Times Nachotoons artist Garcia set to retire

EL PASO, Texas - He's been a fixture in the Borderland for decades, chronicling El Paso's history with his talented hands.

But El Paso Times graphic artist Nacho Garcia, creator of "Nachotoons," is working his final day at the newspaper this week.

ABC-7 sat down with Garcia at his home in East El Paso this afternoon to talk about his amazing career. Garcia, like columnist Joe Muench, got caught up in the downsizing of the El Paso Times and is one of at least 19 employees to be laid off. But during his nearly two decades with the times, Garcia's work has become legendary.

The 66-year-old Garcia spent more than 30 years as an advertising artist in El Paso, working for places like Popular Dry Goods and Courtesy Chevrolet, before landing at the El Paso Times in the mid-1990's.

"I was reading the paper and I saw, 'If you have a political cartoon idea send it in and you'll see it published,'" Garcia said. "I send it in and they use it."

Since then, Garcia has poked fun with his "Nachotoons" at everybody from former Mayor John Cook, who was one of his favorite targets, to City Manager Joyce Wilson, Congressman Rep. Beto O'rourke, the UTEP football team and even the Pope.

"He's never complained," Garcia said of Cook, "never said anything bad. Humor is sadistic if you think about it. It's at the expense of somebody else. You laugh when somebody slips and falls as long as it isn't you, right? I want them to laugh. There's a saying that if you've made at least one person smile a day, then your life would have been worthwhile, right?"

Garcia, a 1965 graduate of Burges High School, has had a lot of fun lately at the expense of the El Paso Chihuahuas, using his signature gecko with sunglasses.

"Instead of the alligator at the park, it's the little chihuahua and when the little gecko says, 'Oh, it's all coming together now. The conspiracy. They sent the alligators off. Here come those chihuahuas."

Many considered it an honor to be mocked by Garcia.

"Yeah, some people say, 'OK, I got my Nachotoon,'" he said.

Although Garcia is leaving the newspaper, he said he is working on an agreement with the El Paso Times that would keep his "nachotoons" running on a weekly basis.

El Paso Times columnist Joe Muench told ABC-7 he has come to an agreement to continue writing his Sunday column in the Times.

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