From Tupã to the smoke of Caipora, do you know all these stories?
Finally Yara Flor is with us! After much anticipation, Brazilian Wonder Woman made her debut in the first edition of Future State: Wonder Woman, featuring art and screenplay by Joelle Jones. And, as had already been announced in some previews, the adventure brings Brazilian folklore into the DC Universe – in a small mix with Greek mythology, originating in the heroine’s mantle.
With quotes and very cool participation, the comic treats the native legends of Brazil with great affection and it is worth reading to feel the warmth of seeing our roots being exported to the world. But if you don’t remember these stories so well, there’s no problem: I’ve prepared this text to explain all the references to Brazilian folklore at headquarters. Leave some smoke for Caipora, beware of Boitatá and come with me!
Tupã, the god of thunder
The first name of Brazilian myths that appears in comics is none other than Tupã. In the narration he is placed with Zeus as the “God of Thunder”, but there is some debate over this statement – although it is very pleasant to equate a Tupi-Guarani deity with the Greek king of the gods of this way.
Tupã’s story is a bit complicated. Although he is commonly known as the thunder god Tupi-Guarani, researchers point out that this is only the knowledge spread by the Jesuits and the reality is not quite that. Studies indicate that Tupã is not exactly a god, but the entity of the sound of thunder, also worshiped by indigenous peoples.
Tupã would occupy the post of messenger of Nhanderuvuçu, or Yamandú, the creator deity of this religion. However, as belief and religion are such complex issues due to diffusion and syncretism, it is possible to say, always open to other interpretations, that Tupã is both the God of Thunder, the entity of the sound of thunder and the divine messenger. It is interesting that depending on the belief, its parallel changes with the Greek pantheon, and can be compared to Hermes, for example.
In the comic, the version of Tupã used is that of Deus do Trovão. It should be remembered that even the Greek gods have different interpretations, which is natural for religions that are so ancient and do not have so many written historical documents.
Caipora, protector of the forest and cheater
The second entity of our legends will have a good participation in the history of Yara Flor. Unlike Tupã, Caipora appears in the adventure and accompanies the heroine on her journey to Hell.
You have probably heard the legend of Caipora, either through your parents, your grandparents or at school. In the myth, depending on who’s going, Caipora can be portrayed as a native boy or girl tasked with protecting animals, deceiving hunters, and playing tricks on travelers in the forests.
In legend, Caipora is an entity who is always accompanied by a bush pig and uses several tricks to scare hunters. If we make a comparison, he’s a bit between Saci and Curupira, when he’s a protective spirit, but he’s also a cheater. In fact, he and Curupira would be “cousins”.
The comic shows exactly this personality in his Caipora. She appears after Yara defeats a Hydra in the forest, to try to prevent her from taking a valuable part of the carcass. So, she tries to scare the heroine with her classic whistle and a few tricks, but, as said, Caipora is not exactly a warrior and loses to Yara Flor.
During the conversation between the two, other parts of the legend are covered. Yara mentions how Caipora lost her in the forest for months, manipulating the place – one of the characteristic tricks of the entity. She also says that a Boitatá has been placed in her path, showing Caipora’s control over the creatures of the forest.
Caipora also appears to be riding a bush pig and says that at one point he was trying to “quit smoking”; it is said in the legend that in order to calm Caipora, travelers should offer tobacco to the entity, which he appreciates very much. This is where the saying you may have heard from your grandparents comes from “smoke like a Caipora”.
Boitatá, the fiery serpent
Finally, another famous legend from our folklore is quoted at HQ – and I hope we will see it in action in the future: Boitatá.
As said, Yara complains that Caipora sent a Boitatá to attack her at some point in the past. A lot of people thought that the serpent Yara appeared to face in some previews and early in the comics was this creature, but in fact it was a Hydra.
Boitatá is a creature from Brazilian folklore that protects forests from fire. It is said to be a giant fire serpent that lives in rivers and attacks those who threaten the forest. You may have heard this legend somewhere.
The scientific explanation for the history of Boitatá comes from the will-o’-the-wisp, a phenomenon that occurs in forests due to the decomposition of organic matter. When dead animals and plants decompose, they release flammable gases that can burn naturally due to climatic and terrain factors. Thus, this “spontaneous” fire may have given rise to the legend of Boitatá.
What did you think of Yara’s first comic? Do not forget to comment!
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