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Originally from Michoacán, Rius trained as a teenager to be a Catholic priest (of all things!). Dropping out of the seminary, he then moved to Mexico City where he held a series of odd jobs. He became a cartoonist and started out drawing traditional one or two panel strips for Mexican humour magazines in The Fifties. Eventually he created his series Los Supermachos in The Sixties and Los Agachados in The Seventies, both series had their own magazines and were set in Mexican rural villages. He cemented his fame after publishing in 1966 Cuba para principiantes (Cuba for Beginners) which was the first of his general knowledge books. The latter were published in a small graphic novel format but their bent was rather didactic instead of narrative, with the plot very much in the background (if at all existent). Except for the Supermachos series and his earlier strips, all of Rius's work includes collage as his signature illustrating technique.
A staunch leftist activist and former communist, Rius's books continue to be popular in Mexico and many of them have been translated to several languages. His works have earned him awards and recognition in the medium internationally. Many of his comic books can be found translated to English in Amazon.com.
His books are known for their humor and simplicity, attempting to reach the general public, in fact it actually has helped many people to understand the fundamental difference between capitalism and socialism/communism.
- After the End: During the Cold War Rius always predicted an eventual communist victory. Well, since the fall of the Berlin Wall Rius has kept publishing in books and magazines anyways.
- The Alcoholic: Nopaltzin.
- All-Natural Snake Oil: Several of his books dedicated to naturism/vegetarianism/herbal medicine/anti-pharmaceutical/anti-food industry come across as this, almost always ending with he phrase "The best thing is always the natural".
- America Screws The Day: Oho boy... the guy is fervently anti-American, essentially blaming the country for every ill in the world, from the poverty on your country to obesity.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Sort of, if you believe that humanity has always been dominated by the same group of people with the same special interests (the ruling class, who wish to exploit the rest).
- Armies Are Evil: Especially if its the U.S. army.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Money is power, with it capitalists can bribe, ransack poor countries, exploit workers, swindle people and... do business."
- Author Filibuster: When parts of a book have a plot there will be inevitably one point in which Gumaro or any other character will start elaborating and/or preaching about the point of the chapter.
- Author Tract
- Bad Cop, Incompetent Cop: The henchmen of Trastupijes. Also the two policemen in San Garabato.
- Big Bad: Uncle Sam.
- Broken Pedestal: To Fidel Castro as expected.
- Chewbacca Defense: When he tries to defend the Aztec's human sacrifices by saying that they were no worse than the European Inquisition.
- Corrupt Bureaucrat: Trastupijes.
- Corrupt Church: Pretty much how he portrays any organized religion with special emphasis on the Catholic church.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Again, how he portrays anyone that is a capitalist.
- Corrupt Politician: Practically any politician in the real world not showing socialist tendencies but for an in-universe example we have Don Perpetuo del Rosal.
- Crap Saccharine World: After the Communism's collapse all Socialist countries were Retconed as this.
- Dirty Communists: Subverted and repeatedly denied.
- Did Not Do the Research: Or maybe he did but edited out the inconvenient stuff.
- Double Standard: Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, he widely criticized the U.S. government and Western powers, mentioning almost nothing bad from the socialist states of the time. He admitted this later, saying that he "Didn't want to provide ammunition for Imperialism".
- Eagle Land: Type 2.
- The Evil Empire: The U.S.A.
- The Fundamentalist: Doña Tecla.
- The Great Politics Mess-Up: BIG TIME.
- History Marches On: Several of his books have been edited in later editions to reflect the exposure of several historical facts, like some less-than-honorable acts by Che Guevara, Trotsky's role in the Russian Revolution followed by his later exile, the publication of the KGB archives and so on.
- Layman's Terms: That's the intention of his comic strips and books.
- Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: The most egregious examples of this are his books against the food industry, and his claims on how the food preservatives are poisoning us, usually goes as this:
Straw Ignorant: That's exaggerated! If that were true we would all be dead.
Author Avatar: Not dead, but sickened. Have you noticed the growing trend on <insert disease name here>?
- Nebulous Evil Organisation: Above all, the CIA; But any big, transnational business company also qualifies and of course the Catholic Church.
- Old Shame: His first book on the Cuban Revolution, another dedicated to the (East) German Democratic Republic, and practically any book that prophesied the fall of capitalism and the rise of communism. Even he acknowledges this.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: All the good guys of his strips have, and he devotes a lot of books to try to convince you of doing the same.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: As mentioned before, this was his treatment of any Communist revolution with special emphasis on the Cuban Revolution, he even justified and praised this in Cuba Libre (Free Cuba): "The (Cuban) government tolerates anything to the press... except criticizing the Revolution."
- Science Marches On: The first edition of the book dedicated to AIDS contains a lot of outdated information, like warning that the HIV could be acquired by insect bites, and presents the Conspiracy Theory of AIDS originally being a bio-weapon developed by the Reagan's administration as fact, later editions have more updated facts.
- Sinister Minister: Played straight with his portrayal of Catholic high hierarchy, but surprisingly averted with the low one: There is the Gary Stu'ish, recently ordained, young progressive priest and the older, more conservative one of the town, even the latter is portrayed sympathetically in some strips.
- Strawman Political: Played straight with his portrayal of capitalists and Americans.
- Take That: To other cartoonists and authors with more conservative views (and anyone that advocates for free market for that matter).
- Take That Me: "If you want to continue eating in peace, don't read my petty books".
- Veganopia: Besides his old communist sympathies, Rius is known as a passionate vegetarian; half or more of his most recent work is about nutrition.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: According to him: If you own a business and have people working for you, you are a dirty exploiter of human lives.
- Why We're Bummed Communism Fell: One would think so but it's reasonably averted since Rius has been quite a sport about being on the losing side of the Cold War (he's still a left winger though, and his most recent work shows it).
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Subverted with his treatment on The War on Terror, where he basically says that the 9/11 terrorists are no worse than the U. S. and that the war on terror is basically Evil vs. Evil.