Brazilian Breakfast Club

This past summer, Bleeding Cool ran a story with the headline Get a Brazilian Breakfast With Ivan Reis and Joe Prado at NYCC. The article talked about an art book called Ícones dos Quadrinhos (Comic Book Icons) being crowdfunded on Catarse. Catarse is like a Brailian Kickstarter. The book sounded cool. It had illustrations by 100 different artists. Each of the artists drew one of their favorite characters from their childhood. One of the support levels included a “Brazilian breakfast” with Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, a hardcover copy of Ícones dos Quadrinhos and sketches from Ivan and Joe in the book. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Not only are Ivan and Joe two of my favorite artists in the comics industry, but at NYCC 2012 I helped thwart a big art theft at their tables.  Also, for years I’ve wanted a Hal Jordan sketch by Ivan, but have never been able to get one. Here was my chance!

I jumped to support the project. The Brazilian Breakfast option was limited to 6 people, and I figured that with Bleeding Cool running this story, it would sell out quickly. The price looked steep initially at R$500, but thanks to the magic of exchange rates, R$500 at the time turned out to be only about US$210. I was the first person go for the breakfast option.

When Bleeding Cool posted about the project, it was in its final day of crowdfunding. I figured the breakfast (and sketches!) at NYCC would be too hard to pass up and the other five spots would sell out quickly. Because of this, I was very surprised when I checked back on Catarse throughout the day and saw that no one else had gotten in on what to me was a tremendous deal. Later that day, the crowdsourcing period ended, and I was the only one who had signed for the Brazilian Breakfast.


Seriously, how did not one other single person decide to get in on this? I cannot put into words how excited I was. Getting breakfast with Ivan, Joe and 5 other fans would have been cool. But just me? AWESOME.

When I told a friend my news, he asked “What’s a Brazilian breakfast entail?” I said I wasn’t sure. “It sounds like a weird sex act,” he said. “I think you just signed up for a 4-way with these guys,” he added.

Shortly before NYCC , Ivan Freitas Da Costa, the man behind Ícones dos Quadrinhos, got in touch with me to coordinate when and where we’d meet up for the Brazilian breakfast. As it turned out, the Brazilian in Brazilian breakfast referred to the company I’d be in, not the food (also, thankfully, not the sex act). We we agreed to meet at the Market Diner near the Javits Center at 8 AM on Thursday morning, the first day of NYCC. Because they were all operating on a tight schedule, Ivan Freitas Da Costa told me to get to the restaurant by 8 AM sharp. I arrived at 7:45.

Since I was the first one there, I grabbed a table for four. Shortly thereafter, Joe and the two Ivans walked in, along with two other guys. Looking at my four-man booth, I immediately thought we’re going to need a bigger boat. The two other guys turned out to be Daniel HDR and the Brazilain giant from the art theft story from last year, whose real name it is Breno Tamura. I’m glad Breno came to the breakfast, as he had become such a mythical figure in mind from the way he apprehended the thieves last year.

After we moved to a larger booth, sat down and introduced ourselves, I mentioned that I had met Ivan, Joe and Breno last year when I helped stop the theft at their table. The table erupted. Joe Prado exclaimed “I knew I recognized you when I walked in!” Joe, Ivan, Breno and I related the art theft story from our different points of view to the other guys at the table.

Ivan Freitas Da Costa presented me with my copy of Ícones. If I could only use two words to describe this book, they would be gorgeous and huge. The art is printed on thick, high quality paper and really pops off the page. Opposite the art is a text piece by each artist, presented in both Portuguese and English. The book really is big. It’s about the size of a DC Absolute Edition, which definitely helps show off the artwork inside. You can tell just by looking at it that it was a passion project. This book is very limited. If you can get your hands on one, I definitely recommend doing so.

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The cover and slipcase to Ícones dos Quadrinhos. This book is gorgeous!

It was cool getting to hang out with all of these artists in such a casual environment.  They’re a tight knit group, some of them having known each other for 20 years. Ivan Reis, Joe and Daniel told me the stories about how they each broke into the industry. I didn’t realize that Ivan Reis’s first pairing with Geoff Johns wasn’t at DC, but was at Marvel, during Geoff’s Vison limited series from 2002. It’s amazing to think this iconic pair has been working together for over 10 years now.

During breakfast, Ivan Reis drew a Green Lantern logo on a bottle of Tabasco and signed it. He then reached for the mustard and began doodling on that. Pretty soon, all the artists at the table were drawing comic book character faces on all of the creamers.

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After everyone had drawn on something, Ivan Reis handed me a pen and said, “You do one.” I’m no artist, but I managed to draw a half-decent Spider-Man face on a creamer. Ivan Freitas Da Costa took a picture. He posted to Facebook that Ivan Reis was doodling on condiments at the Market Diner. No joke, less than 5 minutes later, two very fan boy looking dudes walked into the diner all wild eyed, spotted our booth and immediately sat in a booth near ours. I leaned over and said, “I think those guys are here for the condiments.”

Green Lantern Tabasco and Friends

The Legion of Super Condiments

Ivan, Joe, Ivan, Daniel and Breno are all super cool dudes. There was a lot of laughter at our table during our breakfast on the first morning of New York Comic Con.  If you get a chance to meet these guys at a convention, do it. Each of them are awesome.


Ivan Reis signing his Astro Boy illustration in Ícones dos Quadrinhos.

After we finished a very good breakfast (thumbs up to the Market Diner’s Leo Omelette), and got back to chatting, Ivan and Joe each drew sketch for me in my copy of Ícones dos Quadrinhos. I asked Ivan for a Hal Jordan Green Lantern and Joe for a Hal Jordan Black Lantern.

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As he was finishing up his sketch, Ivan pulled out a silver pen and began crosshatching in the background. Ivan then said, “3D cover!”  We laughed. The two sketches by Ivan and Joe look amazing. They are on opposite pages and mirror each other. Ivan gave his Hal a word balloon that said “Thanks for saving my covers!” and Joe gave his Hal a word balloon that said “Thanks for the save, brother!”

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As we left the diner, one of the guys in our group turned back and yelled “Those guys just grabbed the condiments!” Apparently, they didn’t even wait until we were all completely out the door before pouncing. Ivan Freitas Da Costa joked that we’re going to see “Ivan Reis Tabasco” on eBay. With a wry smile, I said, “They didn’t get the Tabasco.”  I opened my sport coat to reveal the Tabasco bottle that has the ability to overcome great fear. There were howls of laughter. I’m glad I grabbed the Tabasco bottle on my way out of the diner, but I did feel weird about it. These were the guys whose artwork I stopped from getting stolen last year. Now I was showing off a purloined bottle of Tabasco in front of them.

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If you’re the guy who took the Spider-Man creamer thinking it was drawn by Ivan Reis, sorry.

I walked the guys back to their hotel before heading back to Brooklyn to get ready myself. We were still hours away from NYCC officially opening to the public (though there were people lined up at that Javits that drizzly morning at 9 AM waiting for the doors to open at 3 PM). When we made our goodbyes, Joe asked if they’d see me at their tables. I said, “Of course!”  I don’t know if you saw it, but the Brazilian artists basically took over the F aisle in Artist’s Alley this year. During the show, I started calling their row Brazil.

brazilian breakfast

It’s funny how fate has linked me to Joe Prado and Ivan Reis over the past twelve months. From the art theft last year to breakfast this year, it feels like things have come full circle. Thank you Joe, Ivan, Ivan, Daniel and Breno. This breakfast really was the perfect start to my NYCC 2013.

Breakfast Club

Left to right: Ivan Freitas Da Costa, Daniel HDR, Joe Prado, Billy Henehan, Ivan Reis, Breno Tamura