'A Grande Chupada' (from: Pau-De-Sebo, 1990).

Hélio Lage was a Brazilian cartoonist and for thirty years the house artist of Tribuna da Bahia, the newspaper of his home state Bahia. He signed his work with simply "Lage".

Early life
Hélio Roberto Lage was born in 1946 in Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia. He was trained as an architect, but eventually chose a career in cartooning.

Tribuna da Bahia
His association with the Tribuna da Bahia began in 1969, shortly after the paper's launch, and lasted for the next thirty years. Lage's strips and cartoons also appeared in weekly supplements like A Coisa (32 issues, 1975-1976) and Na Era dos Comics (5 issues, 1977), which served as breeding grounds for local Bahian talent. Especially Lage, Nildão and Setúbal established themselves as keen observers of Bahian social life and politics. With reserved temperament, but a loose and iconoclastic trait, Lage was always a sharp critic of politicians and rulers.

Recurring features
One of his early features for the Tribuna da Bahia was 'L'Amu Tuju L'Amu' (which satirized the French expression "L'amour toujours l'amour"). It was a popular series of gags about love and sexual behavior. In the 1980s he launched another series of daily strips, called 'Tudo Bem...' (literally, "All Right..."), which presented scenes with couples, pub crawlers, psychiatrists and their patients, among other types of people. Other recurring strips created by Lage were 'Cartunzão', 'Brega Brasil', 'Ânsia de Mamar', 'Káthia x Arlindo', 'Misère Nacional', 'Para Bailar La Bunda', 'O Inferno São Os Outros' and 'O Circo'.

The dummy issue of Pau-de-Sebo. The cover shows a caricature of Don Lucas Neves, then prime Archbishop of Brazilian Catholic Church, saying: "The debauchery is about to begin!".

Other magazine and newspaper work
In addition to his extensive work for the Tribuna da Bahia, Lage provided a full humor page to the newspaper O Dia, from the state of Piauí. He also illustrated Carlos Eduardo Novaes' sports columns in Jornal do Brasil, and provided the cover and interior illustrations for the local dictionary 'Dicionário de Baianês' (1992) by Nivaldo Lariú. He served as art editor for the magazines Viver Bahia and Axé Bahia; the latter also ran his sensual comic series 'Dora Mulata'. For the Jornal da Pituba, he created 'Pituboião', a comic satirizing the daily life in the upper class Pituba district of Salvador. In 1990, he launched the short-lived comic and humor magazine Pau-de-Sebo, of which the title literally translates as "greasy pole".

TV and radio work
Lage was the first artist to work with computer cartooning in Bahia, through a series of animated sketches broadcast on TVE (Bahia State TV) under the title 'Baianidades e Ditados Populares'. From 1989 on, many gags from his daily strips were adapted for radio and broadcasted by Educadora FM (Bahia State Broadcast Institute).

Lage participated in several humor salons throughout Brazil, being awarded at the Mackenzie Salon in São Paulo in 1971 and 1973. In 1984 he was awarded at the Salon of Humor in Stuttgart, Germany. He was elected the "Best Brazilian Cartoonist" by the Troféu HQ Mix in 1997.

Hélio Lage passed away on 30 November 2006, at the age of 60. Often overlooked in overviews of Brazilian comics and cartoon history, the Bahians have a long tradition with comics and cartoons. Hélio Lage had a leading role among these regional humorists, and was at the vanguard of new initiatives. Together with the cartoonist Robério Cordeiro, he trained many young talents through their Escritório de Desenho e Animação ("Office of Design and Animation") over the course of two years. 


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