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Turma da Mônica (English: Monica's Gang or Monica and Friends) is a comic book series and media franchise created by Mauricio de Sousa, In the Federation of Brazil. The series originated in a newspaper comic strip in which the protagonists were Blu (Bidu) and Franklin (Franjinha), launched by the newspaper Folha da Manhã in 1959. As the series continued, the central characters became Jimmy Five (Cebolinha) and Monica (Mônica), both of whom began to appear in eponymous series in addition to the renamed Monica’s Gang. The characters and comics were subsequently adapted into, among other media, an animated television series; as well as films, most of which are anthologies.

The stories revolve around the adventures of Monica and her friends in the fictional Lemon Tree Street (Bairro do Limoeiro) of São Paulo, inspired by the neighborhood of Cambuí in Campinas and the city of Mogi das Cruzes, where de Sousa spent his childhood. The Monica’s Gang umbrella title also encompasses Chuck Billy 'n' Folks, Tina's Pals, Lionel's Kingdom and Bug-a-Booo, among other series.

Monica's Gang was previously published by Abril and Globo and has been published by Panini Comics since 2007. In 2008, a spin-off series, Monica Teen, was created in a manga style and features the characters as teenagers.

Publication history

Maurício de Sousa, then reporter for Folha da Manhã, in 1959 decided to enter the field of comics hitherto little disputed in the country. In the same year made his first characters Blu and Franklin, and decided that Blu would be the protagonist. Both were based on his own childhood, Franklin based on Maurício himself and Blu on his pet dog Cuíca. The main inspirations of Maurício de Sousa were through American comics like Peanuts and Little Lulu, which have inspired some recurring themes like the boys' club. In the following year of 1960, the characters gained ground through the children's magazine Zaz Traz by publisher Editora Outubro, later getting their own comic titled Bidu by Editora Continental. However, the magazines were canceled that same year.

After that the characters returned to newspaper strips, the character Jimmy Five which had won great popularity in the previous magazines has become protagonist of their own strips of newspaper next to Blu and Franklin in 1961. Seeing potential in the character, Mauricio went on to create several supporting characters to appear in the Jimmy Five strips, like Smudge and Specs. But after so long Maurício received a complaint for the lack of feminine characters in his comics. So to avoid further controversy, in 1963 Monica was created, initially as a supporting character in the Jimmy Five strips (at first as the Specs' little sister) based on Mauricio's real daughter Mônica Sousa. Over time, the success and the charisma of the character made her be the protagonist of the series alongside Jimmy Five which became her sidekick. Also in 1963, Mauricio began to create new projects of comic strips with other characters without links with Monica and Jimmy Five, like Zezinho and Hiroshi (now called Chuck Billy 'n' Folks), The Cavern Clan, Bug-a-Booo, The Tribe and Raposão (now called Lionel's Kingdom).

The characters only returned to be published in a monthly comic magazine from 1970, by publisher Abril, initially under the title of "Mônica e Sua Turma" (Monica and Her Gang), later being changed to "Mônica" and "Turma da Mônica" (Monica's Gang), the latter title used only for merchandising. With so many of the characters ever created by Mauricio in strips of newspaper also began to appear in magazines next to Monica's Gang. At that time the area of comics was more played in Brazil, many Brazilian artists were trying to hold his own in the stalls along the publications of American comics like Donald Duck, José Carioca, Little Lulu, and many others. Even with these new comics remained with their good sales on newsstands with this soon came to Jimmy Five magazine three years later. Sales were great and with that a contract with the footballer Pelé with Maurício for the launch of a character based on him the Pelezinho, which was phenomenon among children at the time history logging in Brazilian comics.

The staff of cartoonists has grown, leading to the foundation of the Estúdios Maurício de Sousa, who produce comics with increasingly faster thus appearing more marketing projects and producing cartoons. The first attempts to make a Monica's Gang cartoon occurred in the late 60s during a deal with Cica food company that produced some commercials for television, these being commercial who originated the character Thunder, who is currently a main character of the Lionel's Kingdom. The first film was only released in 1982, As Aventuras da Turma da Mônica which was produced in partnership with Black & White & Color and distributed by Embrafilme.

Over the years, other characters gained their own magazines, like Smudge (1982), Chuck Billy (1982) and Maggy (1989). Other media have strengthened over the years and Monica-branded merchandise were launched, with products like books, toys, discs, CD-ROM and video games. A Monica-themed amusement park was created in 1993 in São Paulo, titled "Parque da Mônica" (Monica Park). In 2008 the franchise has received a manga-style comic entitled Monica Teen.

Nowadays the comics are sold in 40 countries in 14 languages.

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