Le Brigand du Sertao by Flavio Colin
'Le Brigand du Sertao' (French edition of 'Estórias Gerais')

Flavio Colin was one of the most notable Brazilian comics artists of his generation, known his highly remarkable and distinctive drawing style. After working on comic books based on foreign properties, Colin became one of the strong advocates of a nationalization of the Brazilian comic book industry in the 1960s. Throughout his career, he has produced several comics based on local history, folklore and characters, such as 'Sepé' (1963), 'Vizunga' (1965), 'Mulher-Diaba no rastro de Lampião' (1994), 'O Boi das Aspas de Ouro' (1997) and 'Estórias Gerais' (2001). For many years however, his stylized artwork was dedicated to a vast amount of horror stories for publishers like Outubro, Vecchi, D'Arte and Grafipar.

Early life
Flávio Barbosa Mavignier Colin was born in 1930 in Rio de Janeiro. He spent his high school days with the Franciscan friars of Porto União, Santa Catarina. Still in school, he sold his first comic stories to his classmates. The U.S. newspaper cartoonists he read had a defining influence on his drawing style, most notably the grandmasters Chester Gould, Milton Caniff, Burne Hogarth and Alex Raymond. Local influences on Colin's artwork were J. Carlos, André Leblanc and Arcindo Madeira.

Rio Gráfica e Editora
His professional career took off in 1956 when his association with the publishing house Rio Gráfica e Editora (RGE) began. He remained with the company until 1959. His first contributions were to the short-lived educational title Enciclopédia em Quadrinhos. His artwork then appeared in the pulp magazine X-9, a joint venture of RGE and the newspaper O Globo, named after Alex Raymond's 'Secret Agent X-9'. Colin reportedly also drew original stories for the comic books 'Cavalerio Negro' and 'Águia Negra', which were in fact Brazilian editions of the US western hero 'Black Rider' (created for Timely/Marvel by Syd Shores) and the Australian medieval vigilante 'Sir Falcon' (created for Frew Publications by Peter Chapman). His final work for RGE were comic books based on the crime suspense radio serial 'Aventuras do Anjo' by Álvaro Aguiar, where the setting was notably changed from the USA to Brazil. When Colin left Rio Gráfica after 43 issues in 1962, Walmir Amaral took over the art duties.

Vizunga, by Flavio Colin
'Vizunga'

National comics
Back then the Brazilian comic book market relied heavily on foreign material. In fact, much of Colin's work for Rio Gráfica e Editora starred foreign characters whenever the source material was unavailable. The lack of an actual comics production based on Brazil's own culture and traditions was sorely felt by local creators. It forced Colin not only to frequently work in the commercial art sector, but also established ventures aimed at the promotion of original Brazilian comic strips, and a law to reserve a certain market share for such publications. One of the initiatives was the publishing house CETPA (Cooperativa Editora de Trabalhos de Porto Alegre), founded in February 1962 at the initiative of left-wing governor Leonel Brizola in Porto Alegre. Besides Colin, the associated artists were Renato Canini, Getúlio Delphim, Júlio Shimamoto, João Mottini and Luiz Saidenberg, with Zé Geraldo as president. Some of the artists had a fixed salary from the organization, others were paid per assignment, mostly by the government. Flávio Colin's main production for the cooperative was a newspaper comic strip based on the 18th century Guarani leader Sepé Tiaraju and his battle against the Spanish and Portuguese during the Guaraní War. Written by Climo, the strip was syndicated by CETPA to the newspaper Última Hora in 1963. For a period of two years, he had a well-documented daily strip about a hunter called 'Vizunga' (1965), which appeared in the newspaper Folha de São Paulo through Mauricio de Sousa's agency.


'O Garoto de Antonina' (Neuros #8)

Horror comics
Between 1962 and 1964, Colin additionally worked for Editora Outubro of São Paulo. He made his first horror comics for this company's anthology titles, including his masterpiece 'O Morro dos Enforcados' ("The Hill of the Hanged Ones"), and also adaptations of 'O Vigilante Rodoviário', the first TV series produced in Brazil, and the 1953 US western movie 'Shane' ('Shane - Os Brutos Também Amam').

horror comic by Flavio Colin

The 1964 Brazilian coup d'état and the subsequent military dictatorship made an end to CETPA's activities. With no actual comics industry left, Colin became an advertising designer and storyboard artist through agencies like McCann Erickson. He also made illustrations for the weekly magazine O Cruzeiro. It took about ten years before he returned to his original profession. By now he had developed his trademark drawing style, which was characterized by clarity, angular linework and black-and-white contrasts. He specialized in the horror genre, and throughout the rest of the 1970s and 1980s, Colin worked for many of the anthology and digest-sized comic books in this genre. He was associated with the Rio-based publishing houses Editora Bloch (O Lobisomen) and Vecchi (Spektro), with Editora D'Arte in São Paulo (Calafrio, Mestres do Terror) and most notably with Editora Grafipar from Curitiba. His art appeared in many of the latter's publications, which not only offered horror, but also eroticism. These included Neuros (1978-1979), Sertão e Pampas (1980-1981) and Quadrinhos Eróticos (1978-1983). He was subsequently present in Mundo do Terror by Grafipar's successor Editorial Press (a.k.a. Maciota). Further erotic work appeared in Inter! Quadrinhos, a comics counterpart to the erotic magazine Big Man International. Flávio Colin worked with scriptwriters, but also wrote several of his stories himself.


'Quadrinhos Eróticos' #67

Historical comics
During the 1980s, Flávio Colin produced two small-format comic books based on Brazilian history. 'A Guerra dos Farrapos' (1985) was commissioned by an oil company at the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Ragamuffin War in Rio Grande do Sul. 'O continente do Rio Grande' (1987) was distributed freely through a chain of gas stations.

By the 1990s, the market for horror comic books had collapsed. During this period, Flávio Colin worked mainly for smaller, independent publishing houses and fanzines. In 1994 Ota Comix launched a mini-series collecting his series 'Hotel do Terror' from Spektro magazine, which however stranded after only one issue. With writer Ataíde Braz, he made a graphic novel based on Cangaço bandit leader and "folk hero" Lampião: 'Mulher-Diaba no rastro de Lampião' (Nova Sampa, 1994). Set against this historical context, the authors tried to portray an accurate account of Lampião's antics, which had been chronicled in novel format by former comic book artist Eduardo Barbosa back in 1958. The result was one of the most violent entries in Flávio Colin's oeuvre. Colin also adapted a gaucho legend into the comic book 'O Boi das Aspas de Ouro' (Escala, 1997). With André Diniz, he made a graphic novel about the British Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, who was lost in the Brazilian jungle while searching for the legendary city of Eldorado. It was published in 2000 under the title 'Fawcett' by Nona Arte.


'Estórias Gerais'

His collaboration with writer Wellington Srbek, 'Estórias Gerais', was created in 1998 but didn't saw any formal publication until 2001 through Prefeitura de Belo Horizonte, thanks to a government grant. It was also Flávio Colin's first book published abroad, albeit posthumously, first in Spain by Edicions De Ponent ('Tierra de Historias', 2006), then in France by Sarbacane ('Le Brigand du Sertão', 2014). Colin and Srbek also cooperated on new horror stories for Srbek's anthologies 'Mirabilia' (2000) and 'Mystérion' (2002), and the self-published comic book 'Fantasmagoriana' (2001). It took until five years after the author's death before his comic 'Caraíba' (2007) saw print.


'Fawcett'

Recognition
Flávio Colin passed away in Rio De Janeiro on 13 August 2002 due to long problems. Throughout his career, the artist had struggled for the appreciation of Brazilian comic art. Already during his lifetime he received the Angelo Agostini award (1987) and the HQMIX trophy (1995) for his body of work. The author is by now recognized as one of Brazil's most influential and distinguished comics authors, whose work has been reprinted and collected posthumously by publishers such as Pixel, Desiderata, Opera Graphica and Nemo. Historian Gonçalo Junior devoted a monography to the man under the title 'Vida traçada: um perfil de Flavio Colin' (Marca de Fantasía, 2009).


'Mestres do Terror' #49

Flavio Colin on tebeosfera.com

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