GLI ADORATORI DEL DIAVOLO (1943)
This is a short tale describing the ordeals faced during the quest for the Dragon's Seal by an Italo-American hero, Tony Brelli, amid Condottieros and Oriental Sheiks. The script by G. L. Bonelli is accompanied by the splendid illustrations for which Enrico Bagnoli, who was in charge of the graphic design, drew inspiration from the great Alex Raymond.
IL GIUSTIZIERE DEL WEST (1947)
The amazing figure of the Lone Ranger, a legendary character of American comics, certainly provided the inspiration for the creators of "Il Giustiziere del West" [The Avenger of the West], a horseman who inherited from his famous transatlantic colleague not only his courage and strength, but also his black mask and his Indian pard, Penna d'Aquila, accompanied by the faithful canine Lampo. Created by G. L. Bonelli, the series hosted artwork by Scudellari, Schipani and Monasterolo. Reprinted subsequently in the "Albo d'Oro Audace" as "Il giustiziere mascherato", it later had a sequel, by the script-writer Franco Baglioni.
FRISCO BILL (1948)
IL LADRO DI BAGDAD (1948)
This exciting adventure, with splendid illustrations by the truly inspired hand of Raffaele Paparella to scripts by Gianluigi Bonelli, tells about Alì Khim, the heir to the throne who had a near miraculous escape from the coup d'état organized by Harun Rasci, which led to the death of the Caliph, Alì's father. Brought up by a small-time thief, Alì finds out his real name from Timur, a little spirit contained in a ring the boy happened to steal. By virtue of the powers of the ring and the advice given him by the little genie, Alì manages to be reinstated on the throne that is rightfully his, and to win the hand of the beautiful Zuleyma, whom he has met during the story. Interrupted within the "Serie d'Oro Audace" publications, the story was reprinted and completed in the Ragno d'Oro series of publications, where it appeared under the title "Alì Khim, il ladro di Bagdad" (1950).
IL LIBRO DELLA JUNGLA (1948)
This was an abridged version, with a script by Marcello Serra, of the famous novel by Rudyard Kipling. It tells of the adventures and misadventures of little Mowgli, brought up by animals in the Indian jungle. The cartoons by Aurelio Galleppini, whose artistic talent was already blossoming into full maturity, are of excellent level. Published as a serialized appendix to the albums in the "Serie d'Oro Audace", the story unfortunately remained unfinished.
OCCHIO CUPO (1948)
LA PATTUGLIA DEI SENZA PAURA (1948)
The protagonists of this series (which was undoubtedly inspired by the American "Radio Patrol") are two stalwart brothers, Bob and Alan Grey, commanding officers of a special American law enforcement division. Our heroes engage in a determined struggle against strongly rooted organized crime in a modern metropolis. This was an environment that gave G. L. Bonelli (who, for these stories, adopted the nom-de-plume B. O'Nelly!) scope to create a series of amazingly exciting stories: each album featured unexpected and thrilling situations: frenzied chases along city streets, riotous shoot-outs against a background of sky-scrapers, patient investigations in the slums of the city and countless surprises capable of startling even the most jaded and case-hardened reader of thrillers (but the series was not without ironic touches as well). The artwork for this series was contributed by Roy d'Amy, Guido Zamperoni and Franco Donatelli. This brings us up to 1948, and there was now a new arrival at the newsagents', where the typically Italian comic strip had by now become a familiar publication. The newcomer had an eye-catching red graphic design that immediately attracted the attention of potential purchasers: it was to be the mainstay of Edizioni Audace - Tex!
Year of birth: 1948. So the most popular hero of Italian comics is now over fifty years old. And he certainly doesn't show his age! Created by Gianluigi Bonelli (scripts) and Aurelio Galleppini (artwork), Tex Willer, the most dearly-loved Ranger of Italy, still occupies an extremely prominent position on the Italian market, even after more than half a century of published life. The first among the Italian western heroes to incorporate the point of view of Native Americans into the stories (and this long before the advent, in cinema, in the early seventies, of the "crepuscular" western), Tex experiences all his adventures in the company of his three faithful pards: his son, the young half-breed Kit Willer (born from Tex's marriage to the Navajo girl Lilyth, who dies in tragic circumstances), the crafty old Kit Carson and the Navajo warrior Tiger Jack. Tex's philosophy is very simple: to fight against all kinds of injustice, defend the rights of the Navajos (in the guise of Aquila della Notte, supreme chief of the tribe) and of all oppressed individuals (as an official member of the Corps of Rangers). Often set in exotic scenarios, the Tex stories cleverly blend classical Western themes with atmospheres verging on horror and the fantastic (alien space ships that land in Arizona, voodoo sects, mad scientists…), above all in the adventures where he is up against his enemy "Number One", the diabolical Mefisto. There are countless reasons for the success and popularity of Tex, including the vitality, variety and wealth of features that have been one of the distinctive characteristics of the series ever since its first appearance on news-stands. In those years, in Italy, the mythology of the West, built up above all through its depiction in movies, was still unsophisticated and stereotyped. Tex burst onto the scene like the crack of a whip, a vigorously innovative proposal that broke away from long-established conventions (not merely of the world of comics): his boundless verve, his, in some sense, non-mainstream and "maverick" attitudes opened up a new and broader horizon for the post-war reader's imagination. Today 'Tex' is not only one of the most popular Italian comics, a veritable epos in the classical sense, a sort of self-sufficient universe, but it has also become a significant element of Italian culture and a rare example, especially for a serial, of the production of flights of fancy that have maintained all their freshness and liveliness despite their amazingly long existence.
MANI IN ALTO! (1949)
The glorious press "Audace" had by now run its course. Even the character of Furio (now masked) had difficulty adjusting to the new vitality that permeated post-war Italy. But once again the Audace Press had an ace up its sleeve in the guise of Rinaldo D'Ami, script-writer and illustrator who had internalised the example of American Western movies and of the great American comic strip authors (in particular Milton Caniff). Thus in 1949 a stunning cover designed by Galleppini marked the birth off "Mani in alto!", a new series with which the by now exhausted "Audace" effectively merged, and in which the adventures of Furio would come to their natural conclusion, with Furio now reduced to the role of a somewhat minor figure. The protagonists of this new series were the young Teddy Star, a Cavalry sergeant, Cherry Brandy, the typical wrinkled old man of the western genre, and Sventola, a likeable and slightly pathetic figure of a orphan bandit. D'Ami, who later americanized his name to Roy D'Amy, succeeded in giving a brilliant characterization of his characters, embroiling them in lengthy adventures set in the West, but also in Mexico and Canada. He achieved remarkable success with this series, and "Mani in alto!" became one of the masterpieces of the world of comics during this period. Particularly striking were his female figures: graphically inspired by Caniff's "little women", they broke free from the traditional image of the "nice little girl-friend needing protection" by participating actively in the events.