Monday, December 11, 2017

European Western Comic Books ~ Avventure

Avventure was a monthly comic book published in Genoa by Edizioni Avventure and published Giovanni De Leo. Various western adventures were written by J.B. O’Selly (Gian Luigi Bonelli), John Little (Giovanni De Leo), Renzo Barbieri and William Donald the author of Red Killer. Black & White illustrations were drawn by Alvaro Mairani, Aldo Profumo, Epar, A. Todarello, Fergal (Gallieno Ferri). Covers were drawn by Almay (Alvaro Mairani) and Aldo Profumo. Issue 13 saw the name of the comic changed to Far West Adventures.

16 issues were printed from October 30, 1948 until July 1950. Each issue contained 48 pages on 13x21 sized paper.

Artist Alvaro Mairani Vicini was born in Milan, Lombardy, Italy on May 15, 1913. At the end of his primary studies, Alvaro attended the Academy of Bergamo, distinguishing himself among Brignoli's students, and then L'Accademia dell'Arte Applied of the Castello di Milano. His first job was as a draftsman at the Chromographic Workshops, but soon he was hired by the Italian Touring Club with the task of creating topographic maps, designing a wide range of company brands and collaborating with the Club's official magazine, "Le Vie del World". Between 1939 and 1940 he drew covers for "Il Mattino Illustrato".

At the end of the Second World War, Mairani acquired a good reputation in the artistic milieu of the Lombardy capital, where he was active on several fronts: drawing short novels for the female weekly LUNA PARK, published by Rizzoli, covers for POKER, a periodical created by the writer Gian Luigi Bonelli, and a large number of scholastic books on behalf of a small Bergamo publishing house.

The relationship of friendship established with Bonelli led him to get in touch with the French publisher and designer Pierre Mouchott, who hired him to design the first covers of the FANTAX and the ROBIN HOOD, series between 1947 and 1948 which was published in Italy by Giovanni De Leo. Together with colleagues Nadir Quinto and Giulio Ferrari, Mairani collaborated in 1946 on FESTIVAL, a magazine designed for a female audience edited by Vitagliano in the wake of the great success of GRAND HOTEL (Casa Editrice Universo) and, also for the same publisher, at ALBI FESTIVAL, publishing romantic stories in halftone. Mairani draws in particular the issues 1/4, 6 and 10/11 of this publication.

In May 1947, Vincenzo Baggioli's Editorial Sportiva (journalist, editor and screenwriter of DICK FULMINE, the hero of the Italian popular comic) publishes The SUPER-ALBO, a series of six horizontal giant books that, on a monthly basis, present exotic adventures of Maor king of Sidi Omar and of the future Evy. Mairani draws the first of the five with a unique pictorial technique.

In 1949 Alvaro Mairani replaces Averardo Ciriello and Guido Fantoni on the pages of INTREPIDO: the Cino brothers and Domenico Del Duca publishing house entrusts him with the creation of the comic book "Prince Charming", to be realized with the technique of watercolor on for the illustrated novels of the aforementioned Grand Hotel. From number 39 to number 48 the Intrepid the Milanese designer completes the old saga and, starting from number 49, begins to illustrate the new, entitled "The Ideal Knight", among the most beautiful ever made by Mairani, thanks also to the fact that the screenplays adapted perfectly to his dynamic but soft style.

Also in 1949, on the first 26 issues of the weekly SALGARI, appears the comic "Red Bill Against the Atomic", written by the director Giusto Vaglieri. This story, which in 1975 will be represented in the Salgarian series published by the Cartoon Museum, is the only one ever made in black and white by Mairani - which for the occasion uses the alias Almay, previously used to sign pink weekly covers. Around 1951, pressed by many commitments and with the advent of the booklet format for INTREPIDO and IL MONELLO, Mairani sold RED BILL to Aldo Torchio, who in turn gradually left it in the hands of Gino Pallotti.

A tireless worker, while simultaneously producing covers for Intrepido, Il Monello and for ALBI DELL'INTREPIDO, to cope with the heavy workloads, Mairani is helped by Walter Molino. The designer, who previously signed an exclusive contract with the editorial group of "Corriere della Sera", draws the halftone tables for the Universe as Symes or Sten. A few years later, the Universe succeeds in securing the rights of the prestigious Molino, which is added to those of the likes of Aurelio Galleppini, Erio Nicolò, Carlo and Vittorio Cossio.

On the pages of Intrepido, are the typically used halftone Molino, Mairani prefers the watercolor technique of publishing artists such as Aldo Raimondi or Fortunino Matania. Between 1952 and 1953 Mairani worked again in France: he arrived at the newspaper "Radar", in which he substituted for the designer Rino Ferrari.

In 1963, when the collaboration with the Universe was over, Alvaro Mairani restructured the premises of a stationery shop in via Moscova in Milan and opened a studio in which he collected a vast iconographic documentation and made it available to professional designers who often need to check the exactness of a weapon, a uniform or any other object they must portray. The experiment, however, does not receive the desired success and after about six months the illustrator is forced to close.

In the Sixties Mairani made some covers for GLI ALBI DEL GRANDE BLEK (among which number 20, was also published in the French edition of "Kiwi") and others of the COLLECTION OF THE PRATERIA series of Grande Blek (including numbers 12, 13 and 15).

Subsequently, the Milanese designer returns to focus mainly on illustrations: from volumes for La Sorgente editions to the didactic covers for "La Domenica dei Ragazzi" (1965). His publishing adventure ended three years later, in 1968, with western illustrations for the GIROTONDO series. Starting from this moment, perhaps also because of the conflicting relationships with the comic book publishers for which he has worked, Mairani dedicates himself with discrete results exclusively to his great passion, painting. His paintings, in particular watercolors and oils depicting the Milan of the Thirties, still enjoy good reviews.

Alvaro Mairani Vicini died in Treviglio in 1997.

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