Marvel Meets Orishas: A Brazilian Artist Is Turning African Gods Into Superheroes
Something looked familiar, the Aesthetic style of Jack Kirby made a huge impact upon me as a child, it was everything I wanted and more. BWH
Marvel Meets Orishas: A Brazilian Artist Is Turning African Gods Into SuperheroesThink of The Avengers, the comic series from American publisher Marvel about a motley crew of superheroes who come together to protect the world from the forces of evil. Now, imagine if back in the 1960s, creators Jack Kirby and Stan Lee had found inspiration for The Avengers in Yoruba mythology. Instead of Iron Man, we’d have the warrior Oxaguiã. Taking the place of the blue-eyed, blonde-haired Norse god Thor would be the equally strong and black-skinned Xangô, the ruler of justice — who also happens to carry a hammer. Ant-Man, with his command of insects, gives way to Ossain, who in turn is the king of the forest, the sorcerer and knower of secrets of the plants. And who is Captain America compared with Ogum and his sword, always thirsty for battle?
That’s just what 30-year-old Brazilian artist Hugo Canuto had in mind when in August 2016 he reimagined the classic #4 Avengers cover, replacing all the famous characters with Orishas (spelled Orixás in Portuguese), the deities of modern-day Afro-Brazilian religions which trace their origins back to Nigeria and Benin. Hugo is a lifelong fan of Marvel and all-things comic and also a native of Salvador, home to one of the country’s largest Afro-Brazilian populations.
He named the title of his spin-off “The Orixás,” mixing both Portuguese and English on purpose, he says. And the day after Jack Kirby would have turned 99 years old if he were still alive, he posted his homage to Facebook .
After receiving positive feedback from his friends (full disclosure: I am personal friends with Hugo), he soon created another The Orixás comic book cover, this time featuring the god Xangô.
The project started when Canuto recreated the classic Avengers comic book cover with Orishas as superheroes. Image by Hugo Canuto, published with permission.
“Then it was a bang. A lot of people got in touch praising the whole idea of bringing those characters to the comic universe,” Hugo told Global Voices. In November, he decided to try his luck with crowdfunding,