El Cerdotado is a Mexican comic book and comic strip character created by Monterrey-born artist Leopoldo “Polo” Jasso (1969). An anthropomorphic pig, El Cerdotado is an anti-hero who fights against a myriad injustices plaguing society but who sometimes engages in unlawful acts for his own benefit.

The character’s name is a play on the Spanish words “cerdo” (pig) and “dotado” (endowed). It was created in the late 1980s and first appeared in a magazine published by the University of Nuevo León, where Jasso was a graphic design student. In the 1990s, the super-powered swine was featured in the fanzine Psicomix and two self-published comic book issues where his story was further developed. Starting in the late 1990s, Jasso found a new venue for his creation, publishing weekly and then daily El Cerdotadocomic strips in the nationally syndicated Monterrey newspaper Milenio. The strip is still published today.

Named Anacleto Kal-el Pacheco (an obvious reference to Superman), El Cerdotado has powers similar to those of the Man of Steel—including x-ray vision, superspeed, and the ability to fly although he is, ironically, afraid of heights. The hero possesses additional powers, including radioactive boogers and the ability to sense when his anthopomorphic cow girlfriend, the promiscous Jersey Tarabolas, cheats on him. Through his choice of an overweight pig to play the hero, constant play with words and meanings, and invention of ridiculous superpowers, Jasso parodies traditional U.S. superhero narratives and their attitudes toward morality and ethics. For instance, El Cerdotado comes to realize at some point that “with great power comes great personal gain.”

Anacleto’s powers were bequeathed to him by his father, El Babe Pacheco, who was the first Cerdotado. El Babe Pacheco used his abilities to help those in need, but met an unsavory end when the evil Butcher Malora captured him and turned him into chorizo. This incident marked Anacleto’s life, as he grew up fatherless and in extreme poverty. Although his mother tried to keep him away from hero work, Anacleto eventually avenged his father’s death, killing the Butcher Malora in cold blood. However, unlike his father, the second Cerdotado can be easily corrupted, sometimes taking bribes or otherwise breaking the law to help himself. He has many other flaws, including being a brutal law enforcer, suffering from depression, and dealing with alcoholism and porn addiction.

A common theme often addressed in the Cerdotado stories is modern Mexico’s economic, social, and political instability, which disproportionately impacts poor people (including the hero), forcing them to make tough choices.The daily strips tend to criticize or satirize pressing issues, including police corruption and drug violence.

— Mauricio Espinoza

Further Reading

  • Bartra, Armando. “Dawn, Noon, and Dusk of a Tumultuous Narrative: The Evolution of Mexican Comic Art.” Cartooning in Latin America. Ed. John A. Lent. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2005. 253-278.
  • Campbell, Bruce. ¡Viva La Historieta! Mexican Comics, NAFTA, and the Politics of Globalization. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2009.
  • Rubenstein, Anne. Bad Language, Naked Ladies, and Other Threats to the Nation: A Political History of Comic Books in Mexico. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998.