Monday, March 21, 2016

European Western Comic Books - El Kid

In 1953 El Kid, represented as taking place in a border region of northern Mexico, the comic book has as its protagonist a rather reckless young man who sets himself up as a defender of the poor and the oppressed. Through a lengthy series of adventures in which he comes up against Mexican Rurales, Apache warriors and pistoleros, our hero uses his guns and his fists without every losing the ironic and lighthearted look on his face. This decidedly dynamic character, springing from the inexhaustible imagination of Gianluigi Bonelli, had his first adventures, with artwork by the already expert hand of Dino Battaglia, on the pages of Collana Rodeo, and later in Tutto West. Subsequently, the series was also illustrated by Renzo Calegari and Gino D'Antonio, for a total of twenty-four issues.

Dino Battaglia was born in Venice in August of 1923, he made his debut in 1945 in the periodical Albo Uragano/Asso di Picchi, which he had co-founded with his friends Hugo Pratt and Alberto Ongaro. There, he drew 'Junglemen', which was continued in Argentina three years later by his friend Hugo Pratt. Pratt and Ongaro went to Argentina in 1948 after accepting an assignment from the publisher Cesar Civita. Battaglia stayed in Italy however, but did keep in touch with his friends, to whom he sent the artwork of the series 'Capitain Caribe', which was published in Oesterheld's magazine Frontera.

Battaglia drew 'Cowboy Kid' for Salgari in Argentina, while also working with the Italian magazines L'Intrepido and Il Vittorioso, as well as the publishing house Audace, for which he drew episodes of 'Pecos Bill' with scripts by Guido Martina. In 1952, he created the series 'Mark Fury' for L'Intrepido, which was also printed in the British magazine Junior Press. In the mid-1950s, Battaglia started to draw directly for the British market through the Roy d'Ami studios in Milan. His work was printed in Fleetway magazines like Top Spot, Knockout ('Oliver Bold') and Look and Learn (adaptations of Shakesperean pieces).

For the Italian market, Battaglia drew 'El Kid' with scripts by Gianluigi Bonelli in 1955. He began a collaboration with Il Corriere dei Piccoli in 1962, for which he did illustrations and stories like 'La Pista dei Quattro', 'Ivanhoé', 'I Cinque della Selena' and 'Cinque su Marte'. From 1968, he was also present in Linus with comic adaptations of novels by Herman Melville, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Guy de Maupassant.

Starting in 1974, he produced comic biographies of saints and other religious prominent figures together with his wife Laura in Il Messagero dei Ragazzi. He illustrated several episodes in the Bonelli collection 'Un Uomo un'Avventura', as well as 'L'Histoire de France en Bande Dessinée'. In 1983, Battaglia created 'L'Ispettore Coke' for the publisher Isola Trovata, which was interrupted due to the artist's death the same year on October, 4 1983 in Italy.

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