Los Supermachos, by Rius
Los Supermachos

Eduardo Del Río, who used the pseudonym Rius, was a Mexican cartoonist, comic artist and writer. He was known for his political activism, which was reflected in his comic series 'Los Supermachos' (1965-1968) and 'Los Agachados' (1968-1981), and in his many books.

He was born in 1934 as Eduardo Humberto del Río García in Zamora, Michoacán. He worked in the trade and industry before he made his debut as a caricaturist in Ja-Já magazine in 1955. Soon, he contributed to several weeklies and dailies, like Diario de la Tarde, Ovaciones, La Mañana, Ojo, Proceso, El Universal, Ovaciones, La Prensa and La Jornada. Most of his work was politically themed, and reflected the artist's progressive and left-wing point of view. His activism was mainly aimed at the Mexican political system and its institutions, US Government policies, consumerism, imperialism, the Catholic Church and religion in general. During the early years of his life he was a seminarian, although years later was excommunicated by the Catholic Church for the content of some of his works, such as 'El manual del perfecto ateo' ("The handbook for the perfect atheist", 1981). He was also an advocate of the Cuban revolution and sympathized with the Soviet bloc throughout the Cold War. In fact, he was the first foreign author to publish in the Soviet newspaper Izvestia in 1961.

Más Huesos by Rius

His first two comics series were 'Los Supermachos' (1965-1968) and 'Los Agachados' (1968-1981), which gave a satirical view on Mexican politics. Both were revolutionary for their political and social themes, and have become examples for many Hispanic political comics that followed. In 'Los Supermachos', Rius gave his comments through the inhabitants of the lost village of San Garabato, who spend their time arguing or taking siestas. Regular characters were the politician Don Perpetuo del Rosal, and the Indians Chón Prieto and Juan Calzoncin. The latter vainly attempts to communicate his political ideas to his fellow villagers. 'Los Supermachos' was published in a series of comic books by Editorial Meridiano. 'Los Supermachos' inspired a live action film, 'Calzonzin Inspector' (1974), by director Alfonso Arau. A stage play based on the strip was produced in Guadalajara.

Los Supermachos, by Ríus
Los Agachados

Rius left the series in 1967 after a dispute with his publisher over editorial censorship. Meridiano continued to publish 'Los Supermachos' until the late 1970s. Rius moved on to create 'Los Agachados' with even more vigor and audacity. The series debuted in a twice-monthly comic book in September 1968, and originally starred the same characters from Rius' previous strip. After two issues though, Rius started using other characters and different themes for every story. The strip can be translated as "Those Who Stoop Down", and focuses on the lower classes of Mexican society. These were also the people Rius wanted to reach with his comic, and whom he wanted to give political awareness. Some stories dealt with the history of Mexico, others looked at Spanish and North-American colonialism, while the artist also examined Mexico's customs, virtues and faults. Other topics were Jesus Christ, Lenin, the Olympic Games, the housing problem, Coca-Cola and Mexican comics. Later on, Rius wrote a book inspired by this series, 'La Iglesia de los Agachados' ('The Church of the Agachados').


Manifiesto comunista ilustrado (1975)

Rius moved on to write and illustrate over a hundred books on a variety of topics, including politics, vegetarianism and religion. They were all characterized by Rius' typical humor, and reached a wide readership because of their simplicity and intellectual sharpness. Notable books were 'Cuba para principiantes' (1966) and 'Marx para principiantes' (1972), which were comic strip presentations of Cuban history and the life and ideas of Karl Marx, respectively. They were also published in the USA as 'Cuba for Beginners' (1970) and 'Marx for Beginners' (1976). Especially the latter became an international bestseller, which inaugurated the 'For Beginners' series of books from Writers and Readers and later Icon Books.


Marx for Beginners

With the publication of 'Es una lástima, Cuba en 1994' ("It's a pity, Cuba in 1994") he changed its ideological views, and gave strong criticism of corruption, bureaucratization and the regime of Fidel Castro. In 1996, Rius co-founded the political satire magazine El Chamuco with the cartoonists El Fisgón, Hernández, Helguera and Patricio. Among its many contributors were the cartoonists Jis y Trino, Ángel Boligán, Helioflores, Cintia Bolio and Darío Castille, and the writers Pedro Miguel, Lydia Cacho, Jesús Ramírez Cuevas, Fabrizio Mejía Madrid and Álvaro Delgado. The first series ran until 2000. The magazine was revivied in 2007 by Rafael Pineda Rapé. In the 1990s, Rius also contributed to the political humor magazine El Chahuistle.

Rius died in Tepoztlán, Morelos, on 8 August 2017 at the age of 83.

Rius

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