8 Ekim 2012 Pazartesi


HONDO (1956)

Hondo was a character that proved extremely successful, and credit for his popularity is undoubtedly due to G. L. Bonelli's script, but also to the graphic ability of Franco Bignotti. The latter made his debut with this album, giving a very appealing characterization of this long-haired scout with a fringed jacket. The two authors succeeded in maintaining their readers' interest for no fewer than 117 albums (in the classical strip format). Even when the series was reprinted, in issues nr. 9-20 of Tutto West" (begun in 1988 and concluded in January 1989), the intrepid Hondo received a very affectionate welcome, which demonstrated the strength of this character and his ability to stand the test of time. Accompanied by the faithful Natanis, a cleverly rendered Apache figure, Honda gradually took on the nature of a moderator between Indians and whites, a role that already characterized one of the most important figures created by G. L. Bonelli, namely Tex. His resolute will and his profound sense of justice made Hondo into one of the most-loved figures of the late 1950s, and although his adventures were interrupted in Italy in 1958, in France the long-haired hero lived on for several years after that, with artwork by Barbato. Some of these Transalpine adventures were presented to Italian readers in the now out-of-print issue number 11 of the historic Zenith Gigante collection (the same one that today hosts Zagor).
TERRY (1956)

This amusing series was sparked off by a decidedly original idea of G. L. Bonelli's: two cowboys (handsome Terry and the brawny Bronco Bill), on holiday in Africa, are hired by a friend's father to defend the construction works involved in building a new railroad, which is being boycotted by unknown persons. The uproarious western twosome, whose exploits are set in a rather unusual framework, are caught up in a whole host of action-packed adventures in which the Western genre blends with the exotic. The artwork was created by Francesco Gamba, an illustrator belonging to the traditional school with clearly-depicted and attractive illustrations, that would later become the mainstay of "Il piccolo Ranger".
BIG DAVY (1957)

A short-lived but interesting series that presented the adventures of Davy Crockett, one of the legendary figures of American history, constantly accompanied by his faithful carbine "Betsy". The script was by G. L. Bonelli, with artwork by Renzo Calegari, the latter being still somewhat of a neophyte in this field but already very adept at rendering the atmosphere and feel of that epic world. One curiosity: the series bore the title "Big Davy" because, at that time, there was already another series on the market that featured the complete name of the legendary Crockett.
KOCISS (1957)

This character was based on the figure (a true historical person) of the Chiricahua Apache chief, Cochise. G. L. Bonelli, with his usual skillfulness, built up a series of exciting adventures around this figure, freeing him from the grit of history (as he had already done with Kit Carson in Tex) and enabling him to live a life of his own full of action and unexpected developments, always determined to defend his own people against the overweening power of whites and any other enemy. Excellent artwork was provided for this series by Emilio Uberti, who was graphically inspired by the great Burne Hogart, the illustrator of Tarzan. Uberti also designed the covers of the strip albums.

To defend the buffalo and therefore also the rights of the Indians of the great prairies, Dix Leroy, a former cavalry officer, founded the "Buffalo Patrol". The proper translation of this title into Italian should have been 'La pattuglia dei bisonti', but perhaps to harmonise with the original title it became "La Pattuglia dei Bufali". Dix is accompanied by all sorts of individuals, in particular old Buddy Crock, a former army mate of Leroy's, brawny Big Max and the comical Tobias G. Tobias, called "Moschito", who is very deft at throwing the boomerang. The series was created by Roy d'Amy, once again valiantly assisted by his best pupils, especially Giovanni Ticci and Renzo Calegari. D'Amy himself, in 1975, designed the covers for the reprint of the series, after a prolonged period away from the world of comics. In fact, "La Pattuglia dei Bufali" was the last series to which D'Amy contributed, before turning from his work as an illustrious author into a publishing agent and then a publisher in his own right.

YADO (1957)

Yado is the son of a Paiute witch doctor who, in order to prevent the sachem of his tribe from killing a white woman, decided to marry her and was then sent into exile together with her, where he brought Yado up in the native tradition. The young Yado thus grew to have immense magic powers, and shaped his life around the aim of seeking revenge for the hostile treatment meted out to his parents. The protagonist is always accompanied by the faithful Kerr, a coyote, and the stallion Hund, and thanks to his magic powers Yado is able to communicate with both of these animals as if they were human beings. Written by G. L. Bonelli and graphically rendered by Francesco Gamba, the story gives vent to Bonelli's never-ending love for magic and the esoteric, which he later sporadically transferred to Tex as well.


A short western tale for which Andrea Lavezzoli wrote the scripts and Francesco Gamba created the artwork. Accused of a murder he did not commit, the likeable and free-and-easy Rocky confronts bandits and Indians but always with a smile on his lips and a friendly joke. He is constantly surrounded by beautiful girls, all of whose hopes for romance are, however, dashed as at the end of the story Rocky wins the hand of a blond school-teacher he met in the first episode.


This comic series, which appeared as an appendix to Kociss, is set in America shortly after freedom from the English yoke had been won. It presents the adventures of a mixed bunch of characters, headed by the very young Silver Squik, and has a number of features that could be described as grotesque. Both the scripts and the artwork were created by Onofrio Bramante.


Having lost his uncle, his last living relative, at the hand of Lucky Bear's bandits, Tim Carter decides to enroll in the army as a scout, where he soon finds an opportunity to settle the account with the murderers. Thus begins the long series of adventures whose protagonist is "A boy in the Far West" (this is in fact the title of the series), and which also marked the script-writing debut of Guido Nolitta, alias Sergio Bonelli. As compared to his more classical predecessors, the figure of Tim was enriched by a certain irreverent tone, that would later become a constant element of Nolitta's characters, from Zagor to Mister No. The inevitable "comic relief character" (and perhaps the true protagonist of the stories) is Dusty Ryan, a rather disheveled soldier, a bit of a lazy-bones, not terribly brave, keen on a good drink, often to be found strumming his banjo and singing completely out of tune. Nolitta, who was busy working on other projects, subsequently handed the character on to G. L. Bonelli, who accentuated the action component. The long saga - entirely illustrated with skill and precision by Franco Bignotti, assisted in the final period by Giovanni Ticci, who contributed the pencil drawings for several episodes - had its grand finale in 1975, at the hand of Decio Canzio, on the occasion of its reprinting in the Collana Rodeo collection. By this time, there was heightened civil and social awareness, so that in the last episode was the two companions of adventure begin to distance themselves from the army, whose positions on certain issues they no longer share.


Dual-authored by Andrea Lavezzolo in tandem with Francesco Gamba, Il Piccolo Ranger drew its inspiration, as its title suggested, from typical Western products already on the market at that time, but the finely crafted ability of the illustrator prevented it from becoming just another copy of a hackneyed subject. Instead, its creators fashioned a long-running saga that sometimes took on tragic overtones, at other times was enlivened by humorous touches, but always absolutely riveting. Also, one of the fundamental elements of this series was the wealth of characters and the great variety of human types. The latter include the young Kit Teller (i.e. the "Little Ranger" himself), the hook-nosed and amusing Frankie Bellevan, with his amazing moustache curling at the sides, Ibrahim, who is black, the friendly "brandy" Gim, who's always a bit tipsy, plump Rosa Morning, cute Claretta, the impudent "Denti" Bill and, finally, the most extraordinary figure of Annie Quattropistole, a lively (and armed) spinster who's always on the hunt for a husband. Indeed, these characters represented the real focus of the story, with their feelings, their "ticks" and their manias. Constantly supported by the very clear lines of Gamba's drawings (and those of other illustrators as well, including Franco Bignotti, Lina Buffolente, and the duo Montanari- Grassani), Lavezzolo treated his readers to nothing short of a real novel, bringing the characters "to life" through rounded description of their personality and highlighting the way they changed over time. This approach, whereby both the readers and the characters were able to develop and grow as the story unfolded, enabled the series to maintain its popularity on news-stands for no less than twenty-seven years. However, some of the credit for this astonishing longevity should also be given to those who carried on Lavezzolo's work. In this context, special mention must be made of Decio Canzio, who, while maintaining the spirit of the series intact, opted for a faster-moving succession of events, a mode of story-telling with a swifter pace, better suited to the new mood of the times. He thus also drew on the world of horror, science fiction and more generally, classical adventure literature. The other script-writers, such as Giorgio Pezzin and Marcello Toninelli, also followed his example. An interesting contribution was made by Guido Nolitta, who composed some of the stories and also the last adventure of our heroes (as well as some of the very early ones), wherein, after so many years of adventures, they became private citizens who owned a farm.

Of English origin, although almost all the illustrators were Italian, this series narrates the adventures of Sergeant Dick of the Canadian Mounties, or "Red Coats", as they were often called. The plots develop according to the classical adventure story, and some of the episodes were very carefully illustrated. Particularly interesting is the episode entitled "La rivolta dei Cherokee", splendidly drawn by Renzo Calegari, who had already reached the height of his powers. This story appeared separately from the series, as an appendix to the Piccolo Ranger strips. Once the English series finished, the adventures of the heroic sergeant were further described in Italy, where they were continued by G. L. Bonelli (scripts) and Sergio Tarquinio (artwork). Giubba Rossa thus acquired full title to entry into the Olympus of Italian comic strip characters.

This minimal stories, full of humor, which looked rather like a strip or a something on a back cover, appeared as an appendix to the fortnightly issue of Tex and bore the unmistakable strokes penned by Luciano Capitanio. Set in a rather nondescript Far West and based on the character of Joe Bretella, these simple gags had a fixed structure in which the protagonist teaches little Tom what life is really like. But Tom is a smart kid and he invariably ends up getting the better of the supposedly older and wiser Joe.


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