Gordo Cartoonist Gus Arriola in Carmel, CA in 2000





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Published on Feb 6, 2008

This interview with Gus Arriola, the famed Cartoonist who created Gordo, occured in march of 2000 at his home in Carmel By The Sea, on the Monterey peninsula in California, at spry age of 83.

Gus died this week on February 4th of 2008 at age 90, and I wanted to pay homage to one of my cartooning heroes by sharing this interview he graciously granted me.

As a cartoonist and illustrator myself, I've idolized him since childhood. His strip, Gordo ran 44 years and was decades ahead of it's time. Smart, funny, worldly and loaded with heart, Gordo was one of the gems of the funny pages from 1941-1985 when he finally retired. It's humanitarian values helped shape a generation of young progressives with a sense of wit, timelessness and wonder.

Gordo was a genuine Accidental Ambassador who helped pave the way for better understanding between The USA and Mexico.

Here on his balcony, I was astonished at his youthful curiosity as he allowed me to introduce him to a plethora of my favorite "newer" alternative cartoonists, including R. Crumb, Los bros. Hernandez (Gilbert and Jaime) Bill Griffith's Zippy the Pinhead and the new upstart (at that time) Chris Ware, who Gus was mesmerized by.

Again, I was so fortunate to know Gus Arriola in the last 10 years of his life and to be able to call him a friend.

Saludos, mi Amigo!

Enjoy this footage of one of America's underappreciated 20th Century greats.

Sam Klemke,
Catoonist, Caricaturist, filmmaker and Bon Vivant


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