Argentine comic artist Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known as Quino, died on Wednesday at the age of 88.

His former publisher Daniel Divinsky announced the death on Twitter.

The draftsman became famous for his character "Mafalda", a six-year-old girl who ponders the world's problems.

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"Quino has died. All good people in the country and in the world will mourn him," wrote Divinsky.

The Argentine vice-president and former head of state Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said with a view to the dictatorship in Argentina in the 197s and 80s that Quino said things that should not be said.

He "challenged society with great force".

During the dictatorship he drew a six-year-old human rights activist

"Mafalda" was first published in 1964.

On Quino's website, she is described as a "curious, intelligent, ironic, non-conformist girl" who "deals with peace and human rights, hates soup and loves the Beatles".

The comics were made famous in Europe by the Italian writer Umberto Eco and translated into two dozen languages, according to Quino's website.

They were also published in China, but they were not very successful in the English-speaking world.

Even when Quino pursued other projects, he also devoted himself time and again to the socially critical, bright and clairvoyant "Mafalda".

His characters often point with a wink to the absurdity of social conventions, to exploitation, authoritarianism and their own limits.

"I don't think my cartoons are the kind that people laugh at. I tend to use a dissecting knife rather than tickle," Quino said in a

2000

interview with

The UNESCO Courier

magazine

.

"I don't try to be humorous; it just comes out of me. I would like to be funnier, but as you get older you become less amusing and more astute."

Quino was "the creator of the unforgettable" Mafalda "and one of the most international cartoonists in Spanish," recalled the Madrid-based Royal Spanish Academy.

"His precise words traveled to both sides of the Atlantic thanks to his cartoons and his distinctive humor."

In the 1970s Quino devoted himself to other projects, but "Mafalda" remained popular.

Humor and art wear out, he said.

"Although the books continue to sell really well and people are asking for more, I think I made the right decision when I stopped doing Mafalda and I don't miss them at all."