'Alex e Cris'.

Walmir Amaral had a long association with the Brazilian publishing house Rio Gráfica Editora from 1957 to 1986. He produced covers and illustrations with several licensed characters, most notably Lee Falk's 'The Phantom'. He also succeeded Flavio Colin on the crime serial 'Aventuras do Anjo' (1962-1965), and worked for other publishers on such series as 'O Vingador' (mid-1960s), 'Zhor, O Atlanta' (1973), 'Zorro' (1973-1975) and 'Alex e Cris' (1974-1975).

Early life
Walmir Amaral de Oliveira was born in 1939 in the Meier district of Rio de Janeiro into an Italian-Portuguese family. As a child, he made chalk drawings on the sidewalk near his house and told the stories to passers-by.

Rio Gráfica Editora
At age 17 he was hired by Roberto Marinho as an art assistant at the publishing house Rio Gráfica Editora (RGE), a sister company of the newspaper O Globo. He was one of the main artists and occasional writers for this publishing house from the 1950s through the 1980s. RGE was a commercially oriented publishing venture, with a focus on comic books related to US comics properties from Marvel Comics, DC Comics and King Features Syndicate. Local artists such as Walmir Amaral and Primaggio Mantovi took care of the remounting of newspaper strips to the comic book format, but also of cover illustrations and new stories whenever the source material ran out.

Cavalerio Negro
At his own initiative, Walmir Amaral drew a ten-page story with 'Cavalerio Negro', the US western hero 'Black Rider' created for Timely/Marvel by Syd Shores. Several more followed. The series' many guns, pistols and rifles even turned the man into an avid gun collector. In a similar fashion, Amaral was one of the local artists of 'Flecha Ligeira', Brazil's edition of Gardner Fox and Fred Meagher's 'Straight Arrow'. Amaral's further RGE work include dozens of covers for the comic books Flash Gordon, Fantasma (Lee Falk's 'The Phantom'), Mandrake (Lee Falk's 'Mandrake the Magician'), Kripta (a horror anthology compiled from the Warren magazines Eerie and Creepy), Cavaleiro Fantasma (Marvel's 'Ghost Rider'), Águia Negra (Peter Chapman's 'Sir Falcon'), Dico O Artilheiro (José Luis Salinas and Alfreddo Grassi's 'Dick the Gunner') and the comic magazines Gibi Semanal (1974-1975).

'Aventuras do Anjo' #72.

Aventuras do Anjo
In 1962 he succeeded Flavio Colin as the artist of the comic books based on the crime suspense radio serial 'Aventuras do Anjo' by Álvaro Aguiar. Amaral initially worked with Aguiar's scripts for the radio series, but he eventually turned to making his own stories. The final issue appeared in 1965.

The Phantom
From the 1960s through the 1980s, Amaral was a prominent artist of Lee Falk's fantasy characters 'The Phantom' and 'Mandrake the Magician'. He drew not only hundreds of 'Fantasma' covers, and also about 26 stories with the character created in the periods 1969-1972 and 1980-1982. The Brazilian stories were exchanged with foreign 'Phantom' publications, most notably 'Fantomen' by Semic Press in Sweden, which also had an extensive local story production. RGE apparently didn't have the exclusive Brazilian rights to 'The Phantom', as another publisher, Editora Saber, released a similar monthly title between 1969 and 1975. Walmir Amaral drew a couple of stories for this title, which he signed with "Amaral", while his RGE work was signed as "Walmir". In the 1980s, Amaral directed RGE's local 'Phantom' team, consisting of Wanderley Mayhé, Adauto Silva, Julio Shimamoto and Antonino Homobono.

Phantom by Walmir Amaral
Covers for Fantasma #192 and #282.

Other publishers
In addition to his work for RGE, Walmir Amaral drew for a couple of other publishing houses in the 1960s and 1970s. Besides the aforementioned Saber, he drew adventures of 'O Vingador', the masked cowboy created by Hélio Porto, for Editora Outubro in the mid-1960s. He drew for the sole issue of 'Zhor, O Atlanta' (1973), a sword and sorcery comic book written by Francisco de Assis P. da Silva for Editora Taíka. It was reprinted by Criativo Editora in November 2017. Between 1973 and 1975 the artist drew about a dozen stories with Walt Disney's 'Zorro' for Editorial Abril, which were mostly written by Primaggio Mantovi or Ivan Saidenberg. He was also present in Abril's short-lived comic magazine Crás! (1974-1975) with 'Alex e Cris', a sexy secret agents duo inspired by John M. Burns' 'The Seekers'. It was written by Octaviano Ribeiro.

Zhor, by Walmir Amaral

Rio Gráfica Editora's activities came to an end in 1986. In the 1990s, Walmir Amaral drew educational material for the language education programs of the Anglo-American Cultural Centre CCAA in Rio de Janeiro. He was awarded the Angelo Agostini award for his contributions to the Brazilian comic industry in 1997. He came out of his retirement for a first time in 2011 as one of the artists for an anthology comic book adaptation of Álvares de Azevedo's Gothic fiction short story collection 'Noite na Taverna' by Editora Ática. In 2013 he participated in the horror anthology 'Zumbis e Outras Criaturas das Trevas' by Editorial Kalaco. Editora Criativo devoted an installment in their 'Sketchbook Custom' collection to Walmir Amaral and his art in 2017.

'Zorro' (Edição Extra # 57, 1974).

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