Monday, September 18, 2017

European Western Comic Books ~ Il Piccolo Ranger

Kit Teller is the son of Mary Worth and Moses Teller who emigrate from Wales looking for good fortune in the United States where, once they arrive, they go to the wild border territories in search of work. During this trip, on the border between Missouri and Illinois, Kit was born in 1861. Eight months after the birth of Kit, his mother dies and the little Kid gets sick. Saved by the Indians of the Red Bison tribe, Kit and his father remain for almost a year with the Indians and then leave again where his father enlists in the Rangers and sends Kit to a boarding school in the East.  Moses becomes a ranger and is promoted to commander and permission to allow Little Kit to live at the Fort waiting for the child to reach the age to attend college.

The Little Ranger series starts it run from this moment. Kit's father during a mission deserted and disappeared going to live with the Indians and for this reason is considered a traitor. The strong ranger would like to keep this fact from the small Kit, which nevertheless is still welcomed at the fort.  The Little Ranger lives his adventures on wild ground by facing outright, fierce Indians, but also witty reptiles, extraterrestrials, and medieval warriors who came from afar to the new world.  But at the end of each adventure, the young ranger finds his friends among the reassuring walls of the Ranger's Fort. Among them are his girlfriend Claretta Morning, the mother-in-law of the strong Rosa Morning, mother of Claretta, the scout Brandy Jim, the Chinese chef and launderette Cin Lao, sergeant O'Hara, Denti Bill, Frankie Bellevan, Annie Quattropistole and Ibrahim Bamboula.

Il Piccolo Ranger (i.e. "The Little Ranger") was created by writer Andrea Lavezzolo in tandem with illustrator Francesco Gamba and later developed by numerous authors.

A traditional western series addressed to a young audience, it debuted in 1958 and was published until 1985. Until 1963, Il Piccolo Ranger comic books also featured in their appendix episodic stories featuring other characters, including works by Hugo Pratt, Guido Nolitta and Dino Battaglia. It was released fortnightly until 1971, then monthly until its cancellation. Between 1995-1996 a collection series in 13 paperback volumes was published in a limited edition by Editrice Dardo.

Andrea Lavezzolo was boprn on December 12, 1905 in Paris, France and was an Italian novelist and short story writer who created and wrote many prominent Italian comics of the 1940s and 1950s.

Lavezzolo was born in Paris to Italian parents. The family returned to Italy when he was eight years old and settled in Chiavari near Genoa. Having left school early to help support his family, he worked in a variety of jobs in his youth, including as an employee of an insurance company, but at the same time began writing short stories and poems for various Italian magazines. He also wrote short novels such L'idolo cinese published by Sonzogno in 1936, and children's books published by Carroccio such as Il mantello magico in 1934 and Le tre Pepite in 1939. Lavezzolo started writing for the weekly comics magazine Albogiornale Juventus with "La città delle tenebre" in 1939 and in the early 1940s worked on the scenarios and text for the comic book series Dick Fulmine. He went on to create a series of comic books and characters which included Gim Toro in 1946 (his first major success), Tony Falco in 1948, Geky Dor in 1949, Kinowa in 1950 and Il Piccolo Ranger in 1958.

In the mid-1950s Lavezzolo began working for the newspaper Il Giorno on the recommendation of Cino Del Duca having previously worked on Del Duca's magazines Il Monello and Intrepido, both of which were aimed at children and teenagers. In 1957 he became the editor of the paper's weekly young people's supplement Il Giorno dei Ragazzi and remained in that post until 1966. In his later years he wrote essays and articles on Italian comics for the magazines Sergeant Kirk and Il Fumetto and in 1975 was made Honorary President of the Associazione Nazionale Amici del Fumetto.

Lavezzolo died in Chiavari on November 16, 1981 at the age of 75. His obituary in Il Secolo XIX was written by Lavezzolo himself when he was already gravely ill. It began:

Due to unavoidable commitments, but without much regret, the writer Andrea Lavezzolo says goodbye to family, relatives, friends and readers.

A street in Rome is named in his honour—Via Andrea Lavezzolo in the Torrino Mezzocammino quarter. One of the city's newest areas (building began in 2005), Torrino Mezzocammino has streets, piazzas and even schools named for the characters, writers, and artists of Italian comics.

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