Monica is a big-toothed
girl, owner of a blue plush bunny, and is always fighting with her friends
Jimmy Five (Cebolinha) and Smudge (Cascão). Jimmy Five has a problem
pronouncing the letter "r," and Smudge does not like water.
They have another friend
Maggy (Magali), whose weakness is food, and who is capable of eating ten watermelons
in one go. The four are the main characters of Monica's Gang, the most famous
comics series in Brazil, recently made into a movie and which may be sold
in Arab countries.
Mauricio de Sousa, the
cartoonist who created the characters, released movie Cine Comics,
with the gang members, last June, and has shown interest in taking his stories
to the children in the Arab countries.
"Who knows, we might
even have Monica speaking in Arabic," he stated.
Monica's Gang stories
are already known in Italy, Portugal, Japan, Greece, France, and Indonesia,
through the comics and strips published in newspapers and magazines.
"We are also trying
to open the markets in Mexico and China," he added.
Monica's Gang first entered
Italy in the form of cartoons. Channel RAI Due has been airing the cartoons
for over nine months. The comics only entered the Italian market in June.
In Brazil, the Gang became popular through comics.
A total of two million
copies are sold a month, currently. The characters, however, are advancing
into the audiovisual means of communication. Apart from the movie versions,
a cartoon was aired by cable television channel Cartoon Network.
Jimmy Five, Monica, Maggy,
and Smudge had been on the big screen in Brazil in the 1980's and 90's. The
cartoons on Italian television and those aired by Cartoon Network are productions
from that time, having been recovered. The flick released in June, however,
is new. The movie was shown at 150 theatres in Brazil.
Cine Comics tells
the story of Franklin, the scientist in Monica's Gang's, who created a machine
to transform comics into movies. Jimmy Five, Monica, Maggy, and Smudge go
to the movies to see the flicks and see five stories already in comics.
On leaving the theatre
to go to the bathroom and buy popcorn, the four meet Brazilian television
and music celebrities, including popular singer Vanessa Camargo, and duo Pedro
and Thiago, television hosts Fernanda Lima and Luciano Huck, and cartoonist
Mauricio de Sousa himself.
Mauricio de Sousa's intention
is to take the film, and the other cartoons, to other countries. The first
to receive Cine Comics is going to be Italy, next year.
"We are going to
change the actors from country to country," stated Mauricio, referring
to local celebrities to participate in the movies.
There are already another
four Monica's Gang stories ready for filming: Travel in Time, Horacio
(a little green dinosaur with big dreamy eyes), Chico Bento (a young
country boy), and Magic Star. Investment in the development of this
first movie totaled around US$ 1.6 million, and the director was José
Mauricio de Sousa's creations
have 70% of the kid's comic market in Brazil, and have been in print since
1959. At the time, the cartoonist drew Franklin and Blu, a strip about a young
inventor and his dog, for newspaper Folha da Manhã, in the city
of São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil, where he was a police reporter.
Character Monica was born
in 1970, inspired on Maurício's daughter. Currently, 150 artists work
with the cartoonist in production of the stories.
The characters are so
successful that they generate another 3,000 sub-products, including dolls
and licensed games.
In Brazil there are also
two Monica's Gang amusement parks, one in São Paulo and another in
Rio de Janeiro.
Monica's Gang website:
Isaura Daniel is a Brazilian reporter. This article was distributed by ANBA
- Brazil-Arab News Agency.