Carlos Pino


Carlos Pino Ro-Busters artwork for Starlord

Born in Madrid on 7th September 1940, the artist Carlos Pino was almost completely self-taught: he began to draw comic strips at the end of the Fifties. His early work was aimed at the Spanish market, and highly influenced by the work of the Blasco brothers and Portuguese artist E.T. Coelho whose work was often seen in Cutos and Chicos.

With two friends, Juan Manuel Cicuéndez (a comic artist) and Almusán (an architect), he opened a small agency (Sagitario) with the intention of publishing a comic in Spain based on material being sent to him by Longacre (then owner of Eagle). This material included original boards by Hampson and Bellamy including many Dan Dare boards. Although they wanted to call the comic Eagle, for copyright reasons they could not: it was published later by Rollán as Toucan. Up to 1966 only eight issues had been published.

In the early Sixties Pino formed a fruitful alliance with the author Vicente Alcázar, that would last many years. Together, under the acronym CARVIC, they drew a multitude of war comic strips, first for Chío, and then for the English market, through various Spanish agencies, but mainly directly working for the French publishers (drawing Copland and Nick Carter for Aredit) or the British Temple Arts agency.

In 1965 Fleetway editor Edward (Ted) Bensberg arrived in Spain looking for artists to draw war strips for his Air Ace and War Picture Library comics, and he met Alcázar and Pino. Carlos recalls: "They gave me a series that was called "Red Berets", [anyone know what this was? - Steve] and told me that it was for the French market, but I believe that it was for the English market. I was earning then in Spain 10,000 pts, already you see, when working directly for England I received 25,000 pts as a minimum: but that was for 62 or 63 boards. As I was about to get married I happily accepted. It was a good money, but frankly I did it badly and they only gave 3 or 4 stories to me."

After a couple of years the friends went to London to convince Ted Bensberg that they could now do better. Of that time Pino says: "The best sketchers were the foreigners, the English were of regular quality, the Italians were very good, Tacconi, D'Antonio, Toppi, and the Spaniards, like Ramón and Víctor de la Fuente, Quesada and others of Barcelona, were illustrators of very good quality."

Strangely all their work was completed in Spain and sent to England - it was only in exceptional cases, such as a postal strike, that the two friends would have to visit England. During this time work in England was so plentiful that they had also secured work on TV 21, drawing episodes of Department S and Star Trek.

By 1974 the two friends were also drawing comic books for the American market, through the author and at that time publisher Gray Morrow, which were mainly publishing by Archie and Charlton. Whilst in the States Alcázar and Pino met artist Neal Adams and obtained some orders for Warren and Marvel. However, it was Alcázar that continued working for the Americans, [ he went on to contribute to: Madhouse, Sorcery, Doorway to Nightmare, House of Secrets, Ironwolf, Jonah Hex, Plop, Star Spangled War Stories, The Vigilante, Weird War, Heavy Metal, Crazy, Dracula, Epic Illustrated, Haunt of Horror, Kull, Monsters Unleashed, Moon Knight, Planet of the Apes, Creatures on the Loose, Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction, Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella etc.] whereas Pino returned to the prolific British market, working again for the Fleetway publishing house on Battle Picture Weekly (Johnny Red), 2000 A.D., Starlord, Adventure, Speed, Mask, Battle Action Force (SIS - The Hunters) etc. drawing mainly war strips and science fiction during the Seventies and Eighties.

During the crisis of the British market during the Eighties, Pino found new work north of the border for D.C. Thompson illustrating such comics as Victor and the long running Commando.

Asked if he had any special memories of the other artists that he worked with during his long career, Carlos said: "Many memories of Massimo Belardinelli, Cam Kennedy, Ezquerra, and of Bernet, that drew for Battle Action, also of Carmona, Redondo, Azpiri, John Cooper, Joe Colquhoun, Geoff Campion, Vanyo, Jim Watson… but, mainly, of Frank Bellamy, who was exceptional."


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