Future Rio – 1928


Top, left
– That little black point on top, at the back, to the right, that’s Corcovado.

Top, right
– Did you see how our favelas became actual fortresses?

Center, left
– Why’d you take off your hat, Brederódes?
– I think I’m in front of a perpetual grave.

Center, right
– Judging by the palm tree, it must be a hill in Glória.
– No, that’s just a vase on the terrace.

– How pretty our nature is, don’t you think?
– I don’t think so, but I guess. Imagination exists for a reason…

(Revista da Semana, June 30, 1928)


The Carioca woman – 1923


– But how is it that you let that man come in if I’m in my under garmets?
– What’s the matter? When you go to dances, you go out in even less clothing!


The image above and following story are both from an April 1923 edition of Careta. I noticed they both commented on the modern woman of the time. As for who Herr Hess is a pen name for, or if the story is true, I couldn’t find those answers. There’s also a word or phrase which I was unsure about how to translate.

Rio is still a city in which the morals of colonial times have remained almost entirely. If this is good or bad on its own, each person can judge for themselves, because morals are just a result and don’t exist on their own. It’s like perfume and a flower, it’s perfume, good or bad, it doesn’t exist independently from the flower. This, yes, it exists and can have or not have a smell, whether great or detestable.

With that said, to not bore anymore, we return to Rio. Here a woman who likes to date is always badly seen. Why? On her own? No. By those that look upon her, who are worse than she is. Badness doesn’t come from the woman who likes to date, it comes from the conniving and the spies.

In my weak manner of understanding, dating, a national institution, represents the only rebellion that people of the other sex are capable of, and I think that it can only have good results, even when its duration exceeds nine months, in which case the census sees a serious increase in the city’s population. I don’t believe that due to dating that the sea leaves the seabed nor that the exchange rate lowers to 4d*. I appreciate a woman who likes to date in the same way that I behold a decided conqueror.

In my opinion the lady Anesthésia who lives right here in Flamengo is such a woman. She’s an intelligent and paradoxical young lady. Speaking with her alone on the porch about the slander involved in her name, she, who was once my girlfriend and today is undecided between a neighbor and a cousin, told me with complete calmness:

– I am, in fact, a woman who likes to date and I’ve very content with myself.

– You must have, certainly, moments of boredom…

– I do. Sometimes I cry; I contradict myself; I worry myself…but for a short time. At the end of 24 hours I recover my cold blood. Because, I’ll have you know, I do have cold blood. It’s in this special case of temperament that my unlimited faculty to date whoever I wish resides. Dating, it’s everything.

– Don’t I know it. I didn’t need to get information from strangers nor from…rivals.

– You’re conceited…Your own experience is still very reduced. I guarantee that you haven’t guessed anything else… Yes, that’s where you remain. But I should say that I don’t date just for temperament, but still for… (how shall I say it?) for…devotion or for humanity. Well that’s it. Dating is a condom, it is the prophylaxis of love…

– Would you have the good manners to explain it to me?

– Simply, I will. Here you see me. I am over 25 years old and I hope to reach 30 completely uninjured by love. Because love isn’t just romance. It’s the grave reality that is concerned with slavery, children, the devil. And why would I want to enslave myself and fill up the world with innocent victims of our slave-quarter morals? – Herr Hess

* – d usually equates to pennies, from the Latin denarius

Careta 14 April 1923.JPG

Comical Inflation – 1952


A shipwrecked person – I don’t understand how you immediately got used to this life!

The other person – It’s cause I came from Rio. There we didn’t have meat, butter, electricity and water, and we were also surrounded by sharks…


The Avalanche

– If he continues digging for HIGH SALARIES, the whole thing will come down!

(the other rocks are high prices, higher taxes and inflation)


– Mister, there’s a Barnabé over there who also wants a raise!

Getúlio – I already raised (prices on) meat, milk, bread, the bus, boats, trams, sugar, butter, coffee and this guy talks to me about a raise?


The Elevator

The attendent – Who wants to go up?

(from left to right – people representing meat, bread, buter and sugar)


In the country of contraband

– They increased the price of a sack of oranges!

– In compensation there’s an abundance of citrus preserves…

(Marmelada is slang for crooked deals)



– Everything is going up! And Getúlio?

– He’s going up too. He’s going to spend the summer in Petrópolis…

The Beautiful covers of J. Carlos

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Some of the most beautiful magazine covers in Brazilian history were done for the magazine Para Todos, created in 1918 with a focus on movie stars (which rather blandly adorned every cover). However, in 1922, the magazine came under the artistic direction of a Rio de Janeiro-born artist, illustrator and graphic designer known as J. Carlos (aka José Carlos de Brito e Cunha, pictured below) who would create intricate, art deco covers for the magazine from 1926 until 1930.

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(1884 – 1950)

In his 50-year print career, it’s estimated he did a dizzying 100,000 drawings, most of which relfect his city of birth. José Carlos loved his ever-changing Rio so much that he very rarely left the city. In fact, he loved it so much that he declined, in a face-to-face meeting with Walt Disney in 1941, an invitation to work with him in Los Angeles. It’s also said that Disney’s Zé Carioca is modeled after José’s parrot drawings which Walt’s team took photos of during his visit to Rio (and in Brazil, Zé is short for José).


Para Todos 14-01-28


Over at the Jota Carlos Project, a team of dedicated people digitized in high definition nine years of the artist’s work from two of the most recognized magazines of the time, the aforementioned Para Todos and O Malho (of which he was also the director). And at Issuu, a journalism student did a wonderful 214 page visual thesis on J. Carlos.

In 2009, a documentary, six years in the making, was produced by the artist’s great-grandson. The film J. Carlos – A figura da capa can be seen below.

A second, shorter documentary was posted in 2015, also on J. Carlos’ work.

In the same year as the first documentary, the Académicos da Rocinha samba club honored the artist in their featured song, as can be heard and seen here (as well as towards the end of the 2009 documentary).

Comic Confusion – 1924

It’s been a long time since I posted any old cartoons or comics and this is mainly due to the fact that most just don’t translate, that is, from antiquated humor to today’s kind. In other words, they just aren’t funny. Some, however, have a little potential, like the ones below (from the Rio-focused magazine Careta), even if understanding them requires a little digging.

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Her – You’re so embarrassed, why?
Him – Because I just saw a book on the bookshelf in your room.
Her – Ah! La Garçonne? My goodness! Do you want me to lend it to you?

Don’t understand? Wikipedia to the rescue!

La Garçonne is a French novel by Victor Margueritte first published in 1922. It deals with the life of a young woman who, upon learning that her fiancé is cheating on her, decides to live life freely and on her own terms. Amongst other things, this included having multiple sexual partners. Although the theme is not particularly shocking in the present day, at the time it was considered quite scandalous; it even caused the author to lose his Legion of Honour.

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Back in the day it was “Your love and a squalid house”. Today it’s “Your love, a bungalow, an automobile and 500 bucks in the bank!…”

My trusty friend Aulete explains the outdated term choupana as a squalid house (aka casebre or cabana). Furthermore, the word’s root is choupo, a type of tree, thus choupana denotes a house made of wood. With it, we also learn of the interesting term choça, which is another way to say choupana.

Two cartoons – 1933

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 6.47.34 PMThe one above is part of a late 1933 series of cartoons (from Revista da Semana) called Variações Turisticas, where a British man is shown Rio de Janeiro by a malandro guide. In this section, we see them in downtown:

– “What’s the purpose of the sidewalks?”
– “You don’t know, then? They’re for posts.”

On the right side, we see a typical scene at the time, with dogs barking, music playing, cars noisely going by, and vendors selling tomatoes and popsicles…all things you can still find in the Centro.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 6.53.30 PM In this cartoon, dated October 1933 (so that’s basically Brazilian summer), we see the phrase “Calor” (Heat) at the top and a maid talking to her employer:

– “My lady, your husband isn’t in the garden, nor the bedroom or the office.”
– “Did you check in the refrigerator?”

Do you know me? – 1911

One more cartoon for good measure. February, 1911.

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(click image to enlarge)

Você me conhece?

With the elections coming up it seems the classic Carnival phrase will go through a slight modification. Instead of the classic “você me conhece?”, the masked people, who’ll be all the residents of Rio de Janeiro and any nearby places, will ask this question:

– Você me reconhece? (Do you recognize me?)

No wonder! there are so many candidates!


– Do you know me?
– You’re the one who doesn’t know himself, asking me if I know you…
– Do you know who you’re talking to? (a “famous” Brazilian phrase)

The Loss of Etiquette – 1906

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The bond (trolley) was going to leave. The two comrades, Dr. Togaté and Chico Mesuras, were to take their seats.

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but, getting lost in formalities, each one wished that the other would get on the bond first.

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– Have patience, Mr. Togaté, you first.
– No, Mr. Chico Mesuras, I do not approve.

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– Because of who you are, no formality is needed with me.
– It’s I who must cede the lead, dear friend.

The conductor, already impatient, rang the bell, ding! Continue on!

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– Woosh! the bond took off in a furious rush, forcing the two, who were holding onto the hand-rails, to take some gaudy leaps.

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and it left them on the floor, stretched out, without any formality at all, showing that haste ruins etiquette.


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