'Angeles de la Guardia' (from Revista El Santo, 1969).

Antonio Rubio was an editorial cartoonist, comic artist and illustrator who was active in his native Cuba from 1945 until 1961. He was one of several Cuban cartoonists who fled the country and settled in Florida after Fidel Castro took power. As a comic artist his signature series were 'El Monguito', 'El Marcianito', 'Angelitos' and 'Angeles de la Guardia'. 

Career in Cuba
Antonio V. Rubio Nuñez was born in Havana in 1920. After attending the Los Maristas School he enrolled at the University of Havana, where he majored in Accounting. After graduation, he was hired as an administrator at the Nuestra Señora del Pilar Clinic, but his true vocation was art. At age 25 his talent was noticed by the renowned cartoonist Conrado Massaguer, who encouraged him to pursue a career in editorial cartooning. Between 1945 and 1961, Antonio Rubio published his work in a variety of daily and weekly publications, always signing with simply "Antonio". His cartoons appeared in Zig-Zag, Avance, Bohemia, El Crisol, Infomacion, Pueblo, Prensa Libre, and Diario de la Marina. He had comic strips called 'El Monguito' and 'El Marcianito' in a Cuban newspaper called Avance in the late 1950s.

He furthermore served as founder and president of the Cuban Cartoonists Association, and vice-president and treasurer of Havana's Colegio Naciopnal de Periodistas. Antonio received Cuba's Juan Gualberto Gomez national newspaper award for Exceptional Editorial Artistic Achievement at least five times, and the Lion's Club award for Best Caricature four times.

Castro regime
After Fidel Castro installed a dictatorship in Cuba in 1959, Antonio made a cartoon called 'Los Bombines' for the satirical weekly Zig-Zag which criticized the regime's persecution and repression of the free press. Castro didn't take the insult lightly and for two years both Rubio and Zig-Zag were submitted to heavy censorship. By that time only communist government-controlled newspapers and books were allowed. This led to a large exodus of Cuban cartoonists to the USA, most of whom settled in the area of Miami, Florida. Among them were Niko Luhrsen, Antonio Prohias, Idilio Gonzalez, Silvio Fontanillas, David P. Garcia, Miguel Fernandez-Callejas and also Antonio Rubio, who arrived in July 1961 together with his wife and 8-year old daughter.

Cartoons made in exile for the A.I.P. agency.

Career in Florida
In Miami, an exile edition of Zig-Zag was launched as Zig-Zag Libre, and several of the original cartoonists resumed their positions. Besides Zig-Zag, Rubio furthermore made cartoons for newspapers like The Voice and the Miami Herald (free lance), as well as the AIP news agency and commercial clients such as the American Club and the Jamaica Inn. In the late 1960s he furthermore made comic strips about angels called 'Angelitos' and 'Angeles de la Guardia' for Revista El Santo, a religious magazine published by Los Padres Capuchinos in Santander, Spain. In 1967 he won the Mergenthaler Prize of the Inter-American Press Assocation (the Hispanic version of the Pulitzer prize) with one of his cartoons.

Antonio Rubio's work has been exhibited on many occasions in Cuba, Miami and all Latin-American capitals. He died in Miami, Florida, on 17 March 1972 of a cardiac arrest.


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