José Carioca, also known as Zé Carioca, was originally created in the early 1940s by the Walt Disney Company, to help improve relations between The United States and Latin America during World War II. He would make his film debut in a segment in the film "Saludos Amigos" where he appeared alongside Donald Duck. In 1942, it was published on the Silly Symphony comic strip, written by Bill Walsh, with art by Bob Grant and Paul Murry with inks by Dick Moores. In the strip, some characters present in his comics were created, such as his girlfriend Maria Vaz, her father Rocha Vaz, his friends Nestor and João, his rival Luís Carlos. In 1944, the strip featured Mexican rooster Panchito Pistoles, a character with whom José Carioca and Donald Duck would star with in the movie "The Three Caballeros". The strip starred Panchito until 1945. The character also had stories in comic books, in 1942, appears in The Carnival King, written and illustrated by Carl Buettner, published in Walt Disney Comics and Stories #27. n Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #50(November 1944), a sequel to The Three Caballeros, written by Chase Craig and illustrated by Carl Buettner. In the Four Color #71 (1945), was published an adaptation of The Three Caballeros, written and illustrated by Walt Kelly.
José Carioca is very popular in Brazil, in 1955, he began to have stories produced for the Brazilian Donald Duck comic book and in 1961, he got his own comic book. Here more characters were introduced, such as his friends Pedrão and Afonsinho, and a new rival, Zé Galo.
In Brazilian stories, he lives in a neighborhood called Vila Xurupita and is part of the soccer team Vila Xurupita Futebol Clube and the samba school Unidos de Vila Xurupita.
The issues were published until 2018 with more than 1300 issues, when Editora Abril stopped publishing Disney comics in the country. The character is also popular in the Netherlands, in 1981, his original strips began to be published in the Dutch Donald Duck comic book, in 1983, he started to have stories produced for this comic book. In 2019, Disney comics started to be published by Editora Culturama, which chose not to publish the Dutch stories. In 2020, the character returned to have stories produced in Brazil and published in Culturama's Aventuras Disney comic book.
He is mostly referred to as Zé Carioca, Zé being a common nickname for José in Brazil. In the Netherlands, he is called Joe. Most of his relatives and several other supporting characters also share the name Zé.
As with many other Disney characters, Jose has a super-hero persona. He calls himself Morcego Verde (Green Bat) when he fights crime.
José Carioca appears alongside Panchito and Donald in two comics by Don Rosa, The Three Caballeros Ride Again (2000) and The Magnificent Seven (Minus 4) Caballeros (2005).
In a story with the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White and The Evil Queen, written and illustrated by Tony Strobl, Yellow Beak resembled José Carioca.
In the movie Alice in Wonderland of 1951, two parrots similar to José Carioca appear on a jury.