Another ‘Illustrators’ special from The Book Palace, this time focusing on the Italian artists who contributed covers and interior art to the war pocketbooks that were sold in the UK. I more or less side-stepped them in the 1950s-60s but then, I tended to buy the bigger sized comicbooks. However, as this book shows, these artists also sold in other genres as well, samples of which are also included here. Whatever the medium, the art is still eye-catching and in some cases, as with the versatile Alessandro Biffignandi (1935-2017) simply jaw-dropping. He also worked also on showed up in Fleetway’s ‘Lion’ comic which I did read for a time.
This isn’t to belittle the other artists in this book. They all go for some element of realism in their work here that adds dynamism and movement to the action, making for an interesting display of art with an attention to detail.
For those who need names, apart from Biffignandi, there is also Roy Dami, Giorgie De Gaspari, Gino D’Antonio, Renzo Calegari, Fernando Tacconi, Pino Dell’Orco and Hugo Pratt, who is a distant relative of a certain Boris Karloff. I’ve included samples of art which veer away from the war subject to show there is a bit of variety here. All were prolific and without the discovery of a warehouse of their original art by David Roach could well have been lost forever.
As the cover describes, ‘War is hell!’ and none of the artists makes light of their subject matter. Some of them even came over to the UK to work rather than work at a distance. Most also worked out of the Studio Dani or Favilli Studio before going independent. The art is quite an eye-opener to how prolific they were back then and although not strictly fantasy, there is a lot to learn from their painting ability.
(pub: The Book Palace. 146 page illustrated squarebound magazine. Price: £25.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-907081-47-7. ISSN: 2052-6520)
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