Gino D' Antonio

Splash page from D'Antonio's Ironside: Trouble Shooter (Fleetway's Front Line Picture Library No. 4 - 1967). Original board.

Luigi (Gino) D' Antonio, writer and artist, was born in Milan on March 16, 1927. He began his career almost by chance. In the mid-forties, he was the neighbor of Mario Oriani (a writer on Corriere dei Ragazzi) who helped him to start his career as author and artist. D'Antonio was always passionate about drawing, and began his career on Jess Dakota, (Joe Dakota in France) at Della Casa publishers, in a style obviously inspired by Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon.

In 1950, he became acquainted with Mario Leone and drew the series Angeli della strada (based on Leone's story). From 1951 to 1957, he collaborated on the magazine Il Vittorioso. In 1952 he began his most famous series, Pecos Bill, a western series created by Guido Martina and Raffaele Paparella. In 1954, he drew many illustrations for the weekly magazine Domenica del Corriere and some episodes of the second series of El Kid, another western, based on stories by Gianluigi Bonelli (published by Audace (the first incarnation of Sergio Bonelli Editore)). In 1955-56, still for Audacity and with Bonelli, he drew some episodes of I Tre Bill and also contributed toWestern, a review published by Dardo.

In 1955 he became acquainted with Rinaldo D'Ami who headed his own studio with a team of artists who worked for the English market. Within the D'Ami studio, D'Antonio illustrated dozens of stories for Junior Mirror, Junior Express, Top Spot, Thriller Picture Library (Battler Britton Target Berlin - 1958), Cowboy Picture Library (Gun Rule - 1962), Fleetway Super Library and War Picture Library, and drew covers for Eagle and Boys World. He also drew adaptations for traditional literature (Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, Moby Dick, Quo Vadis, Tale of Two Cities, The Odysee) for Tell me Why and World of Wonder. These latter being colour illustrations which he had not attempted before. For a complete checklist of D'Antionio's UK work, click here.

In 1966 he created Il storia del West (History of the West) for Italian publisher Bonelli (which was still called Araldo at this time). To find out more about this series click here.

In 1970, he started his collaboration with Il Giornalino working with texts by Alberto Ongaro, and drew episodes of Jim Lacy, the short history of Il Soldato Casciella, created the character of Susanna (for which he wrote all the episodes and collaborated on the drawings with his friends Renato Polese and Ferdinando Tacconi). His final project for this year was to finish the adaptation of Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island started by Franco Caprioli, a project that was halted due to the death of the author.

In 1971 Storia del West won the Three Days prize, and in 1974 the ANAF prize, at the International Show of Comics.

In 1976, he both wrote and drew Uomo dello Zululand, the second volume of the collection of hard-bound albums A Uomo un' will avventura, (A Man, an Adventure, which appeared in the French Mon Journal in a larger size) published by Cepim (another incarnation of Bonelli). In 1977 and 1978, he received the ANAF prize for "Best Italian Story Writer".

D'Antonio also wrote and drew all the episodes of the war series Il mercenario. In 1980, at the International Exhibition of Comics at Rapallo, he received the prize for the Best Story Writer. In 1983, he drew, in alternation with Tacconi, the covers of Full, the first Italian experimental comic (quickly abandoned) by Bonelli.

In 1984-85, D'Antonio's new series, a western entitled Bella & Bronco, launched (it appeared in El Bravo in France). The episodes were only 64 pages in length, but in a format slightly larger than traditional Bonelli size (23.5x16.5cm). The originality for this series stemmed from the fact that the heroes were women, which is rather rare as regards westerns. In 1986, D'Antonio turned his hand to another popular Italian series Orient Express, where he created the character Mac lo Straniero with drawings by Tacconi. He drew three episodes in this series: Il lungo viaggio, Verdi Campi di Fiandra and Ultimo atto. In 1986 he created Uomini senza Gloria (Men without Glory), a large historical fresco on the Second World War. In 1987, he became comics editor of the newspaper Il Giornalino, a position which he relinquished in 1992.

In 1989, he wrote a script for Nick Raider, the new Bonelli character created by Claudio Nizzi. Since then he has written many episodes for this series.

In 1996, at the International Show of Comics at Lucca, he received the title of "Master of the Comics" for his life time's achievement in comics. In 1999, he worked on the new Bonelli series: Julia as a writer with illustrations by Giancarlo Berardi.

This website is
© Kerschner & Taylor
Last updated :