Sergio Asteriti

Probably Asteriti's best known character, Freddy Frog from Jack and Jill.
A perennial favourite - Jack and Jill from the weekly comic of the same name.

Sergio Asteriti was born on 13 February 1930 in Venice. After leaving school, he gained a Masters of Art, specialising in publicity work.

Of his early life in Venice he says, "In my wonderful city everyone knows everyone. In short it is provincial in its habits, and consequently more open to human relationships. I and my friends Trevisan and Frollo, authors and collectors first and great artists of adventure comic strips second, often went to find Bellavitis, the artist that drew Robin Hood. He introduced us to Faustinelli, Ongaro and Hugo Pratt. I have wonderful memories of that time".

In 1952 Asteriti moved to work to Milan, where he found work with an advertsing agency S.P.I.N.T.A. However, a couple of years later the company faced bankrupcy and he found himself, in 1954, practically without a job. At this period Italy was still at the beginning of its own comic industry: they were difficult times.

Asteriti says, "I did not want to surrender to the evidence of the facts: I have always been ambitious and I refused the idea of returning defeated to Venice! I took a job drawing cinema posters and drew the actors that were in vogue at the moment. But my heart was for comics, so I began to contact various publishers, with a folder of drawings under my arm". He was taken on by Caregaro of the Edizioni Alpes, who had gained a reputation for spotting young talent and who also gave Bottaro, Bagnoli, Buffolente, Rebuffi, and many others their first comic breaks. It was 1955 and Asteriti created several book illustrations, and comic strips, of which, unfortunately, he now has little memory. However, one stands out, that of Bingo Bongo. He had come to specialize in drawings and strips for young children, the kind he preferred to the realistic style which he found more difficulty to draw - in fact when called upon to do so he drew from photographs.

Like many another before and after him, Asteriti worked for the D'Ami studio which gave him the opportunity to work for the English market. Asteriti recalls that:

"It was a happy and profitable period. I had the opportunity to know Mario Uggeri, D'Antonio, De Gaspari, Battaglia, Nadir Quinto, who like me, worked for Fleetway. I produced stories for the weekly magazines Now I Know and Jack and Jill on the strips Fun in Toyland and Freddy Frog, often in collaboration with Antonio Lupatelli, whom I consider to be my master. He has always been a brilliant illustrator of fables, unfortunately little known in Italy".

In 1963 he started drawing his best remembered strip Topolino (Mickey Mouse) for Mondadoriano Disney. His first adventure of Topolino and Company was published in issue 420 of the 1963 edition of Topolino Weekly magazine. Initially an irregular collaborator to the comic, he had so many story ideas that he was eventually given the strip full time. And is still working on it today.

Asteriti says, "Topolino I consider to be the best friend of my infancy: I had grown up with him. Only now I am old, while he has remained young and healthy, without ever having had a cold!!!".

Asteriti is also a collector of original comic artwork, and has an extensive collection by various artists.

"They are the works of my favourite artists, whose styles I love. I have re-sold all my collection of Il Giorno dei Regazzi in order to buy a quantity of Hampson's Dan Dare boards. I do not collect for the subjective value of the piece, I hold only that that deserves reverence".

The other most important part of his life Asteriti considers to be his marriage with his wife Grace, in December 1959.

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