Mario Uggeri

Detail from Uggeri's Buffalo Bill. Comet Weekly No. 540, 22 Nov 1958.

Designer, painter, sculptor and artist, Mario Uggeri was born in Codogno (near Milan) on February 17th 1924. All his life he was in love with nature, and in particular horses, a subject that he has often painted.

He attended the Art School at Cremona, winning a national award for art in 1939. When war broke out Uggeri became an Italian partisan and was active in various anti-German activities. Finally caught by the Nazis in 1943, he was sent to Dachau concentration camp.

His first published work appeared in the magazine Il Romanzo dei Regazzi in 1946 - a strip called Rage l'invisibile in October and another called Bill Terremoto in December. Various work followed for magazines such as Milano Sera, Ipnos, and Incanto. Uggeri started what would become a long association with the western genre with his first western called Rocky Rider published in the comic Intrepido (1949).

In 1950 he created another western strip called Red Carson, inspired by the Casey Ruggles strip of Warren Tufts. For Tea Bonelli (one of the founders of the Bonelli publishing dynasty, most often called Miss Tea), he created various colour covers for the magazine La Collana il Ragno d'Oro. The Rocky Rider strip was so well received that he continued working on it for another three years, plus creating another western called Yuma Kid.

In 1954 Uggeri started working via the D'Ami studios for the English market, whilst still continuing his un-interupted Italian output. For Fleetway he was mostly drawing covers and stories for various Love Picture Libraries. Later he went on to draw Rodney Flood for Junior Express Weekly in 1955 (issues 42-86 between 9th July 1955-12th March 1956).

In 1957 he moved to London where he worked for the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Express and later worked again for Fleetway where he drew an episode of Kit Carson for Cowboy Picture Library (No. 269 - Kit Carson and the Cheyenne Guns, which was reprinted in Italy as I Fucili dei Cheynnes in issue 99 of Super West in 1958). He also drew several episodes of Buffalo Bill for Comet (including issues 540 and 542) between 18th October 1958 to 19th September 1959.

In 1959 the Italian comic Il Corriere dei Piccoli started translating the Buffalo Bill strip (published by Fleetway the previous year), and they would continue to publish it until 1961.

Uggeri returned to Italy in early 1960 and continued to draw in many genres, but always returned to the western where he depicted Bonanza (from the TV show), Rin-Tin-Tin, Geronimo, Ribot- il cavallo miliardo, Smith & Wesson (inspired by the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and many others.

In 2004 the Province of Milan honoured Uggeri and his life-long friend Nadir Quinto simultaneously with the award of Spazi e colori della fantasia. He died in March 2004.


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