Comic Book: Monica's Gang
(originally titled Turma da Mônica
) is a hugely popular Brazilian comic book series
that has been running since the 1960s. It was created by Brazilian cartoonist Mauricio de Souza.
The series has countless comic books, strips and almanacs, and is divided in several branches. The main one features four main 7-year-old kids and takes place in São Paulo
- Monica (Mônica): Main character and leader of the Four Kid Band. She started out making appearances in Jimmy Five's strips, but ended up getting the spotlight soon afterwards, much to the boy's jealousy. She has Super Strength is always wearing a red dress (her wardrobe's full of these). Oh, and NEVER call her buckteeth, fatty or shorty, unless you wanna get some bunny bashings from her. Yes, she'll beat you up with her blue plush bunny.
- Jimmy Five (Cebolinha): He used to be the main character of his own comic strips, but ended up losing the spotlight to Monica soon after; maybe that's why he makes endless "infallible plans" to get her bunny and take over the block. He has only five single strands of hair, something nearly impossible for a kid like him, and when speaking, he swaps the 'r' for 'l' (or 'w', depending on the version you're reading).
- Smudge (Cascão): Jimmy Five's best friend. A pigpen at heart, he has aquaphobia and will refuse to take a bath at any cost. A very skilled soccer player.
- Maggy (Magali): Monica's best friend, and basically the poster girl to the Big Eater trope; she loves to eat, particularly watermelons, but never gains any weight or anything, being very skinny in contrast with her red-clad friend. She also tends to be rather girly sometimes.
The other groups created by Maurício include:
- Chuck Billy 'n' Folks (Turma do Chico Bento): A Brazilian child hillbilly's life. It includes a true Five Kid Band, with the protagonist, his girlfriend, his smart best friend, his dumb best friend and the Japanese-descendant friend.
- Horacio's World (Turma do Horácio): A vegetarian T. rex who muses about life. The only character whose stories are all written by Mauricio.
- Bug-a-Booo (Turma do Penadinho): A ghost and his monster friends. They like to scare people, and most of the times fail miserably.
- The Cavern Clan (Turma do Piteco): A caveman dealing with his prehistorical life. There are dinosaurs alongside the giant mammals, of course (protagonist Pitheco was even the one who found Horácio's egg).
- Tina's Pals (Turma da Tina): A teenager and her friends, which include her blue-haired best friend, her chubby best female friend and said friend's boyfriend.
- The Tribe (Turma do Papa-Capim): A group of Brazilian native-americans.
- The Funnies (Turma do Astronauta): A Brazilian astronaut's journey through the cosmos. Frequently stumbles by classic sci-fi characters (a story had him sending his ship to be fixed; Kirk and Spock, Darth Vader, E.T. and the crew from Lost in Space are in the mechanic too), and it can be sometimes adventurous, sometimes philosophical (in fact, the first graphic novel of the Graphic MSP seal, which deals with Mauricio's characters as seen by other prominent Brazilian comics artists, stars Bubbly in a study on loneliness).
- Lionel's Kingdom (Turma da Mata): A group of jungle animals. The English title has the name of the ruler of said jungle (a lion, of course), but the main character is the elephant Thunder (Jotalhão), originally created for the ads of a tomato sauce (which had a realistic elephant◊ on its cans, but eventually changed to Thunder◊).
Contains examples of:
Tropes exclusive to the Teen Spinoff Manga:
- Alternate Universe: While the manga itself is considered one to the kids' gang (even according to Word of God), its issue #36 adds in another AU, a Crapsack World in which Jimmy, who didn't care about getting better from his speech impediment, does indeed rule the street by being a gigantic asshole to everybody, asserting his authority through threats of exposing their secrets. Even the teachers at the school don't get any respect from him. He only grows out of it when the rest of the gang decides to not care about the blackmail and come clean with each other, thus breaking the hold he had over them. Plus, when Smudge's uncle (a powerless, Corrupt Corporate Executive version of Captain Fray) tried to get a hold of Franklin's world domination machine, built at Jimmy's behest, he was sent to an uninhabited planet because, since it was built in such a hurry, there was nothing in it to specify which world the user wanted to rule. Seeing it could have happened to him, Jimmy loses his jerkiness. The reason for all this? Monica had moved away from the neighborhood while they were still children, essentially leaving a vacuum in her friends' lives. When she came back all grown up, no one recognized her.
- Other differences in this AU: Maggy didn't learn to put her appetite in check, so she grew fat; Bucky is shy and insecure, while Sunny is more outgoing and confident; Franklin is a nebbish geek who can't find it in him to approach Marina; Nutty Ned is still a teacher, but has a lot more composure (despite being apparently aware of the AU), and he's the target of Maggy's juvenile crush; Nimbus is a failure at magic; and Sunny's sister didn't make the cut for the space program, working at a fast food joint instead.
- AntiHero: Monica and Jim both shift down the scale to UnscrupulousHero in the manga, especially Jim. Although Monica can be a Nominal Hero as far as Irene is concerned.
- Art Evolution: Compare the covers of the manga version to the inside. Has gotten more consistent lately, but the difference is still pretty glaring.
- Canon Foreigner: Several minor characters, including the Hot Teacher whom Maggy has a crush on and the weight-conscious Maria Mello.
- Chickification: Maggy in the manga, as if she wasn't enough of a chick.
- Cross Over: Issues #43 and #44 cross the characters over with many Osamu Tezuka characters. Mauricio and Tezuka had been close friends when the latter was alive, and the idea had been in the works for quite some time, even before Tezuka's passing.
- Fanservice: In the first issue of his teen spinoff, Chuck Billy spends three gratuitous panels shirtless after jumping into a creek to escape a swarm of bees.
- Forgotten Aesop: Many plots have Monica acknowledge her wanting everything her way and that she is aware she is The Dreaded to her friends, as well as accepting Irene as a friend...but the actual change never shows in-story. She also keeps saying that she matured and isn't a quarrelsome girl anymore...but she still will hit a boy at the slightest thing that angers her.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Carmem. Alpha Bitch Spoiled Brat by every definition who, in gratitude to Dustine for the grade she got for both of them allowing Carmem to pass the semester, helped her fix her relationship with Smudge through a very elaborate plan. Monica put it best:
: Carmen. Thanks for what you did for them. Looks like you're not mean or dumb all the time. Just mostly.
) ...Bite me.
- Hypocrite: Monica and Maggy. Monica hates when people tell her what to do, yet she's the bossiest character in the series. As for Maggy, see Informed Attribute below.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Irene. All she wants is to be part of the gang, but Monica is an absolute bitch to her all because she is friends with Jim. And the only reason she's always interacting with Jim in the first place, or any boy for that matter, is because Monica won't let anyone else befriend her.
- Inspector Javert: Monica to Irene. No matter how good intentioned Irene is about anything, Monica will always think the worst of her. All because Jim is the only person that talks to her because Monica won't let anyone else befriend her because she thinks Irene is a temptress, all because her first appearance was asking Jim to help her with english.
- Informed Attribute: Maggy is often regarded as the sweetest, kindest person there is and the embodiment of Incorruptible Pure Pureness by many people, but anyone who reads the manga will be able to notice that it's definitely not that way, seeing how she became a Stalker with a Crush towards Rubens and continues to crush on him, sometimes in front of her actual boyfriend without thinking of the consequences and thinks it's totally ok to do so despite how much trouble it caused her and how it's going beyond an actual crush, didn't bother telling Smudge on issue #49 why everyone was always busy and avoiding him and very cowardly backed out of the conversation after he saved her life and how quickly she is to point out the boys' flaws but ignore the girls' fault at any given situation, aside from one occasion on Issue #59.
- It's All About Me: Bucky and Jim are prime examples, but Monica really stands out. To name one instance, when Jim was late to a rehearsal with her for the school play because he was busy with a school project whose deadline was the day afterwards and he needed to hand out a part of his projects at the same day of the rehearsal, Monica says that what he did was thinking only of himself. Because being a good student is absolutely selfish, isn't it?
- Jerkass: Bucky, though even in that continuity Jimmy still has his momentsnote .
- Although they pale in comparison to Toni. To put in perspective, Neither Bucky nor Jim ever plotted to crush Monica's heart for a decade just because they got beaten up by her and made fun of by it.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Jim has a spetacular one in issue #69. He tells Monica that they had nothing special and that he didn't care if she kissed Nick Nope and is seeing him. He does so because he thought it was all a plan Monica crafted to make him crawl back to her and wanted to turn the tables on her because he believed their relationship was set in stone...Only it wasn't a plan. At all. And then the following takes place:
Jim: I said...I said to Monica...I said that..that I don't care about her...that there's nothing special between us! I...I...I DUMPED MONICA! And now she's with Nick Nope...she is with him for real! It wasn't a plan!
Maggy: Jim...so...finally, you understand...but it's too late!
Jim: How could I not notice? How could I be so stupid!? I lost Monica! Forever!
- Outgambitted: In issue #35, Jim somehow managed to outgambit himself, by creating another persona to attend to a costume party held by 3 rich people (One of them being Carmen's aunt), so he could spend a romantic night with Monica without needing to defeat her first. Naturally this creates a 5th competition for Monica's affections. May double as a case of Love Makes You Dumb. However, said persona is never brought up again.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: Monica can sometimes act like a self-centered harpy in a way that Bella would never achieve to be, and a bully on top of that, as her treatment of Irene and Sofia shows, and she never accepts anyone disagreeing with her. ever. But she somehow ends up always being in the right, not being called out on any of her bad deeds or getting away with it with nothing but a slap-on-the-wrist.
- Serious Business: Smudge with his hobbies, Monica with the school play that took place on Issue #9.
- Shout-Out: Manga Issue#35 had a lot of them. A costume party with the characthers dressed as many famous figures such as: Franklin as Sherlock Holmes, Sunny as Kratos, Todd as Mario, Marina as Dorothy from Oz, Jeremiah as Mace Windu, Tikara as Samurai Jack, Denise as Harley Quinn and many others.
- There was also a two-issue story that was entirely a shoutout to Death Note.
- The "Id Monsters" saga is about the main quartet facing their dark side and once they're overcome, they're trapped within cards that gives them powers when activated. Does that sound familiar?
- Spinoff Babies: In reverse, and throughly denied by die-hard fans who claim the series is ruined, despite them obviously not being the intended demographic and the original series still be going on.
- The Beautiful Elite: Sometimes you may think that the manga was drawn by CLAMP.
- The Cameo: Gregory House as a school doctor. Yes, you read it right.
- Time Skip: A good chunk of issue #50 of Monica Teen took place ten years into the future, showing, among other things, Jimmy and Monica's wedding and married life. The Manga itself counts as a whole.
- Took a Level in Badass: Jimmy Five- ahem, Jim - grows some backbone in the Manga and starts to call out Monica on her violent tendencies and bossy attitude.
- Exhibit A: Issues #23 and #24, which is a Whole Plot Reference to Death Note, but replacing "Death" with "Laughter", with Jimmy himself as the story's "Kira" ("The Great Clown" here). At one scene, when everyone is their school is discussing the Clown's identity, Smudge says that because Monica is so hotheaded, she would be a potential target for the Clown. And then this follows:
Monica: Is that true, Jim? You really think I deserve a laughing attack?
Jim: You know what, Monica? Smiling wouldn't kill you! It's a pain in the ass to put up with someone who is always stressed! You may feel comfortable with that big temper of yours...but we're the ones who suffer to put up with your fretfulness!
Monica: H-how do you have the nerve to...
Jim: And I'll tell you more: If that Clown actually exists, I bet you are on his list!
- Exhibit B: Issue #26, where two brothers who are professional rollerbladers,note are bullying everyone around their city and acting like colossal pricks. Monica, getting fed up with their attitude, challenges them to a rollerblading contest, dragging Maggy, Smudge and Jim into it, without asking them about it in the first place. None of them, of course, knows how to skate. At some point, Jim falls again trying to skate and Monica starts yelling at him.
Monica: That won't do it! That won't do it! You don't have a drop of effort, Jim!
Jim: Hey, that's not like it. I'm doing my best!
Maggy: Both of you are trying hard and...
Monica:Yeah, right! It looks like you're goofing off on me! How am I supposed to know if I can count on you for the contest?
Jim: Count on me? Count on me?! COUNT ON ME?! So you want to know if you can count on me? I NEVER said I knew how to skate! I DON'T! And still, I'M HERE! WEARING THIS STUPID OUTFIT! SCRAPING MY BUTT ON THE FLOOR! AND ALL BECAUSE SOMEONE MADE A ROLLERBLADING CHALLENGE, WHEN SAID PERSON DOESN'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO SKATE! AND STILL, SHE GOT HER FRIENDS ON A STUPID CONTEST! WITHOUT EVEN ASKING THEM! AND NOW YOU WANNA KNOW IF YOU CAN COUNT ON ME?
- Captain Fray in the manga. He becomes quite The Chessmaster in the latest issue he appeared, and his powers have evolved, making him able to cause erosion.
- Todd, who grew some major cajones not only as he grew up, but as the manga itself progressed. Unlike most of the male cast (save for minor exceptions, such as Nick Nope), Todd takes none of the girls' Double Standard bullcrap, often pointing out that he doesn't take well to Maggy's crush on the science teacher and yet getting fussy when he looks at other girls with the faintest hint of interest. There's also the way he handled his bullying in recent issues, with no need whatsoever to get violent, and still coming out on top. Todd may as well be the biggest Badass in the series at this point.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Monica leveled up a lot in this regard. There's also Bucky and Carmen.
- Jimmy also has his moments.
- Will They or Won't They?: There is also some argument as to Monica and Jimmy's relationship over this (pretty much since they are the only main characters without any kind of engagement). While, as kids, they never get together due to him not seeing her as more than just a friend (and, in the worst-case scenarios, he deems her too ugly to be date-able - she had made advances on him before), as teenagers, they go one step further, even though he is still too shy to admit it once and for all. So much so, that in one issue, it's Monica who takes it upon herself to have the initiative, by stealing a kiss from Jim. Though he runs away flustered (with her chasing him, "just like the old times"), one can see that deep down he liked it.
- And he finally retributes the favor in issue #22.
- They're not exactly official yet. That might change in the upcoming issue #34.
- They did, but broke up in the end of issue #34. So they're back to square one.
- It sounds more like Unresolved Sexual Tension if you ask me.
- The Unfair Sex: While Jim was a Jerkass and had problems, both personal and in his relationship with Monica, In #69 he's shown as the only one responsible for their relationship going wrong. It didn't show Monica responsible or commissioned for it at any point, despite that clearly she was equally wrong in many of their arguments over the long run and, if anything, slowly changing for the worse.
- Really, the whole manga is about this. Bucky was flanderized into a machist, controlling, bitter ex to make Isabel's empowering Character Development more positive, the following chapters after "Shadows of the Past" treat Jimmy's The Beard with Penha as intentional two-timing when he was actually being blackmailed into going out with her and even Monica seemed to regard that as such at the end of the arc, Maggy thinks it's totally fine to droll over the Hot Teacher in front of her boyfriend but she won't accept people calling her out on it or Todd glancing at another girl with the faintest hint of interest, although Todd at least calls her out on it herself and she's upset...because he found out and didn't think he had noticed.