Batman of Brazil
As the world marvels at the shiny soccer stadiums from Rio to Recife, a working class hero dons a mask and cape and battles for the people.
Photo by Cole Howard
Sweat drips from the black-fitted latex mask that Eron Morais Melo bought on eBay. His face covered, he takes command of Rio Branco — one of the busiest streets in downtown Rio de Janeiro — standing atop the aisle of orange and white construction barriers that reach more than halfway up his six-foot-two frame.
Raccoon-like eyes — the result of a five-minute paint-job that morning — peek out as black circles through the mask’s designated eyeholes. It would all blend together if it weren’t for the intensity of the thirty-three-year-old’s eyes, an intensity gained from Rio’s street battles.
Melo stands atop the checkered dividers as oncoming buses nearly graze his back. His velvet cape, fastened with safety pins, is draped over his broad frame, covering his homemade shoulder pads and touching down near the top of his dark shoes. A cutout of the iconic Batman symbol crosses his chest and a faux-golden belt provides the only color to his homemade costume.
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