A Brazilian comic hero goes on to the big screen

Brazil Uncovered - In Cunha
In Cunha's Mentor, politicians are depicted as villains and an ordinary person emerges as the anti-hero avenger.
Free translation and adaptation (Claudia Pereira and Andrea Barnes) of the article published in Shock Wave Radio News

"You are holding a document from Brazil’s recent history."

The sentence above was taken from the preface written by Luciano Cunha, author of THE MENTOR. Recently, he and his new publisher have gathered the three editions of the work in a bound collection.

Although the character was created in 2008, Cunha only released the first story in 2013 as a way to “pour out all my revolt and indignation against the corruption of the Brazilian political system”.

The story reveals a different origin from what we see in the 2018 movie. In this new version, the main character is a super soldier created during the military regime in order to fight the “araguaias” (guerillas) of the Brazilian Communist Party. He eventually withdrew from the Armed Forces, disappearing in the shadows; years later he decided to abandon the shadows in order to eliminate the country’s greatest enemy today: the corrupt politicians.

Surreptitiously or not, the "Mentor" -- so named by the media – eliminates his targets (heads of political parties and powerful families) one by one, at a growing pace, shaking everyone and dividing opinions. The many references to the real corruption and real characters add weight of the plot.

The second story, Dark Web, is about a discovery of a young hacker found on the notorious deep web. President Barros (the “Lula” version in the Mentor’s world), European criminals and Latin American drug traffickers join forces to take Brazil, a coup d'état that takes place little by little, through the many forms of state control over society, turning it into a narcostate. The Mentor begins his mission to stop them, taking the crime bosses out, one by one, causing internal conflicts.

The third story, Apocalypse BSB, is in fact a set of six short stories and splash pages posted on social media just before the film's release, under the same theme: the hunt after the corrupt.

Luciano Cunha's trace and colorization -- as he himself puts it -- isn’t above average. It's simple, but enhanced by knowledge of anatomy. Whether in moments of action or not, the characters seem to be believable. When it comes to action, the comic is filled with fire shots, combat and explosions – great, if you like that kind of thing.

However, the comic has some problems regarding the graphic narrative. For instance, the Mentor jumps from one situation to another often without any narrative link, making the comic book more a package of stories rather than a single story. Also, at times there are almost instructive explanations of "who is who", which doesn’t fit into the narrative and often breaks the plot line; like cinema, comic books tend also to follow the rule "don’t say it, just show it".

Brazil Uncovered - The Mentor, in the capital city of Brasília, home to the federal politicians.
The Mentor, in the capital city of Brasília, home to the federal politicians.

Cunha had been away from comic book design for many years before 2013. His new comic, Destro, was designed by Michel Gomes, however, it is possible to see the evolution in script and colorization.

It is worth mentioning that a new comic book featuring the character will soon be released, called Mentor: The Red Virus, which has had a successful crowdfunding campaign and is currently under production.

Finally, a quote from one from a Mentor page:

What have they done to our culture? And our music? What have they done to our great melting pot? To the glory of this mixture? What is the real intention of elevating so many people without any talent? Why do they promote indecency and the grotesque? Obscenity and banditry? Our music was once full of talent, soul, brain… What do they want by driving the Brazilian people away from quality? What do they really want by glamorizing mediocrity? And when trying to disguise the vulgar from the popular? Sexualizing our children? Dumbing down the youth? Do they want audience for the sake of audience? Is that all? They want an army of ignorant and weak people, without any purpose and without any values. That's what they want. I gotta do something.

Brazil Uncovered - Luciano Cunha, the author of The Mentor.
Luciano Cunha, the author of The Mentor.

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