History of the publishing house

History of the publishing house
  • 1941

    Furio

    Created in the wake of the success of Dick Fulmine, Furio Almirante - a boxer with an iron fist, ugly but appealing, endowed with a great mane of wavy hair - turned out to be an extremely effective character, and proved to be a veritable corner-stone for Tea Bonelli's Edizioni Audace, helping to overcome the complications and obstacles springing from the war. Set in an exotic framework (for instance, the whole of the first part is set in a South American background), the stories of this hero and his inseparable assistant, the gorilla Serafino, featured a wide range of subjects and became immensely popular, and were much loved by a great variety of readers. Furio was soon hailed as the prototype of the righter of wrongs, one who would not gladly suffer those with overweening power and cunning or tinpot tyrants, a figure who preferred to take the law into his own hands (and to do so on behalf of the weak), in a world where scheming and plotting and power politics are constantly making a mockery of justice. This philosophy allowed Furio to gain enormous favor among his readers, and his popularity remained unabated even with the numerous changes of illustrators (Carlo Cossio at the beginning, Vittorio Cossio immediately afterwards and then, in the postwar period, Dino Attanasio and Lina Buffolente) or the transformations in book size and costumes (at a certain point, to adapt to the prevailing taste of the period Furio began to wear a mask which, in actual fact, hardly masked him at all). But it was above all in the postwar period that G. L. Bonelli, by now completely in command of the medium of expression, bestowed on the character the special psychological characteristics which, further refined, would in later years lead to the long-lasting success of Tex. In the Sixties, however, when Furio was reproposed in small book format and refreshed by the appealing artwork of Franco Bignotti, the character (by now irremediably dated in certain aspects) met with only a lukewarm reception.

  • 1942

    Capitan Fortuna

    In those years, as well as the exploits of the gigantic Furio, special issues of the magazine "Audace" also hosted other characters who have by rights entered into the history of Italian comics. One such character was Capitan Fortuna, written and illustrated by the great Rino Albertarellli, who was at the peak of his art in these stories. They constituted a veritable saga, after the style of Salgari, with a romantic aura but a genuine flavor of adventure in the cartoons. The protagonist, Capitan Fortuna, a valiant Italian sailor, is the commander of the ship La Pellegrina. He is flanked by the elderly Pappafico and the young Trinchetto, while the baddie in these adventures is the shifty pirate England. A touch of romance is given by the gentle but far from helpless Morena. Set in the seventeenth century, this saga took place in exotic environments, and was by no means shy of depicting apolcalytpic scenes and visions (one memorable scene is the cataclysm that destroys an entire island in the very first number). Reprinted several times, two adventures of this series were re-used in the postwar period for the Occhio Cupo series, on which occasion the hero was made to wear the by now typical black mask.

  • 1942

    Orlando Invincibile

    In "Orlando Invincibile", the myth of the Paladins was revisited by G. L. Bonelli's scripts on the basis on the literary inventions of Ariosto and Boiardo, who had sung the deeds of the hero in their epic poems. This series narrates the story of the Charlemagne's brave paladin who, for love of the beautiful Angelica, fearlessly faces countless adventures and ordeals involving sorcerers, giants, knights and dragons. Rino Albertarelli, who created the artwork, was able to give full expression here to his graphic talent, creating a world poised between reality and magic that was unrivalled in the world of comics of those years. The great Albertarelli continued the work undertaken by Vittorio Cossio (who contributed the artwork for the first part of the story).

  • 1943

    I conquistatori dello Spazio

    As was typical of the tradition of every "magazine-album" (such was the heading of the new "Audace"), the destiny of the publication was partly sustained by serialized stories, such as "I conquistatori dello spazio", created with scripts by G. L. Bonelli and artwork first by Raffaele Paparella and subsequently by Nico Lubatti. The protagonist, Claudio Reni, finds himself involved in a story belonging to the genre of the fantastic (inspired by the adventures of Flash Gordon, but endowed with a lively original zest), which starts off in an unexplored area of the Himalayas and leads him to face Cyclopes, green men and death rays, in the attempt to oppose the Wicked Tao's Falchi Grigi.

  • 1943

    Pompeo Bill

    A series of amusing humorous stories, but with an adventurous plot, created by Davide Faustinelli with scripts by G. L. Bonelli focusing on the character of Pompeo Bill (you can see him here above), a bearded cowboy, and his friends, the old Tapioca and the little Indian Penna Rossa.

  • 1943

    La Perla Nera

    This "cinenovel" (as some comics were called at that time) had already appeared in "L'Audace" in 1938, but three fine reprint editions came out in 1943, and this allows us to mention here the historic joint work between G. L. Bonelli and the great illustrator Franco Caprioli, who had already reached full maturity of artistic expression. The story revolves around a precious black pearl that affords access to a mysterous city, where untold treasure is hidden. The protagonists are Sandro, a young journalist, the beautiful Anna and the perfidious Moro, whose deeds take place in another exotic framework, Melanesa, entrancingly evoked by Caprioli's masterly artwork.

  • 1943

    Gli adoratori del diavolo

    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.

  • 1946

    Ipnos

    At the end of the Second World War, in the wake of the great success of "Mandrake", Gianluigi Bonelli launched the Ipnos series, about a young illusionist and hypnotist in search of the Seven Seals, the key to the Ming treasure. Buttressed by the powerful Mastino and the nimble Pillola, the protagonist's exploits unfold amid great oriental cities and landscapes, where he has to contend with the magic and hypnotism of the Drago Nero men and a gang of thieves headed by the bewitching Lula Smith (who, at the end, turns into a goodie). The series had a rather eventful life as a publishing venture, on account of the impossibility of finding an illustrator who could guarantee continuity and regularity of production. Thus the artwork was contributed by a number of illustrators - Gino Cossio, Paolo Piffarerio, Guido Da Passano, Armando Bonato, and, finally, Mario Uggeri, who attempted to relaunch the series with decidedly Raymondian graphics.

  • 1947

    Il Giustiziere del West

    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.
        
       

  • 1948

    Frisco bill

    In April 1948, another journalist became the hero of a new series: Frisco Bill. He is a reckless and very dynamic young man, who flings himself into the most dangerous adventures with the same spirit that a sports enthusiast would display in launching himself into the fray of a football match. It hardly need be added that a character of this kind could certainly not perform his mighty deeds in a limited range of action, and so it comes as no surprise to find our hero, together with his inseparable friend Zazzera and the friendly little dog Pillachera, jumping on planes and motorboats, riding powerful motorbikes or temperamental horses, passing within the space of just a few hours from the elegance of a Rio nightclub to the wretched hovels of an Indio village. The role of antagonist was occupied first by the Figli del Serpente, a sect of Brazilian Indios, and later by a mysterious gang of hooded figures. Among the aspects of this series that immediately strike the reader, special mention must be made of the brilliant scripts by Baglioni and the freshness of Zamperoni's illustrations (rendered three-dimensional by the use of screens), but fans were left disappointed by the overhasty closure of the series right in the heat of the story!

  • 1948

    Il ladro di Bagdad

    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).

  • 1948

    il libro della Jungla

    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.

  • 1948

    occhio cupo

    The series describes the adventures of the French nobleman Carlo Lebeau who, wrongly accused of murder, is deported to Canada by ship. After managing to escape, he assumes the identity of Occhio Cupo, an enigmatic character but also, at the same time, credible and lifelike, with the strange sound of his battle name matched by the oddity of the costume he wears. The story, set in the area of the Great Lakes, during the war between France and Britain, comes to a happy end when Occhio Cupo succeeds in bringing to justice the person who originally had him arrested, and then gets married to Clara Montcain, the girl who helped him to escape from the ship. This is the outline of the story narrated by G. L. Bonelli, sustained, as always, by the highly expressive artwork of Galleppini. The action then shifts from the Canadian forests to the ocean, thereby allowing the re-utilization, as mentioned earlier, of a Capitan Fortuna adventure, after appropriately fine-tuning Albertarelli's illustrations.

  • 1948

    la pattuglia dei senza paura

    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!
       

  • 1948

    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.

  • 1949

    Mani in alto!

    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.

  • 1949

    Plutos

    Plutos was a series in which some traditional themes of American comics (and in particular the theme of the masked hero) were exploited by G. L. Bonelli for an action-rich story, splendidly depicted by the lively artwork of Leone Cimpellin. Bill Donovan, determined to avenge his brother's death after the latter was killed in a fight between rival gangs, wore a Batman-type costume; helped by the beautiful Lula Michigan and the former boxer Joe, he engaged in a battle against gangsters and sect of deceitful Chinese. One of the characteristics of the protagonist was his pistols, which gave off a sleep-inducing gas that had the effect of drugging its victims, who were destined to awaken the next day, in prison!