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By Maíra Amorim, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – For the first time in his career one of Brazil’s most important graphic artists and humorists, Ziraldo Alves Pinto, aged 78 and known to his fans simply as Ziraldo, is exhibiting his super hero paintings at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB).

Ziraldo's "O super-asilo" (The Super-Nursing Home), photo courtesy of A Dois Comunicação.

Having built up a fifty year career in design he is now getting back to his roots, and his passion for comic book heroes that first brought him into the business.

The artist is best known for his famous book and character, “Menino Maluquinho” (Nutty Boy), which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year. The unlikely story about a boy who wears a pan on his head and has a very happy and sometimes crazy life left an indelible mark on a generation and continues to be one of the most read works for children today.

Ziraldo is showing 44 large acrylic paintings that comprise the series “Zeróis, Ziraldo na tela grande” (Zeroes, Ziraldo on the big screen). Five of his favorite heroes are depicted in the works: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Captain America and The Phantom. He places the characters in famous landscapes from Picasso, Goya, Dalí, Warhol, Velázquez and others from different times and styles, with a very refined sense of humor and some influence from Pop Art.

“It’s been three years I’ve been making those paintings, but actually it’s been 67 years, because they are a result of all my aesthetic experience through life. My thing in the beginning was to make comic stories,” Ziraldo told O Globo in a recent interview.

"O nascimento do homem" (The birth of men), photo courtesy of A Dois Comunicação.

The artist explains that his goal is always to tell a story: “Everything I did with drawing had a narrative behind it. The exhibition is very important, as it shows the story of one of Brazil’s drawing master who is also part of the country’s history.”

Ziraldo was one of the creators of “Pasquim”, the legendary newspaper that was oppositional to the military dictatorship during the 1960s. Arrested for being considered a “dangerous element”, as an activist he made an unlikely kid’s idol.

His first book for children, “Flicts”, was published in 1969 and throughout his career he continually transitioned between child and adult publications. For this very reason it is rather hard to classify Ziraldo within a single art category; he wrote books and plays, made political comics and worked as a journalist. But he admits everything he has put his name to he owes to North-American comics.

“I am a son of the American comics. They share the narrative with the movies and are the two major American arts,” he said.

The exhibition will be taking place through to September 19th and entrance is free. Ziraldo had actually prepared 46, but decided to leave two out: one with Superman, which was not ready on time, and another one that showed Mickey Mouse in a trap (the latter one left out to avoid controversy).

“We can use the characters as art, it isn’t a problem. But Disney people are very caring of their stuff and would not like to see Mickey portrayed that way.”

Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil

Tuesdays – Sundays, 10AM to 9PM
Until September 19th Free entrance
Rua Primeiro de Março 66 – Centro
Tel.: (21) 3808-2020

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