NATHAN NEVER (1991)
After two years of preparations worthy of a cinema "colossal", three gifted young script-writers (Michele Medda, Antonio Serra, Bepi Vigna), already known from their contributions to Martin Mystère and Dylan Dog, launched the first science fiction series of the "Bonellian" new trend. In 2099 (but it would be better to say in 2177, if we abide by our Gregorian calendar), the great urban conglomerations of this Earth will be technological infernos of steel and concrete, subdivided into several levels and populated by mutants, unscrupulous criminals, psycho-narcotics dealers, and so forth. In this panorama of generalized chaos, the State has set up private surveillance organizations that sell security at inflated prices. The most famous of these is the Agenzia Alfa, the workplace of Nathan Never, a morose but tenacious former police officer tormented by gloomy memories, who has to contend with trigger-happy cyborgs, ill-tempered scanners and very powerful multinationals that are plotting against mankind. Together with the fascinating and energetic Legs Weaver and other staunch companions, he fights his war in defense of values that nobody seems to believe in any more: Law and Justice. In this scenario reminiscent of "Blade Runner", he becomes the protagonist of petrifying science fiction thrillers, when an imaginary future blends with realistic and hard-boiled detective story plots, which gradually define his identity. Who is Nathan Never really? What is hidden in his troubled past? Is he a hero or an anti-hero? Perhaps he is simply a human being in a less and less human world.
ZONA X (1992)
The year in which Martin Mystère reached his tenth year of happy presence on new-stands also saw the birth of Zona X, a bulky album that came out every four months (but it would later be transformed into a bi-monthly and subsequently monthly publication). Within the space of 196 pages, Zona X hosted two complete stories "on the boundaries of the possible", presented, or purportedly sponsored, by the detective-archaeologist-traveler created by Alfredo Castelli. Respecting the motto ""throw the gates open to fantasy", over time Zona X offered self-contained stories, series and mini-series that shared the common feature of the unusual, the bizarre, the inexplicable. For instance, "Magic Patrol", whose protagonists are several members of the mysterious Elsewhere base; "La stripe di Elän", the first Bonellian fantasy revolving around the feats of a group of figures who journey back and forth between Earth and a magic world where technology has progressed no further than the sixteenth century; "Legione stellare", a space-opera set in the entire galaxy of the Thirtieth century; "Robinson Hart", an intrepid time policeman, who wanders around between ancient Rome, Arthurian Brittany and the wild West…
COLLANA ALMANACCHI (1993)
This trail was opened up, in 1987, by the Almanacco del Mistero [Mystery Alamanac], inevitably "sponsored" by Martin Mystère. Then, in 1991, it was followed by the Almanacco della Paura [Almanac of Fear], which was linked - how could it have been otherwise ? - to the horror-pervaded world of Dylan Dog. Finally, to satisfy the pressing requests of thousands of readers, Sergio Bonelli decided to broaden the "Almanac Project" to include some of the most significant characters and genres of the Publishing House, as well as the 'classics' Martin Mystère and Dylan Dog: the West, with Tex; Adventure, with Mister No and Zagor; Science Fiction, with Nathan Never; Thrillers, with Nick Raider… In the summer of 1993, it was actually the Almanacco del Giallo [Thriller Almanac] that officially inaugurated a two-monthly collection whose basic approach - which was very favorably received by the public - has not changed since then. Thus in addition to a previously unpublished comic strip containing a complete story about the hero from whom the strip takes its title, the Almanacco offers a critical excursus on the best films and books seen and read during the previous twelve months (thematically linked to the publication), accompanied by a vast and extensively illustrated collection of articles, news flashes and short essays. In 176 pages (192 for the Almanacco di Martin Mystère), it provides fascinating insight into the innumerable genres and multifaceted emotions that make up the mosaic of popular fiction.
KEN PARKER MAGAZINE (1994)
There are some characters that seem to enjoy eternal youth and who, despite floundering in deep water in terms of their sales track record, never let their trusting and affectionate public down. Ken Parker is one of these. After the official "Bonellian" cycle was closed in 1984, the fair-haired scout invented by Berardi & Milazzo was sporadically offered hospitality in container-journals, until 1992, when a small Press managed by Parker's own creators devoted the Ken Parker Magazine to this hero. It was a large-sized monthly publication in which there appeared not only the new Ken Parker adventures but also comic strips by other authors, and, additionally, articles, essays and prose stories. In 1994, Ken Parker Magazine was taken over by Sergio Bonelli Editore, so that Lungo Fucile finally "returned home". Enhanced by an enriched and rejuvenated graphic apparatus, the journal broadened its scope, proposing, among other things, short unpublished tales interpreted by the best-known heroes of the Bonelli "stables" (Tex, Dylan Dog, Mister No, Martin Mystère, Nathan Never…) and interesting profiles of the different literary genres (thrillers and detective stories, science fiction, the western, exotic adventures…). When, in 1996, having reached its thirty-sixth issue, the Magazine was compelled to abandon its (too few) readers, Ken would not give up and emigrated onto the pages of two new collections according to the usual Bonelli pattern: Ken Parker Collezione - which presented the complete Ken Parker stories that had previously been published in installments in Ken Parker Magazine - and Ken Parker Speciale, which presented totally new and complete adventures every six months, containing no fewer than 180 pages about the tormented character. But in January 1998, even Ken Parker Speciale had to be pensioned off: but those who know Ken and love him shouldn't worry, because they are well aware that Lungo Fucile has a thousand lives, and that sooner or later he will once more set off on his journeys across that crepuscular West of which he was a pioneer!
LEGS WEAVER (1995)
Those who are familiar with the jargon of the real super-keen fans, or those who have inside knowledge of this field, would say that Legs Weaver is a spin-off, in other words a series whose protagonist was born on the pages of a different series, in which he or she played a supporting role. What is certain is that with the ebullient character she displays at every turn, Legs had fully deserved an album all of her own, where she can express with the greatest possible freedom - and finally as a genuine protagonist - all the energy and irony she had already exhibited as Nathan Never's companion of adventures. So, in 1995, her creators (Medda, Serra & Vigna) decided to tell a new adventure every month about Rebecca "Legs" Weaver all on her own, focusing more clearly on her many-sided personality. During the years she spends at the Rogers Academy, a sort of university where future special agents are trained, Rebecca meets Oliver Lawrence, one of its founders. She marries him, but shortly afterwards she is unjustly accused of her husband's murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in Blackwall prison. In 2091, when Edward Reiser founds the Agenzia Alfa, he asks Legs to become the first Alfa agent in exchange for her freedom. In 2093, in a mission that leads her to hunt down an art thief, she meets May Frayn. May agrees to join the Agenzia Alfa. This marks the beginning of their friendship and their decision to go and live together, and it's also the start of a long list of amazing, surprising escapades!