quarta-feira, 7 de outubro de 2009


When we talk about Brazil, the first things which generally come to mindare Carnival, Soccer and the Amazon Jungle, but the land of sunshine hasso much more to show the world. The city of São Paulo, for example,is a kind of "New York of the tropics" (in the words of Mick Jagger,when he visited the metropolis for the first time in 1968). And likeNew York, São Paulo has comic book superheroes, such as Meteoro,Raio Negro, Capitão 7, and Mylar--the Mystery Man. In general, theBrazilian people very much like superheroes, as we'll now see...

In the Beginning

The first Brazilian comic strip was As Aventuras de Nhô Quim (The Adventures of Mr. Quim) of January 30, 1869, by Angelo Agostini, and published in the pages of Vida Fluminense magazine. Agostini was a fighter for the end of slavery in Brazil, which happened in 1883. His strips had social criticism relevant to the times.

On October 11 1905, the journalist Luiz Bartolomeu de Souza e Silva published O Tico-Tico magazine, the first publication made for children only. “Tico-Tico” is the name of a bird from Brazil. But this magazine did not present only comic strips, but fun and games too.

Finally, in 1934, the publisher Adolfo Aizen (a Jewish-Russian naturalized Brazilian citizen) put on the newsstands the Suplemento Juvenil (Youthful Tabloid or Youthful Supplement). The Suplemento Juvenil was placed inside some newspapers, and presented for first time for Brazil audience several American comic heroes such as Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, Mandrake and Dick Tracy, and a Brazilian adventurer, Roberto Sorocaba, created by Monteiro Filho.

Three years later, another supplement, A Gazetinha (The Little Gazette) from the city of São Paulo, published O Garra Cinzenta (The Grey Claw) by Renato Silva (writer) and Francisco Armond (artist). The Garra was a kind of pulp horror in comic page format, featuring 100 episodes of one page each. The irony in that story is the fact that the protagonist was a villain, not the hero (in the same tradition as Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu). The success of the Garra Cinzenta was so great that it was published in Europe during the ‘40s. But, until that moment, Brazilian publishers lacked interest in publishingHome-grown comic heroes...

The “Golden Age” of the Brazilian Superheroes
In 1950 television arrived in Brazil and a “new world” opened to children. The Capitão 7 (Captain Seven) show, transmitted by Record Broadcasting Station, was a great success , and in turn inspired the comic book adaptation, with issue # 1 being dated November 1959. The Captain was the first Brazilian costumed hero.
On the TV show Capitão 7 was an adventurer like Flash Gordon, but in his comic book he had some spectacular super-powers. The plots of stories were by various writers and artists. The most famous authors are Júlio Shimamoto and the editor Jayme Cortez. The Captain Seven comic book was canceled just a few years after the final TV episode.

In February 1965, the GEP Company published the first issue of Raio Negro (Black Bolt), a superhero with a power ring and origin story very similar to that of John Broome and Gil Kane’s Green Lantern. His creator, Gedeone Malagola, later talked about it: “My editors showed me a Green Lantern comic book and requested something similar. I just did it.” Well, Black Bolt did have a relative success between 1965–1967 years, but it’s important to understand that Brazilian readers were not yet acquainted with Broome's Green Lantern. The Raio Negro comics showed the strange Homem-Lua (Moon-Man) by Gedeone Malagola too. An interesting hero, even though he's a hero with an extravagant ball on his head

1966 saw the entry of Fantar – the Atomic monster by Milton Mattos and Edmundo Rodrigues. Fantar was a giant creature who resembled the later Erik Larsen creation, Savage Dragon, as well as monsters of Japanese movies. But one of the most interesting superhero from that age is Golden Guitar, published by Graúna Company and scripted by Macedo A. Torres. Inspired by the musical movement called “Jovem Guarda” (literally, “Young Guard”, or more idiomatically “Young Generation” or “New Generation”) – which had singer Roberto Carlos as its greatest idol.

In similar fashion, the pop star Reanato Fortuna was the Golden Guitar’s alter ego. He fought against crime with his electric guitar, which was able to emit powerful laser rays. The “Golden Age” Brazilian Superheroes’ high point happened when the Marvel Super-Heroes animated cartoons series (by Grant-Ray-Laurence Company) began to appear on stations around the tropical country in 1967. Publisher Adolfo Aizen put out Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Namor and Captain America comic books (and some time later, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and Daredevil, too) through his EBAL imprint. The “Marvel Fever” inspired other (and small) companies to publish their own characters such as*Bola de Fogo (Fireball). He’s only a poor carbon copy of the Human Torch;*Escorpião (Scorpion).Created by artist and writer Wilson Fernandes and editor Heli Lacerda to Taika Company. The King Features accused Taika’s Escorpião of being a carbon copy of the Phantom by Lee Falk, and threaten to sue. So, Lacerda contracted an Argentinian artist, based in Brazil, Rodolfo Zalla, to redevelop the character as an Amazon Jungle defender. This was very good for the hero and his comic was enjoyed by the readers for some time);*Spectro, by Juarez Odilon;*Super Heros, by Edrel Company bullpen;*Morcego (Bat), by Wilson Fernandes;*Homem-Fera (Beast-Man) by Rubens Cordeiro;*Judoka (Judo Fighter)was created by artist Pedro Anisio in 1970 to substitute for Charlton’s Judomaster stories in own magazine, after the American company finished producing new material. His book had a long run by EBAL, was great success and the hero starred in a movie around 1973. Since then, this book has never again been published.*Velta, by Emir Ribeiro (Ribeiro was ghost-artist of Mike Deodato on Thor and Wonder Woman comics in the ‘90s)*Ultrax – by E. C. Nickel*Meteoro (The Meteor) by Roberto Guedes – Hey… my “son”! Meteoro is a high school student who gained his superhuman powers from mysterious energy contained within a tiny meteorite, which had been sent to Earth by a representative of the “Universal Conclave”, a cosmic “secret society”. The first appearance of Meteoro took place in Meteoro # 1 (February, 1992), thus making it a part of the “New Age of the Brazilian Superheroes”.

Anyway, the most significant were the heroes created by Eugênio Colonnese, an Italian-Brazilian artist living in the state of São Paulo since 1964. Colonnese is a kind of “Brazilian Jack Kirby” not by his artistic style but because of his powerful imagination and fast pencil. He produced several comic pages each month, with heroes such as
*Mylar (the Mystery Man), a masked alien;*Superargo (Super-Argonaut), a secret agent and capoeira fighter (Capoeira being a form of dance developed by African slaves in Brazil, with the agility they thereby gained being used as part of their resistance to their Portuguese owners; today, Capoeira is taught in schools as a form of martial arts);* Pele de Cobra (Snake Skin), an adventurous motorcycle-man;*Mirza (the Vampire-Woman bad girl). An interesting fact about Mirza is that she appeared in comic books in 1967, two years before Vampirella made her mark on the comic scene; and finally,*X-Man (Yes! But it’s possible that his creator, Eugenio Colonnese did not know anything about the Marvel mutants at the time). Colonnese’s X-Man was the first Brazilian hero to star in a color story, in 1970. Until that time, Brazilian super-heroes had appeared only in black-and-white magazines.

With the oil crisis in 1973 and the expensive prices of paper, some small companies closed their doors and the Brazilian Superhero comics ceased to exist. In the seventies and eighties the writers and artists “immigrated” to the horror magazines: Calafrio (Chilling), Espektro (Spectre) and Pesadelo (Nightmare), or underground comix such as Porrada! (Punch!), Circo (Circus) and Udrigrudi (Underground).In the ‘90s the “New Age of the Brazilian Superheroes” started, but that’s a subject for another article.

Matéria gentilmente cedida: © Copyright Roberto Guedes. All rights reserved
Um resumo sinótico dos comics no Brasil, abordado pelo escritor, roteirista, editor, tradutor, pesquisador e ensaísta Roberto Guedes, amplamente discutido no seu livro - A Saga dos Super-Heróis Brasileiros. Visualisar esta matéria e outras de grande importância para a HQBR: http://guedes-manifesto.blogspot.com

CRANIO - 1988 - by Francinildo Sena - Brasil