THE NINETEEN FORTIES-1940'LAR
Created in the wake of the success of Dick Fulmine, Furio Almirante - a boxer with an iron fist, ugly but appealing, endowed with a great mane of wavy hair - turned out to be an extremely effective character, and proved to be a veritable corner-stone for Tea Bonelli's Edizioni Audace, helping to overcome the complications and obstacles springing from the war. Set in an exotic framework (for instance, the whole of the first part is set in a South American background), the stories of this hero and his inseparable assistant, the gorilla Serafino, featured a wide range of subjects and became immensely popular, and were much loved by a great variety of readers. Furio was soon hailed as the prototype of the righter of wrongs, one who would not gladly suffer those with overweening power and cunning or tinpot tyrants, a figure who preferred to take the law into his own hands (and to do so on behalf of the weak), in a world where scheming and plotting and power politics are constantly making a mockery of justice. This philosophy allowed Furio to gain enormous favor among his readers, and his popularity remained unabated even with the numerous changes of illustrators (Carlo Cossio at the beginning, Vittorio Cossio immediately afterwards and then, in the postwar period, Dino Attanasio and Lina Buffolente) or the transformations in book size and costumes (at a certain point, to adapt to the prevailing taste of the period Furio began to wear a mask which, in actual fact, hardly masked him at all). But it was above all in the postwar period that G. L. Bonelli, by now completely in command of the medium of expression, bestowed on the character the special psychological characteristics which, further refined, would in later years lead to the long-lasting success of Tex. In the Sixties, however, when Furio was reproposed in small book format and refreshed by the appealing artwork of Franco Bignotti, the character (by now irremediably dated in certain aspects) met with only a lukewarm reception.
CAPITAN FORTUNA (1942)
In those years, as well as the exploits of the gigantic Furio, special issues of the magazine "Audace" also hosted other characters who have by rights entered into the history of Italian comics. One such character was Capitan Fortuna, written and illustrated by the great Rino Albertarellli, who was at the peak of his art in these stories. They constituted a veritable saga, after the style of Salgari, with a romantic aura but a genuine flavor of adventure in the cartoons. The protagonist, Capitan Fortuna, a valiant Italian sailor, is the commander of the ship La Pellegrina. He is flanked by the elderly Pappafico and the young Trinchetto, while the baddie in these adventures is the shifty pirate England. A touch of romance is given by the gentle but far from helpless Morena. Set in the seventeenth century, this saga took place in exotic environments, and was by no means shy of depicting apolcalytpic scenes and visions (one memorable scene is the cataclysm that destroys an entire island in the very first number). Reprinted several times, two adventures of this series were re-used in the postwar period for the Occhio Cupo series, on which occasion the hero was made to wear the by now typical black mask.
ORLANDO INVINCIBILE (1942)
In "Orlando Invincibile", the myth of the Paladins was revisited by G. L. Bonelli's scripts on the basis on the literary inventions of Ariosto and Boiardo, who had sung the deeds of the hero in their epic poems. This series narrates the story of the Charlemagne's brave paladin who, for love of the beautiful Angelica, fearlessly faces countless adventures and ordeals involving sorcerers, giants, knights and dragons. Rino Albertarelli, who created the artwork, was able to give full expression here to his graphic talent, creating a world poised between reality and magic that was unrivalled in the world of comics of those years. The great Albertarelli continued the work undertaken by Vittorio Cossio (who contributed the artwork for the first part of the story).
I CONQUISTATORI DELLO SPAZIO (1943)
As was typical of the tradition of every "magazine-album" (such was the heading of the new "Audace"), the destiny of the publication was partly sustained by serialized stories, such as "I conquistatori dello spazio", created with scripts by G. L. Bonelli and artwork first by Raffaele Paparella and subsequently by Nico Lubatti. The protagonist, Claudio Reni, finds himself involved in a story belonging to the genre of the fantastic (inspired by the adventures of Flash Gordon, but endowed with a lively original zest), which starts off in an unexplored area of the Himalayas and leads him to face Cyclopes, green men and death rays, in the attempt to oppose the Wicked Tao's Falchi Grigi.
POMPEO BILL (1943)
LA PERLA NERA (1943)