1961

Zagor

Zagor

The son of Lieutenant Wilding, an official of the American army who had withdrawn to live in the forest of the North-Eastern United States (the story is set in the first half of the nineteenth-century), Zagor sees his parents die, killed by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.