One of the most acclaimed Argentinian comics, Inodoro Pereyra, el renegau [the renegade] is a powerful parody of the gaucho literature tradition of the region. Created by the Argentinian comic artist Roberto “Negro” Fontanarrosa (1944-2007), the comic strip first appeared in 1972 in Hortensia, a humor magazine published in Cordoba, one of the largest cities of the country. It reflects both the centenary of José Hernández’s epic poem Martín Fierro and the maturation of comic industry and graphic humor in the country. Published for more than thirty years, Inodoro Pereyra is considered one of the most important examples of comic art ever produced in Argentina, in the same canonic level of such works as Alberto Breccia (1919-1993) and Héctor German Oesterheld’s (1919-disappeared in 1977) El Eternauta and Quino’s (1932-) Mafalda, among others. Yet, in contrast to these notable examples, Fontanarrosa’s creation has hardly left its birth country.

One possible reason might point the complex amount of regional and national references presented in Inodoro Pereyra. Located between literature and the mass media, the comic crossed several intertextual references along the years: the literature of Hernández, Domingo Sarmiento (1811-1888) and Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986); the paintings of Florencio Molina Campos (1891-1959); folkloric songs and radio theater, and the politics of Greenpeace, for example. There’s also an intensive use of local slangs difficult to translate without losing its powerful expressive. It is important to note, however, that despite all the parody used to satirize the gaucho situation in Argentina, Inodoro Pereyra turned out to be an important national icon even into the 21st century.

Beside the several local references, Inodoro Pereyra’s main topics relate directly with many Latin American realities. Through the years, the comic epic saga of the gaucho, his woman and dog riding a horse through the Argentinian fields called Pampa Úmida appeared alongside more debated topics like the commercial banalization of touristic folklore. Ultimately, the restricted national circulation of the comic strip does not mean its scope was limited; through the regional, Inodoro Pereyra went far beyond Argentina’s national borders.

— Ivan Lima Gomes

 

Further Reading

  • Cancini, Néstor García. Culturas híbridas. São Paulo: Edusp, 1997.
  • Pellegrin Annick. 2010. “Inodoro Pereyra: the gaucho as a national icon”. Literature & Aesthetics 20 (1): 9-25.
  • Merino, Ana. 2000. “Inodoro Pereyra, A ‘Gaucho’ in the Pampa of Paper and Ink: Folkloric and Literary Intertextuality and its Reformulations in Argentinean Comics.” 2000. International Journal of Comic Art. 1 (2): 190-197.
  • Pereira, Pereira. 2011.  Entre a épica e a paródia: a (des) mistificação do gaucho nos quadrinhos de Inodoro Pereyra, el renegau. Campinas: Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Master Dissertation).