Giovanni Luigi BonelliThe late lamented Giovanni Luigi Bonelli, a prolific script, considered as the Patriarch of the Italian comic strip, will forever be remembered in connection with Tex Willer, a character created in 1948 for the publishing house L'Audace, the ancestor of the present-day Sergio Bonelli Editore. Giovanni Luigi Bonelli wrote the stories of all of the Tex adventures published until beyond the mid-1980s. Born on 22nd December 1908 in Milan, Giovanni Luigi Bonelli started by contributing a series of poems to the "Corriere dei Piccoli", followed by a few works that appeared in the "Giornale illustrato dei viaggi" published by Sonzogno. In the same period, he wrote three adventure novels: "Le Tigri dell'Atlantico", "Il Crociato Nero" and "I Fratelli del Silenzio". After these initial experiences, he entered into the comic strip world by supervising a series of journals and magazines on behalf of Lotario Vecchi, which were published by the Saev Press of Milan. His name appeared in "Primarosa", "L'Audace", "Rintintin" and "Jumbo" and between 1937 and 1939 he became the most important plot of "Il Vittorioso", a weekly publication. When "L'Audace" was taken over by Mondadori, Bonelli continued to work for this team until 1939, the year in which he became its publisher. After the war he resumed his activity by working for small presses until 1947. Then he undertook a joint project with Giovanni Di Leo, setting up a series of activities among which the expansion of the "Cow Boy" weekly and the translation of the French publications "Robin Hood" and "Fantax", produced by Pierre Mouchot's studio. In the meanwhile, in 1946, he wrote "La Perla Nera", a short tale illustrated by Franco Caprioli; followed in 1947 by "Ipnos" with artwork by Gino Cossio, Paolo Piffarerio, Guido Dapassano and Mario Uggeri.
1948 saw the advent of "Occhio Cupo" and Tex, both illustrated by Galleppini, and "Pattuglia dei senza paura" with artwork by Zamperoni and Donatelli. "Il giustiziere del West" was published in the same year and rendered graphically by Giorgio Scudellari. In 1949 Giovanni Bonelli wrote the short series "Plutos" for Leone Cimpellin; 1954 was the year of "Il Cavaliere Nero" illustrated by EsseGesse and "Yuma Kid", rendered by Mario Uggeri. One year later, "I tre Bill" was created, with three illustrators contributing, at different times, to the artwork, Giovanni Benvenuti, Gino D'Antonio, Roy D'Ami and Renzo Calegari. Also created in that same year was "El Kid", illustrated by Dino Battaglia, Gino D'Antonio and Renzo Calegari. "Davy Crockett" was created in 1956, with artwork by Renzo Calegari and Carlo Porciani. "Hondo", illustrated by Franco Bignotti and "Kociss" and illustrated by Emilio Uberti, dates from 1957. In 1962 Bonelli resumed and completed the long saga "Un ragazzo nel Far West", for which the subject was conceived by Nolitta. He continued to supervise the production of Tex until he passed away on 12 January 2001.
Aurelio Galleppini, also known as Galep, the graphic designer of this character and illustrator, was born in Casal di Pari (Grosseto) on 28th August 1917, of Sardinian parents. After spending most of his youth in Sardinia, he abandoned his studies in the second year of the "Istituto industriale" in order to take up drawing and painting, which he cultivated as a self-taught art.
When he was 18 years old some of his drawings appeared in animated cartoons created on behalf of a German factory, which produced two-stroke projectors. Galleppini's first drawings published in a periodical date from 1936: they were illustrated fairy tales destined to "Mondo Fanciullo". From 1937 till 1939 he contributed to "Modellina" with his first illustrated tales - "In terra straniera", "La prova dei coccodrilli", "All'ombra del tricolore", "Le avventure di Pulcino" (the latter a large colour album with a comic slant). He also designed some Covers for "Il Mattino Illustrato" and contributed the artwork for "Il segreto del motore" by Andrea Lavezzolo. During the same years he provided the artwork for two long comic-strip stories published by Mondadori, with scripts by Federico Pedrocchi: "Pino il mozzo" and "Le perle del mar d'Oman". In 1940, Galleppini moved to Florence where he started working with the publishing house Nerbini. Several comic strip stories came out in "L'Avventuroso", for some of which Galleppini also composed the scripts. However, the censorship and other absurd orders issued by the regime, which made a travesty of the content and form of comic-strip stories, prompted Galleppini to temporarily cease all activity in this field. During the immediate post-war period he devoted himself to painting (with noteworthy success), designing posters and teaching the art of drawing.
In 1947 he resumed his activity as an illustrator with a series of albums for "L'Intrepido", including: "Il clan dei vendicatori", "Il corsaro gentiluomo", "Il giustiziere invisibile", "La perla azzurra". Moreover, he illustrated books such as "I tre moschettieri", "La maschera di ferro", "Le mille e una notte", "Il barone di Münchhausen" and "Pinocchio" (the latter as a comic-strip). At the end of 1947, Galleppini established contact with the director of the "L'Audace" press, suggesting a resumption of his activity at L'Audace. He thus began to illustrate the fortnightly magazine "Occhio Cupo" and the weekly issue "Tex", the scripts for which were written by Giovanni Luigi Bonelli. Tex marked a turning point in the artistic activity of Aurelio Galleppini, who thereafter devoted himself body and soul to this publication, except for brief and exceptional pauses such as the tale "L'Uomo del Texas", which was created in 1977 with a script by Guido Nolitta for the series "Un Uomo, un'Avventura". Galep created all the artwork for the Tex stories single-handedly for a good many years, until the enormous expansion of the publication called for the assistance of other illustrators. However, he designed all the Covers of the series right up to issue number 400. A devotion (indeed, virtually a symbiosis) broken off only when Galep passed away in Chiavari (Genoa) on 10th March 1994.