Meet Gury, the Oopy of Brazil

We have long known that the French loved Scrappy–or at least grudgingly tolerated him as comic-book filler. The pioneering cartoonists of Japan–maybe even including Tezuka himself–may have been Scrappy fans, too.

But I’ll bet you didn’t know that Oopy led a secret second life in Brazil. Or at least I didn’t until I stumbled across these examples on Facebook, right after I pressed Publish on my last post.

According to Luigi Rocco’s blog about the history of Brazilian comics, the venerable newspaper Diário de Pernambuco–now the world’s oldest Portuguese-language paper–began publishing a children’s supplement called O Gury in January 1936. Among its features was As Aventuras do Gury, a comic by a cartoonist named Corrêa. Despite its “Original de Corrêa” billing, the strip starred a character who looked uncannily like a slightly older Oopy–or, if you prefer, a hybrid of Scrappy and Oopy. He had a wiry little dog who could have served as an adequate substitute for Yippy in a pinch.

(It just occurred to me, however, that Oopy’s cowlick is at least vaguely Tintin-esque, and Gury’s dog looks resembles Snowy almost as much as he does Yippy. Perhaps Corrêa drew artistic inspiration from both Charles Mintz and Herge.)

Rocco’s post about As Aventuras do Gury includes two examples of the strip, and I found another one online shown in a spread from a book of Diário de Pernambuco cartoons. Here they are:

I’m not sure how long the Gury strip ran. There was a later standalone Brazilian comic book, also called O Gury, which reprinted American strips such as Batman and Mary Marvel. It was revived on occasion, as recently as 1968. What its connection was to the O Gury that featured Gury, I can’t say.

In any event, Brazilian comics blogger Rocco caught As Aventuras do Gury‘s Scrappy influence–“Corrêa’s drawings showed a strong influence of the characters of the American animator Charles Mintz”–and included an example of the Scrappy comic strip produced by the Eisner-Iger shop, translated into Portuguese recently enough that it uses digital lettering:

I don’t know if Corrêa was specifically influenced by the Scrappy strip. For one thing, I’m not positive when the Scrappy one first appeared anywhere: The earliest reference to it I know is its listing in the 1937 Editor & Publisher yearbook. If O Gury debuted in January 1936 and Corrêa had indeed seen the Scrappy strip before creating his, that suggests that dead-tree Scrappy had made his way to Brazil by the end of 1935. Which is not inconceivable: We know that Eisner and Iger sold their strip to publishers in France and Australia.

But wait: Gury looks even more like Oopy than he does like Scrappy, and Oopy never appeared in the Scrappy strip. That would seem to be evidence that Corrêa had seen Scrappy in animated form. So perhaps the Gury strip’s stylistic similarity to printed Scrappy is a coincidence. Unless the artist simply removed Scrappy’s hair coloring, resulting in a purely coincidental resemblance to Oopy.

In any event, we can now properly honor Gury–like Shorty Shortcake–as a proud resident of one of the many alternate-reality Mintzverses that are clearly out there.

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