Monday, November 27, 2017

European Western Comic Books ~ Ringo

European Western Comic Books ~ Ringo

Ringo was another drifting cowboy gunman whose adventures appeared in the last three editions of Top Spot (January 2nd, 9th and 16th 1960).

Top Spot was favorite British AP magazine. It was an experiment to capture the 16 - 17 year old school aged market in the same way that Valentine had become the top selling magazine for teenage girls. It featured articles on fashion, boxing and jazz alongside pin-ups of Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, as well as various fiction and non-fiction text stories, and some great swashbuckling, gun blazing strips.

Size wise, it was larger than the normal run of the mill comic - about the size of Weekend or Tit-Bits, and produced on the usual poor quality paper. A young man called Brian Woodford, hitherto an office junior on such AP titles as Playhour, Jack and Jill, Sun and Comet was at the helm of this title until it folded.

Top Spot's publishing period was blighted by the 1959 printing industry strike that plunged Britain back into an agrarian black hole for six weeks that summer - many comic and magazine titles did not survive this set back, and although Top Spot struggled on with a slightly different format it was eventually merged with Film Fun in January 1960.

The three Ringo stories were released in Belgium as full comics with two in 1981 and the third in 1983.

Arturo Pérez Del Castillo was born in Concepcion, Chile1925 August 25, . He started working for an advertising agency, but eventually joined his brother Jorge Perez del Castillo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1948. He got a job as a letterer and illustrator with Editorial Columba and its magazine Aventuras, and remained affiliated with the publisher until the mid-1950s. He did his first work for for the comic weekly Aventuras, and a year later, he also created comic strips for the magazines Intervalo and El Tony. He quickly became famous for his skillful and detailed pen work, mainly for western comics.

Del Castillo's most famous work is the Hector Oesterheld scripted 'Randall: the Killer' series, that commenced publication in Hora Cero in 1957. Del Castillo refined his graphic style even further and other important works followed. He joined the Italian agency of Rinaldo Dami and from the late 1950s throughout the 1960s. He mainly worked for the British publisher Fleetway, starting with a number of comic strip adaptations of Alexandre Dumas novels, including 'The Three Musketeers' and 'The Man in the Iron Mask'.

Also for Britain, he drew western stories in Top Spot ('Ringo') and Ranger ('Dan Dakota - Lone Gun') and also for the Cowboy Picture Library. 'Ringo' was one of his longest running serials, that he created in cooperation with Oesterheld between 1968 and 1974. His western stories also appeared in France in the pocket-sized comic books published by Arédit and Sagédition, and in Holland in the comic magazine Sjors.

Also through Dami was the western series 'Garret' with scriptwriter Ray Collins (Eugenio Zappietro), that was published in Argentina in Misterix by Editorial Abril in 1962. Other westerns were 'Ralph Kendall', 'Larrigan' and 'Los tres Mosqueteros en El Oeste', that were published in Italian magazines like Corriere dei Piccoli. In the second half of the 1970s, Del Castillo was present in the Argentine magazine Skorpio by Editorial Record with his series 'El Cobra' (a restart of 'Garret') and 'Loco Sexton', the latter again with Oesterheld. Additionally, he made short-lived series or oneshot stories with writers like Alfredo Grassi, Guillermo Saccomano ('Comanchero'), Walter Slavich ('Bannof') and Mazzitelli.

He worked for the publications of Editorial Columba, such as El Tony, D'Artagnan and Fantasía, until his retirement in 1989. Among his new creations were 'Bannister' with Ray Collins in El Tony in 1981. Arturo Del Castillo died in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 5, 1992.

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