Rinaldo (Roy D'Ami) Dami


Click on a link beneath to read reminiscences of Ronaldo Dami by those that worked with him.

Trevisan remembers ..
Casseli remembers ...

Taken prisoner by the British in North Africa in March 1943, Rinaldo Dami was sent to an internment camp in Algeria, and then later to the island of Malta, where he acted as an interpreter between his fellow prisoners and the British army.

An extrovert with a vulcanic personality, Rinaldo Dami was born in Cismon del Grappa (Vincenza, Italy) on August 29th 1923. As with many Italian artists he not only drew for comics but also produced his own scripts, many of which were very innovative for the time. His first work on returning to Milan in 1947 was drawing an animated filmstrip called I Fratelli Dinamite, this was followed by whatever art work he could find.

D'Ami's Gordon Jim (1952), an exciting and well drawn drama of the early USA.

In 1948 he found work at the publishing firm Cremona Nuova for whom he drew Blek e Gionni (text by A. Saccarello), Dixy Scott, and il Oiccolo Sergente in a Caniffian style - naturally elegant with quick and accurate outlines. His best work was probably for Audace during the early 1950's where he worked on both scripts and drawings for many western characters such as Mani in Alto, Gordon Jim (1952), Il Sergente York (1953), Cherry Brandy, La Pattuglia dei Bufali, Il Ritorno dei Tre Bill (1949), Rio Kid (1951 - with Bonelli scripts) and Pecos Bill (text by Martina). Between 1954 and 1957, he created a number of strips for Corriere dei Piccoli: notably the humorous strip series' Scuterino (later re-published with new D'Ami scripts by Fleetway as Little Scooty in Jack and Jill), Hayawatha and Piccolo Bisonte.

It was around 1954 that Dami came up with the idea of starting his own art agency. Along with his brother Piero, who provided the capital for the venture, Rinaldo was establishing contacts in the publishing industry not only in Italy, but in France and England. The agency was called Studio Creazioni D'Ami - using the anglised version of his name. In 1954 he was joined by artist Mario Uggeri who was working with him on various strips destined for the UK market (both for Fleetway and D.C. Thompson) mostly, but not exclusively, war comics. The agency soon became the most prestigious in Italy for creative talent, including such names as, Gino D'Antonio, Ruggero Giovannini, Ferdinando Tacconi, Sergio Tarquinio, Sergio Asteriti, Enrico Bagnoli, Dino Battaglia, Franco Bignotti, Renzo Calegari, Antonio Canale, Leone Caimpellin, Aldo Di Gennaro, Giorgio De Gaspari, Nadir Quinto, Sergio Tuis, Franco Tarantola and many others.

Of that period Uggeri remembers:

Little Scooty written by D'Ami drawn by Lupatelli. Jack & Jill Annual 1958.

The period I passed working in the D'Ami Studio [Note: This was 1954 to 1957. Uggeri went to London in 1957 to work directly for Fleetway.] will always be a loving memory. It was a true friendship forged between young artists and here I met again, after many years, my beloved friend Sergio Tarquinio, who had just returned from Argentina and that I had not seen from our school days. How many memories! After the job, with Tarquinio and others, we often went with D'Ami himself, to restaurants, and ate pizzas and carbonarra. For D' Ami I worked on many things, creating comic strips and book illustrations and always in great harmony.

Although by the end of the 1950's D'Ami had established a most prestigious agency and clientelle, including the French publisher LUG, this did not prevent him from taking on work for himself directly. He would make frequent trips to London, Paris and Munich to commission the work and then return to Milan to finish it. At the end of the fifties D'Ami was working for Fleetway on scripts for the Jack and Jill Annual 1958 for which he also drew the cover. He also scripted Little Scooty, based on his Scuterino strips for Corriere dei Piccoli, in the same year, which were drawn by Lupatelli. He drew for War Picture Library (106 - Role of Honour, 229- Trail of the Avenger, 269-Ghost Platoon) and Battle Picture Library (27-Death and Glory, 96-The Fire Eaters, 165-The Desert Scourge).

Piero Dami's Eurostudio business card, circa 1966, proudly boasts his association with Fleetway, as well as the Belgian publishers Dupuis.

In 1960 a rift appeared between the brothers D'Ami/Dami, and some of the English work dried up, forcing some of the artists employed by the Agency to seek work elsewhere. Brother Piero went on to found another art agency called Eurostudio, also based in Milan.

By the mid-1960's Rinaldo D'Ami's interests turned from the military that he so liked depicting, to natural history. This coincided at a time when comic strip work was on the decline, whilst book illustrating was on the up, and many of his former employees had left to further their careers in London or Paris, or taken full-time jobs with various Italian publishers. D'Ami decided that the time was ripe to go into publishing himself and the agency name changed to Produzioni Editoriali Dami - a publishing house. His first major work was Cosa fanno gli Animali (What animals do), and this was shortly followed by a 22 volume illustrated encyclopedia of animals - Guarda e Scopri gli Animali (Watch and Discover Animals).

Roy D'Ami died in Milan on 14th February 1979, but this is not quite the end of the story for Dami Editoriali International lives on, run by his brother Piero and his nephew Andrea Dami.

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