O Crime do Restaurante Chinês

Ionaldo Cavalcanti was a Brazilian painter, graphic artist and comics scholar. Born in either 1933 or 1935 as Ionaldo de Andrade Cavalcanti in Recife, Pernambuco, he began his activities in the Recife art scene in the late 1940s. He participated in the third Modern Art Salon of Recife in 1948, which marked the beginning of the Modern Art Society of Recife. He also participated in the launch of the Atelier Coletivo, an atelier shared by ten to fifteen artists, in 1952. Around this time, he began to divide his time between painting and advertising work. His paintings mainly dealt with Brazilian folklore and Candomblé themes. They have been exhibited in several solo and group expositions, including the São Paulo Art Biennial of 1967. He also painted murals for the São Paulo Hilton Hotel in 1971.

Cavalcanti moved to São Paulo in 1959, where he started working for Samuel Wainer's tabloid newspaper Última Hora. With the journalist M.A. Camacho, he made a series of comic strips based on true crime stories for this newspaper in 1960-1961. Under the title 'Crimes que Abalaram São Paulo' ("Crimes that shook São Paulo"), three stories were published: 'O Crime da Paralítica Teresa Rank', 'O Crime da Mala' and 'O Crime do Restaurante Chinês'. The artist signed the strips with "Ilo". More crime story adaptations were subsequently drawn for the same paper by Zé Geraldo in the period 1962-1964. Ionaldo Cavalcanti's association with Última Hora ended in 1964 when the paper was closed down by the new military regime. From 1962 to 1974, he was employed by Editora Abril as art director for technical and educational magazines. He subsequently worked as a freelancer from 1974 to 1985, and then joined the cultural tabloid newspaper DO Leitura from 1985 to 1996. He furthermore served as a teacher at the Galeria de Arte of São Paulo.

To the left, the book cover of 'O Mundo Dos Quadrinhos'. Among the characters posing to have their photograph taken by Popeye (E.C. Segar) we recognize from left to right: The Spirit (Will Eisner), Superman (Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster), Prince Valiant (Harold Foster), The Sub-Mariner (Bill Everett), The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician (Lee Falk), Flash Gordon (Alex Raymond), Bathless Groggins (Al Capp and Raeburn Van Buren), Jiggs (George McManus), Alley Oop (V.T. Hamlin), The Lone Ranger (Charles Flanders), Captain America (Jack Kirby and Joe Simon), Top Cat (Hanna-Barbera), The Blue Beetle's sidekick Sparky (Charles Nicholas), Robin (Bob Kane), Mônica (Mauricio de Sousa), Snoopy (Charles M. Schulz), Henry (Carl Anderson), Mafalda (Quino) and Astérix (René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo).To the right, the book cover of 'Esses incríveis heróis de papel'. 

Despite his activities as a "serious" artist, Cavalcanti was also a scholar on popular music and comics. He wrote two theoretical books about comics: 'O Mundo dos Quadrinhos' ("The World of Comics", 1977) and 'Esses incríveis heróis de papel' ("Our Amazing Paper Heroes", 1988). The latter won the HQ Mix Trophy for "Best Theoretical Book" in 1989. In 1994 he began to compile an overview of songs by Brazilian composers of popular music throughout the ages, from classic samba legends like Lupicínio Rodrigues and Cartola to more contemporary artists like Carlinhos Brown and Antônio Cícero. In the end, his database contained about 5.000 composers and 17.000 songs. He donated his collection of about 6.000 comic books to the Pernambuco Cultural Secretariat.

Ionaldo Cavalcanti won the Prêmio Angelo Agostini for Master of National Comics in 2002. He passed away in São Paulo on 6 May 2002.

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