Gabriel Vargas, creator of Mexico's beloved 'La Familia Burron' comic strip, dies at 95

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Gabriel Vargas, the creator of "La Familia Burron," one of Mexico's most-loved comic strips, died Tuesday. He was 95.

The National Council of the Arts and Culture said Vargas died at his home in central Mexico City. It said his health had been failing in recent years, but did not give a cause of death.

La Familia Burron was "one of the greatest representatives of the golden age of Mexican comics" and an "undeniable reference point for the nation's popular culture," the council said in a statement.

The cartoon, which Vargas started in 1937, described in quirky detail the travails of a lower-class Mexican family, their extended family and the barrio where they lived.

Comprised of father Regino Burron, a stolid barber, and his inventive and irrepressible wife, Borola Tacuche de Burron, the family wrestled with poverty and neighborhood disputes on a weekly basis.

The weekly, stand-alone comic books sold as many as 500,000 copies a week for decades, until the 1970s.

Vargas was awarded Mexico's National Journalism Prize in 1983 and the National Sciences and Arts Prize in 2003.

Inspired and influenced at first by American comics, Mexican cartoons quickly took on a life of their own through strips like Vargas'.

Often sold in small, pocket-sized formats, serial comic-book publications remain popular in Mexico.

A memorial viewing for Vargas was held at a Mexico City funeral home Tuesday.