Monday, August 8, 2016

European Western Comic Books ~ Vartan

Vartan is an Italian comic book created and drawn by Sandro Angiolini, and 200 issues were published between October 1969 and May 1977 by Furio Viano. An attempt to relaunch the publication in 1980 lasted only six issues. The comic book featured the erotic adventures of its heroine, described as "The White Indian", in a classic western setting. The title character's name and features were loosely inspired by French singer and actress Sylvie Vartan, at the time quite popular in Italy thanks to a number of hit records and television appearances.

Vartan is one of many such characters from the Italian fumetti tradition. Other female figures from the same era, and with similarly erotic preoccupations, include Zora la Vampira, Maghella, Biancaneve, Lucifera, Jacula, Yra, Jolanda de Almaviva, and Sukia.

Sandro Angiolini was born in Milan, Italy on June 6, 1920 and was an Italian comics creator. He began his comics career in the 1940s, drawing cartoons and illustrations for some newspapers and magazines. He also took part in the creation of the animated film 'La Rosa di Bagdad', and drew comics for magazines like Incanto, Luna Park and Festival. In the 1950s, Angiolini began a long collaboration with the publisher Dardo, drawing 'Chicchirichi' and other series for children, but also episodes of 'Capitan Miki', 'Il Grande Blek' and 'Jim Toro'. In 1966 he was the first to illustrate one of Italy's most important sexy comics, 'Isabella', written by Renzo Barbieri and Giorgio Cavedon. Later on he drew the adventures of the secret agent 'Goldrake'. He switched publishers in 1968 and joined Furio Viano, where he created 'Vartan', 'Una', 'Belzeba' and 'La Poliziotta'.

Amongst the group of Italian artists who created comic strips for adults between the 1960s and 1970s, (which had become increasingly pornographic by the eighties), the style of Sandro Angiolini stands out. This style originally owed much to Milton Caniff, one of his initial sources of inspiration, but followed a clear and marked line of development, parallel to the development of Italian fumetti, but unique. Characters are drawn in a sometimes simplistic fashion with an emphasis on essential features and strong expressions to complement and move the narration forward. A master of the feminine figure his illustrations always foreground women, from the young and attractive to the elderly, but always creating an atmosphere of sensuality. As a skilled artist he is able to transformed the most innocent situations, charging them with erotic power.

A prolific artist, he has created illustrations for the most varied types of publication, and in periods of most intense activity was known, with the help of some colleagues, to produce two pocket books full of art in a month, amounting to 460 panels in two stories.

Angiolini died on October 15, 1985 in his home town of Milan.

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