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Biography

A biography of Sergio Bonelli in a nutshell, enriched by an exclusive video montage signed by Giancarlo Soldi.

Born in Milan, on December 2, 1932, Sergio Bonelli is the son of Giovanni Luigi Bonelli – the creator of Tex and many other heroes of Italian comics, and the founder of Audace Publishing House – and Tea Bertasi, who took the reins of the family company from 1946. To separate himself from his renowned father, when he first began writing stories, Sergio chose to sign his scripts with the pen-name of Guido Nolitta.


A frame from "Ciuffetto Rosso".

After creating the captions for "Ciuffetto rosso" (1955) – behind yet another "nom de plume", Annalisa Macchi –, Sergio Bonelli’s debut as a writer happens in 1957, the same year when he starts managing the publishing house that in time – after using several different trademarks: Audace, Araldo, Cepim, Daim Press and Altamira – will become Sergio Bonelli Editore: he translates into Italian the Argentinean western series “Verdugo Ranch” and writes the last episode for it, choosing Franco Bignotti as the artist.

Bignotti is also the visual creator of the first character entirely ‘by Nolitta’: “Un ragazzo nel Far West”, in 1958. In that period, also some episodes of “Il Piccolo Ranger” (usually written by Andrea Lavezzolo) are spawned by Nolitta’s creativity. In 1960, he devises “Il Giudice Bean”, a brilliant miniseries with art by Sergio Tarquinio. He teams up with Tarquinio also in “Il ribelle”, a short adventure from the same year.

1960 is the year when Bonelli meets the artist Gallieno Ferri: they decide to start a collaboration and in 1961 they debut with “Zagor”, whose episodes have been mainly written by Nolitta up until 1980. In June 1975, “Mister No” is born: a genial, half-hobo, half-adventurer pilot of a Piper plane, he lives his adventures having the 1950s South America as a backdrop.


Zagor’s first comic strip.

In 1977, Nolitta writes, for Aurelio Galleppini’s art, the graphic novel “L’Uomo del Texas” (published in the series "Un uomo un'avventura" and recently reprinted in "Il timoniere dei sogni"–in this edition the album is accompanied by a DVD of the biographical documentary film "Come Tex Nessuno Mai") and begins to entrust Galep and other artists with a few of his stories for "Tex", published without his signature.


Mr. No’s first album.

As a matter of fact, from that time until the 1990s, Nolitta take turns – first with his father and then with Claudio Nizzi and Mauro Boselli – in writing the adventures of Eagle-of-the-Night. In 1985, he signs the last episode of the “Il Piccolo Ranger” saga, while in 1990 he launches the miniseries “River Bill”, with art by Francesco Gamba. Then, Nolitta carries on with writing for "Mister No" (he will also be the author of all the final chapters, published in September 2005-December 2006), and is the co-author (with Alfredo Castelli) of the “cross-over”, where Jerry Drake meets Martin Mystère (1993).

Sergio Bonelli’s work as a publisher played a pivotal role in the Italian comics’ world, and gained him many prizes over his long career: awards assigned by the comics’ industry, but also the Ambrogino d'oro, the honorific medal of the City of Milan, received by Bonelli in 2008. The work as a publisher absorbed Bonelli almost entirely until his departure, that happened in Monza, on September 26, 2011.