Angelo Todaro

Original Todaro artwork from Tiger.

Angelo R. Todaro was born in the Province of Taranto (Italy) in 1945, and attended the Artistic High School in Rome at the beginning of the 1960s.

In 1964 he entered the world of cartooning, drawing for a local editor on the title Gordon Schott, this was along the same lines as the Italian comic strip Diabolik: later he drew Alika, a satirical science fiction comic strip.

In 1967 Todaro started collaborating with Fratelli Spada Editori, a publisher from Ciampino near Rome. For this publishing house he primarily drew strips of Mandrake the Magician because in Italy there was not a sufficient number of editions to meet the demand for this hugely popular series. In the following two years he drew a large number of episodes of Mandrake as well as a few books of L’Uomo Mascherato (akaThe Phantom) and a few episodes of Alex Raymond’s character Rip Kirby which Todaro signed with the pseudonym "Al Todd".

During this period he was contacted by Studio Giolitti, an art agency based in Rome. Alberto Giolitti, a renowned artist, had started drawing important comic strips, first in South America and later in the U.S.A. and these were also edited and distributed in Italy. Giolitti was well known in the field for his original and decisive style. At the beginning of the 1960’s Giolitti returned to Rome and opened his agency thanks to the contacts he had made in the United States.

Giolitti noticed the strips being produced by Todaro and asked him to work for his agency:

"I remember that encounter very well for it changed my life. I met him [Giolitti] in Via Cutigliano in Rome and to crown our future collaboration he offered me a shot of whiskey. That was the first whiskey of my life, I was very young.

I had been drawing American comics for several years and was inspired by the great Alex Raymond and Frank Robbins for different reasons. Alex was a pro at portraits and outlines and Frank a pro at chiaroscuro. During that period I purchased other American comic books on Via Veneto in Rome and also the Herald Tribune for its comic strips by John Prentice (Rip Kirby) as well as other artists. Among the books I bought were some that I particularly liked, but they were not signed, for example, Turok, son of Stone. This character I particularly liked for it was drawn in a new and different way. The characters were beautifully and particularly detailed and the landscape had great detail as well. Imagine how surprised I was to learn that the artist was Alberto Giolitti himself.

One day I happened upon some western comics printed several years earlier in a style very similar to the style found in Turok. These were Gunsmoke and Have Gun, Will Travel. I immediately showed them to Alberto and asked if he had drawn them. He answered “Yes, they are mine, I drew them while in the States” and pulled out of his closet various comic books of various types all drawn by him while in the United States. It was at that precise moment that I understood exactly who Alberto Giolitti was.

The first work I did for Alberto was FBI Stories, Lasso and Buffalo Bill for Bastei Editor in Kohl, Germany.

Original Todaro artwork from Action (Coffin Sub) .

A few years later, Alberto offered me the job with Fleetway (practically a type of a promotion), and so I drew war stories, these were also printed in Italy under the name Collana Eroica. Over the coming years I drew for Fleetway's Tiger Comic, various stories with a sports theme, for example Martin’s Marvelous Mini, a series about two young friends who run road races with a Mini Morris.

One day Alberto called me over to his studio and showed me some objects that had just arrived from the States, from Western Publishing: there was a box with a model space ship, the Enterprise, and other science fiction objects.

«Angelo, you have to help me – he said – you have to assemble this model…».
«What is it?» I asked.
«The Star Trek spaceship. Assemble it…».

Alberto also knew my hobby was assembling models and how I loved it.

Alberto had been drawing the Star Trek comic books for years, which were the adaptation of the very popular television series. He had been drawing these comics without having seen a single show, just with the pictures that the editor had sent him. Now, the models had arrived which in the States were in every toy store.

But Alberto had other plans - he needed me to help him draw Star Trek. He wanted me to draw it in pencil and he would have redone it in ink. I took pictures of the Enterprise model from every angle and went even further. From the pictures that Alberto had given me, I created the model of the inside of the circular command station so that I could take a picture from every angle to be drawn in order to cover all the action places.

Later Alberto asked me to do the pencil work for Turok. So, for these two works [Turok and Star Trek] I drew in pencil various strips that were later inked by Giolitti and other artists.

However, doing the pencil drawing of Star Trek and Turok gave me the opportunity of getting to know Alberto better and to create a tighter friendship with him. I also started to spend time at his house where he lived with Joan, his wife and two children, and then also in Santa Marinella, which is a beach resort near Rome, when he later went to live there with Nicole, whom he had married after Joan had passed away.

Ours was a long lasting and consolidated friendship that also gave me the possibility of traveling with him and also go sailing with him. He loved sailing.

Even after I moved to Taranto, in the south of Italy, and got married I returned often to Rome to see Alberto and his wife and would stay at his house. I continued to work for the Studio Giolitti until the end."

At the same time as Todaro was drawing for the foreign markets via Giolitti, he was also producing for the Italian market a series of comic books for the publisher Editors Ediperiodici, signing them with the pseudonym "Paul Bennett". From the 1970s through to the 1990s Todaro drew for various horror type comics such as Oltretomba, Terror, Terror Blu and other comics of this genre.

Since the passing of Alberto Giolitti, Todaro has worked on many projects, such as strips for tourist magazines on themes concerning the environment, sports, history and fantasy.

He is also the author of various well researched historical non-fiction books such as Hitler, the Prelude; Total Weapon (a journalistic narrative taken from documents only recently declassified, and from the testimonies of the protagonists in the story of the race for the atomic bomb from 1938 to its conclusion in 1945) , Tobruk, El Alamein, and Rommel and the Italians in North Africa.

Presently he is engaged in writing and illustrating Taras, the history of Taranto and Rome at the time of Magna Grecia, this details the birth and development of these two great cities of the past, one Greek and the other Latin.

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