Charona by Sergio Boffano
Charoná in 1967

Sergio Boffano was an architect and cartoonist, best-known for creating 'Charoná', one of Uruguay's most popular comic characters. He was originally from Genoa, Italy, where he had worked as an animator and as an illustrator for children's publications like Il Corriere dei Piccoli. He moved to Uruguay with his father, mother and brother shortly after World War II. One of his first jobs was serving as art director of the film 'Ismael' of the Italian director Goffredo Alessandrini.

He was art director of Pilán (1965-1966), the children's supplement of the dailies La Mañana and El Diario, which was named after the popular character played by comedian Eduardo Freda. He then developed the character of an Indian teenager called 'Charoná', who became the title hero of its own magazine, aimed at primary school children. Launched by the publisher of El Diario in 1967, Boffano made the initial story with El Diario's deputy editor Omar Prego Gadea. He then did the scripts and the sketches, while Elmer Moreira was assigned to do the finished art.

'Charoná' became the character that generations of Uruguayans grew up with, when William Gezzio turned him into a younger boy in 1971. Gezzio drew the character for over 40 years, while Boffano continued to be the magazine's editor until a few months before his death in September 2003. Boffano's son, who was named after his father, then assumed control of his father's creations.

In an effort to strengthen its ties with the academic world, Boffano regularly initiated visits to Uruguayan schools and donations of teaching materials. At the top of its popularity, the character was featured in a live action TV show starring Luis Alberto Carballo in 1993. A cartoon series was also made. Throughout its existence, 'Charoná' has starred in nearly 3,000 comic pages, as well as in educational features and game pages.

Boffano was additionally a teacher at the School of Applied Arts that was founded by Emilio Cortinas and Walter Pérez in 1946. He furthermore ran an advertising firm, and launched a short-lived comics supplement to Ultimas Noticias in the 1990s, called Gurí.

Sergio Boffano

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