VITA DURA PER GLI SCERIFFI (1961)
Another short humorous tale that appeared as an appendix to Zagor. The protagonist is a certain Teddy Noccol who, upon reaching Okay-baby City, is inexplicably elected sheriff but… there is a plot afoot! The artwork is by Raffaele Cormio.
With a script by Cesare Solini and artwork by Carlo Cossio, Yor is an oversized boy in a T-shirt, an improbable descendant of the ancient Incas. Likeable and powerfully built, he is accompanied on his Amazon adventures by the faithful jaguar Kis.
The son of Lieutenant Wilding, an official of the American army who had withdrawn to live in the forest of the North-Eastern United States (the story is set in the first half of the nineteenth-century), Zagor sees his parents die, killed by a band of Abenakis guided by a fanatic called Salomon Kinsky. Miraculously surviving the slaughter, the boy is rescued by an odd vagrant, named Wandering Fitzy. The young Wilding (who, we later find out, is called Patrick), grows up living the rough life of a trapper, but in his mind there exists only one thought: revenge! But when he eventually has the opportunity to obtain revenge, he finds out that his father had likewise been a slaughterer of Indians. Thus his mounting awareness of the relativity of the concepts of Good, Evil and Justice leads him to transform himself, aided by a family of entertainers and acrobats, into Za-Gor-Te-Nay, the Spirit with the Hatchet (or Zagor, for short), a sort of avenger always ready to side with the weak and the oppressed, whether they be black or white, terrifying his adversaries with his awful war cry. After setting up his base on an small island surrounded by quicksands, in a marshy area of the imaginary forest of Darkwood (through which he sometimes travels by leaping from one tree to another, holding on to lianas), Zagor begins the task of pacification in the company of the friendly Mexican Cico (Felipe Cayetano Lopez Martinez y Gonzalez), a comic supporting character who fulfils the function of relieving the tension in dramatic situations and making the stories more attractive to read. The main aim of our pot-bellied and self-styled hidalgo is to satisfy his boundless appetite, an activity that gets him caught up in innumerable escapades. By cleverly blending elements from various other characters (from Tarzan to the Phantom, not disdaining Robin Hood and Don Quixote, the author Guido Nolitta (the pseudonym, as we have seen, of the publisher Sergio Bonelli) has put together a product that has proven extremely enjoyable for comic strip readers and is also much appreciated for the quality of the adventures experienced by the protagonist. This comic series still attracts the attention of a very wide readership today, partly thanks to the variety of situations and type of stories, which range from the pure western to the horror genre and even to the fantastic. The artwork for this series is by the Ligurian illustrator Gallieno Ferri, whose powerful strokes, conveying swiftness and decisive force, has become a veritable hallmark of the Zagor stories.
CAPITAN TUONO (1962)
A short tale that appeared as an appendix to "Un ragazzo nel Far West", written with the usual masterly verve by G. L. Bonelli and illustrated with precision and elegance by Angelo Platania, an illustrator who was very well known in the Forties. The main protagonist of this tale is the likeable Capital Tuono, together with his two assistants, the lively Doppio Whisky and Tom, who is black. In their first adventure, our heroes (who travel up the Mississipi on their boat, the Susannah), help a young couple to escape from a gang of outlaws.
I TRE MARINES (1962)
Here we find the heroic-comical adventures of three likeable marines, who are trying to retrieve a load of gold from the bottom of Ensenada bay, in Mexico. The artwork is by Vladimiro Missaglia. The story, which ran to no more than a few dozen pages and appeared as an appendix to the strip edition of Tex, was begun by Sergio Bonelli, who later passed it to the script-writer Ennio Missaglia, by whom it was completed.
IL GIUDICE BEAN (1963)
The Giudice Bean stories - a brief and rather unusual series that tell the adventures of the legendary judge who defined himself as "the only law west of Pecos", of the judge's grand-son Danny and his fat pard Sam - was actually Guido Nolitta's first experience in the guise of a script-writer, despite its date of publication. As you all know by now, Nolitta is actually the publisher Sergio Bonelli, who decided to use a nom-de-plume in order to avoid mix-ups and mistaken identities (I didn't want my father, G. L. Bonelli, with all his years of work and professional expertise, to be mistaken for a mere beginner", ipse dixit). In any case, after a period of training and practice (of which "Il Giudice Bean" represents an example), Sergio Bonelli's talent blossomed, and he achieved enormous success with characters such as Zagor and Mister No, to cite only the most important ones. In "Il Giudice Bean", a special feature was the fine illustrations by Sergio Tarquinio.
A short tale (just one album) whose protagonist is a lone gunman working on the margins of the law (which, however, he never over-steps). Called "The Man with the Axe" or "The Man who walks in the Night" by the Indians, Jimmy Ringo is a character created by G. L. Bonelli, graphically rendered by the never failing hand of Emilio Uberti.
LOBO KID (1964)
During the War of Secession, a group of bandits disguised as Yankee soldiers launch an attack on the Clayton estate, killing its owners. Only the young Larry survives, thanks to the help of the Comanche Yagor, to whom he had temporarily offered hospitality. After growing up among the Indians, Larry returns to the world of the white man to punish his uncle Fred, who masterminded the bloodbath. The script by G. L. Bonelli is as exciting as ever, and is brilliantly supported by Loredano Ugolini's highly personal style of illustration. The adventure, which remained incomplete in the first publication (as an appendix to the new Furio series), was completed by Glauco Verozzi on the occasion of the reprinting of the Collana Rodeo. The forced happy ending prevented Larry Clayton from becoming (as had been planned) a "desperado" called… Lobo Kid!
OLIVER BOLD (1964)
Published as an appendix to Il Piccolo Ranger, this English production had splendid illustrations by the great Dino Battaglia, whose particularly inspired rendering offered a wealth of pictorial detail. Having inherited from his uncle the command of the Orsa Bianca, a pirate ship that tormented the Spanish fleet, Oliver Bold decided to use his ship to free the slaves held prisoner by the Bey of Algeria. At his side, throughout his adventures, was a large man called Big Luke.
In a future in which robots have taken over the reins of power, during a period of lethargy and absent-mindedness of the human race - the latter having become too used to letting the automata get on with everything - we come upon Magnus, a young man educated by 1A, a sort of "philosopher" robot that is against the tyrannical rule of its fellow-robots. Trained by 1A to fight against the automata, Magnus has the ability to mentally sense the robots' radio messages in his mind, and he has hands which, thanks to intensive karate lessons, are even capable of destroying steel. His adventures struggling against all sorts of wicked robots, written by Paul Newman and graphically portrayed with splendid illustrations by a particularly effective Russ Manning, appeared in the pages of the seventeen Collana Oceano albums, published at first by the Editrice Junior press and later by Edizioni Araldo. As an appendix to this series, another science fiction series (again an American production, and also illustrated by Russ Manning) is worth noting: "Aliens", based on the meeting between a terrestrial space ship and one manned by aliens.
DOCTOR SOLAR (1965)
As he is studying the possibility of converting energy into matter, Doctor Solar gets exposed to atomic radiation, but instead of killing him, this transforms him into an "atomic man" endowed with incredible powers. His adversary is the mysterious Nuro, whose face we never see. Published in the Collana Oceano (in alternation with Magnus), this series of American origin was created by Mike Fijima and was composed with the assistance, among others, of the script-writer Paul Newman and the illustrators Frank Bolle and Bon Fujitani.