The creators of Zagor

A short biography of Sergio Bonelli and Gallieno Ferri

Born in Milan on 2 December 1932, Sergio Bonelli is the son of Gian Luigi Bonelli, the creator of Tex and of so many other heroes of Italian comic strips. However, precisely in order to distinguish himself from his father, he has always referred to write his scripts under the pseudonym of Guido Nolitta. He made his début as a script in 1957, when he translated into Italian the Spanishseries "Verdugo Ranch" and wrote its concluding episode, entrusting the artwork to Franco Bignotti. Bignotti also performed the graphic rendering of the first character created by Nolitta: "Un ragazzo nel Far-West" dated 1958. Several episodes of "Il Piccolo Ranger" (normally written by Andrea Lavezzolo) are likewise the fruit of the fervent Bonelli imagination. In 1960 Nolitta wrote "Il Giudice Bean", an absolutely brilliant series composed of just six adventures, for which the artwork was provided by Sergio Tarquinio. The joint activity with Tarquinio was repeated for "Il ribelle", a short adventure composed in the same year. 1960 saw the meeting between Sergio Bonelli and the illustrator Gallieno Ferri: they decided to begin working together and in 1961 they created Zagor, for which Nolitta composed almost all the stories up to 1980. 1975 was the year in which Nolitta initiated the Mister No series, about an amusing Piper pilot who is half a tramp, half an adventurer, experiencing his adventures against the background of 1950s South America.

In 1977 Nolitta wrote the script of the book "L'Uomo del Texas" for Aurelio Galeppini, and at the same time he began, anonymously, to entrust Galep himself and several other illustrators with some of his Tex stories. In 1985 he composed the concluding adventure of the "Il Piccolo Ranger" series, and in 1990 he inaugurated the miniseries "River Bill" with artwork by Francesco Gamba. At present, Nolitta writes stories for Mister No and Tex; he was also the co-author (with Castelli) of the cross-over in which Jerry Drake meets the Detective of the Impossible. Of fundamental importance for the world of Italian comic strips is Sergio Bonelli's long and successful activity as a publisher, an activity which took up almost all of his time until his departure, on September 26th, 2011.
Gallieno Ferri, who created the graphics and the artwork was born in Genoa on 21 March 1929. In 1960 he met Guido Nolitta (Sergio Bonelli) with whom he invented Zagor, subsequently contributing the artwork for numerous stories and the entire range of Covers. After working for a few years as a chartered surveyor, he was judged to be one of the best comic strip illustrators in a competition held by the publisher De Leo, who was "talent scouting" among some of the most promising young artists. This result enabled Ferri to set to work immediately on illustrating two characters, "Il Fantasma Verde" and "Piuma Rossa". Ferri initials his panels as Fergal. In 1949 he illustrated the first series of "Maskar" , and designed the graphic representation    
 and designed the graphic representation of the western characters "Tom Tom" and "Thunder Jack". This marked the beginning of a series of successful projects with the French market. He also illustrated the series "Jolly" and "Capitan Walter" for "Il Vittorioso". The two authors' intention was to create a character who would appeal to the younger generation, while carefully steering clear of childish oversimplification; they also intended the Zagor stories to embody all the most typical elements of adventure stories, enriching the themes with ingredients taken over from other narrative genres. In 1975, when another celebrated Sergio Bonelli character, Mister No, was first introduced, Ferri illustrated the first issue and designed the first one one hundred and fifteen Covers. Ferri also designed the covers of Specials 9 and 10 of the Comandante Mark series, and the cover of the small album enclosed with Special 9. He died, at the age of 87, on April 2nd, 2016.