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Comic Lane: Paseo de la Historieta

In San Telmo, Argentina

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Comic Lane: Paseo de la Historieta

Mafalda on the Comic Lane: Paseo de la Historieta in San Telmo

Photo courtesy of Beatrice Murch Photography.
Many thanks to long time resident in the San Telmo Neighborhood and professional photographer, Beatrice Murch, who wrote this article about the comic book statues popping up along "Comic Lane" in her neighborhood.

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In a bid to make the historic neighborhood of San Telmo even more touristic, the city of Buenos Aires has recently created the “Paseo de la Historieta” or “Comic Lane”. Fiberglass statues of beloved Argentine cartoon characters are being installed alongside the cobblestone streets. Eventually, they will lead to the “Museo del Humor” (Humor Museum). Thus far, four out of the ten projected statues have been installed. The first, and by far, the most famous is Mafalda.

This young, but wise, cartoon character is as famous and as beloved in Argentina as Charlie Brown in the USA. Known for her opinionated views on life and her utter dislike of her mother’s soup, Mafalda was an obvious choice to start when the project was launched in August 2009.

Located at the corner of Chile and Defensa streets in San Telmo, Mafalda sits on a bench inviting tourists and fans alike to sit down beside her and have their picture taken. On Sundays, when the San Telmo Street Faire is in full swing on Defensa street, there is a long line to have a seat with the young girl.

Recently installed in July, the next statue to go up was Isdoro Cañones by the late Dante Quintero. He is located one block away at Chile and Balcarce. Known as the ‘playboy’ of Argentine comics, he stands on the corner with his arms folded and an open smile inviting people to strike a pose next to him. The second statue brought the project of “Comic Lane” to life after three years of hiatus.

In the past month, two more statues have been installed along Balcarce street. The character of Larguirucho by M. Garcia Ferré and Matías by F. Sendra. Larguirucho was part of the TV comic Hijitus from 1967-1974. He’s at the corner of Balcarce and Mexico streets. Matías is half-way between Mexico and Venezuela streets on his skateboard. Along the way on Balcarce, various buildings have been painted with other cartoon characters to create a festive and cheery atmosphere somewhat incongruous to the historic vibe of San Telmo.

These statues are not without some controversy. The artist originally picked to create all the statues, Pablo Irrgang, recently found out that the city government has opened up to bid the remaining statues to other artists. He is at a loss to understand why his project has been opened up to artists, but such is the vagaries and whims of the Buenos Ares City Government.

Six statues remain to be constructed and installed, winding their way up Balcarce, to Belgrano and then to Paseo Colon. The statues are: El Loco Chávez by C. Trillo and H. Altuna, Clemente by Caloi, Chicas Divito by G. Divito, Don Fulgencio by L. Palacio, Patoruzu by Dante Quinterno and finally Gaturro by Nik. If you want to find out about who these beloved characters are, follow the “Paseo de la Historieta” to its end and make your way to the Musel del Humor.

The statues will finish at the city bicycle pick-up station, where you can get a bike to ride Belgrano Avenue across to Puerto Madero to the Museo del Humor at Av de los Italianos 851.

The museum is open Mon-Fri 11 am to 6 pm and on weekends and holidays from 10 am to 8 pm. The entrance costs 10 pesos. There are guided tours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 am to 3 pm.

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