprise the reader.
René Ríos’s work served to invigorate Chilean graphic humor and represents certain aspects of the country’s national identity.
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