Disney comics in Brazil in the ‘30s and ‘40s

by Roberto Elísio dos Santos*



[Introduction: A few days after having completed the 5 part series about International Disney Magazines Before WWII for TDU, I had the chance to meet over the phone Roberto Elísio dos Santos, who had just completed a book about Disney comics around the world. Roberto mentioned that quite a few Brazilian publications before WWII had featured Disney characters on their covers. This sounded like part 6 of the series was still to be written. He accepted to tell the tale and even expand it a little. Let’s follow him to Rio de Janeiro. – Didier Ghez]


The Brazilian publications opened their pages (and their cover) to Disney characters in the early ‘30s. Starting in 1933, the reader could encounter in the magazine “O Tico-Tico” strips featuring the adventures of Mickey – named “Ratinho Curioso” (“Curious Mouse”) for the occasion. Those strips were the Gottfredson ones but attributed by mistake to Walt Disney for the script and to a M.B. (sic) Iwerks (a strange reference to Ub  Iwerks) for the drawings.


Launched in 1905, “O Tico-Tico” was the oldest magazine aimed at kids in Brazil. Based on the model of similar French publications that existed at the time, it offered its readers stories, activities and short comics (of one or two pages) created by Brazilian artists, as well as American comic strips (starting with Felix the Cat, Popeye the Sailor and, of course, Mickey Mouse). A Mickey face also appeared in the title of the publication (drawn by one of “O Tico-Tico” artists) alongside other American or Brazilian characters featured in the magazine.


In addition to being featured in “O Tico-Tico”, the Disney characters were also seen in the pages of the children newspaper supplement from “A Gazeta” called “A Gazetinha”. But it was only in 1934, thanks to the initiative of Adolfo Aizen, that the stories of Mickey and other Disney characters – Donald had his special edition in October 1938 – started to be featured regularly in the kids supplement of the newspaper “A Manhã” called “Suplemento Juvenil”: in its issue number 5, from April 11, 1934, when it was still called “Suplemento Infantil”, a few scenes from the “Silly Symphonies” series were linked together and a text was added to create a story.  In the following issue, Mickey made his first appearance as part of the “Symphonia Singular Colorida” (“Silly Symphony in Color”). Ironically his story was actually published in black and white. The art was by Gottfredson but the balloons had been removed and replaced by a text at the bottom of the panels. On October 31, 1938, “Suplemento Juvenil” featured Donald Duck strips by Al Taliaferro as well as the adventures of the elephant “Bolinha” (“Elmer”).


Two other publications launched in the ‘30s in Brazil included Disney strips: “O Guriand  O Lobinho”. (The Christmas edition of “O Lobinho” published on December 31, 1941 featured among other characters Donald Duck and The Reluctant Dragon). In those publications, Mickey, Donald and their friends share the pages of the magazines with other comics, usually those distributed by King Features Syndicate. In 1939, entrepreneur Roberto Marinho (owner of the newspaper “O Globo”) launched in newsstands the publication that in Brasil would literally become synonymous with “comic strip magazine”, “Gibi”, in whose pages one could find strips of Donakd Duck (along with his nephews, Daisy – known as Margarida – and the dog Bolivar among others) created by Al Taliaferro.


In the ‘40s, Adolfo Aizen published two illustrated albums for the company A Noite :Almanaque Walt Disney” and “Almanaque Walt Disney 1944” that were composed of stories and drawings of the Disney characters. When he launched the publishing company EBAL (Editora Brasil Ameríca), in 1945 in Rio de Janeiro, Aizen opened new perspectives for the Disney comics. From the magazine “Mirim” (in May 1939 that magazine had featured the comic strip adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in a special edition), that he had published since May 1937, came a collection called “Biblioteca Mirim”, that started in 1938 and included “Pato Donald” (“Donald Duck”), “Camundongo Mickey e os 7 fantasmas” (“Mickey Mouse and the 7 Ghosts”) and “Pluto” in issues 18, 20 and 21 (later those titles were re-published as part of the “Novíssima Biblioteca Mirim” that also included “Pinóquio”). But it is with EBAL that Aizen published in the mid-‘40s the “Coleção Big” that includes 16 volumes and, starting in 1948, the “Coleção Walt Disney”, composed of 12 volumes. The fist of those two series presented stories created by Gottfredson but without the balloons and with only one panel per page surrounded by the text. In the second series, based on the same principle, one could find “200 pages and 200 drawings” per volume. Those publications can’t really be considered as being comic books; they are, in reality, comic books transformed into illustrated books.


EBAL was the first publisher in Brazil to release magazines that only contained Disney comics: from 1946 till 1948 it published 17 issues of the magazine “Seleções Coloridas” (printed in Argentina, as Brazil at the time did not have the ability to do the job), 12 of which contained stories with Disney characters (issues 1 to 10 and 12, 14 and 16). Thanks to this publication, Brazilian readers could appreciate the works of Barks and Gottfredson, as well as the creation of Argentine artist Luis Destuet, that illustrated two stories featuring Donald. After having cancelled “Seleções Coloridas”, EBAL launched a new series called “Nova Coleção Walt Disney”, at the end of the ‘40s, printed in black and white in a rectangular format that contained only 8 issues.


The Disney comics started being published regularly in Brazil in July 1950, when Editora Abril launched the first issue of “O Pato Donald” (“Donald Duck”). This monthly magazine, in its first 21 issues, was based on the weekly Argentine “El Pato Donald”, that had been launched in July 1944. It marked the start of the modern era of Disney comics in Brazil.




* Journalist, PhD in Communications, university professor at the IMES of São Caetano do Sul and author of the books Introdução à Teoria da Communicação and Para reler os quadrihnos Disney: linguagem, evolução e análise de HQs (“How to re-read the Disney Comics”) published in 2002 by Editora Paulinas.


A guide to the 4 EBAL series mentioned in this article



Coleção Walt Disney


1– João Mata-sete (Mickey, o alfaiate valente)

2- Pateta

3- O Porquinho Prático

4- O elefante Bolinha

5- O Patinho Feio

6- Clarabela

7- “MamãePluto

8- Minie, a namorada

9- Mickey em apuros

10- Donald versus Quinquim

11- Sinfonia Campestre

12- Coisas do Pluto.


Coleção Big


1-     Carioca (arte by Bob Grant)

2-     Mickey e a lâmpada maravilhosa (arte by Gottfredson)

3-     Branca de Neve e os 7 Anões

4-     Pato Donald estrelas

5-     Dumbo, o elefante voador

6-     Os filhos de Bambi.


Seleções Coloridas


1-     O “crack” Pato Donald (Destuet) + Donald e o pica-pau (Barks)

2-     Mickey educando Terça-feira (Gottfredson)

3-     Donald e o anel da múmia (Barks) + Esportes de Inverno (Barks)

4-     Mickey em missão secreta (Gottfredson)

5-     Os filhos de Bambi

6-     Donald em Catch-as-catch can (Destuet) + PD vendedor (Barks)

7-     O Pequeno Lobo Mau

8-     Mickey na Idade da Pedra (Gottfredson)

9-     Donald e o tesouro do pirata (Donald Duck finds pirate gold, from Barks and Hanna)

10- Branca de Neve e os 7 Anões

12– Mickey e a caixa eletrônica (Gottfredson)

14- Donald no Alasca (Barks) + Resoluções (Barks)

16- Bambi

Issues 11, 13, 15 e 17 are not Disney strories.


Nova Coleção Walt Disney


1-     Mickey e o feiticieiro

2-     Cascudinho em busca de um bom clima (Bucky Bug)

3-     Mickey e o monstro que não existia

4-     Donald em busca do tesouro (Donald Duck finds pirate gold, from Barks and Hanna)

5-     A bomba atômica de Donald (Barks)

6-     Donald e o vizinho misterioso (Al Taliaferro)

7-     Pluto detetive

8-     Mickey na casa mal-assombrada