Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Pasarán by Vittorio Giardino

Many berets feature in the comics series "No Pasarán" and "A Jew in Communist Prague", by Italian author Vittorio Giardino

Giardino was born in Bologna, where he graduated in electrical engineering in 1969. At the age of 30, he decided to leave his job and devote himself to comics. Two years later his first short story Pax Romana was published in La Città Futura, a weekly magazine published by the Federazione Giovanile Comunista Italiana and edited by Luigi Bernardi.

In 1982 Giardino created a new character: 
Max Fridman, an ex-secret agent involved in the political struggle in 1930's Europe. His first adventure, Hungarian Rhapsody was serialized in the first four issues of Orient Express and brought Giardino in the limelight of the international comic scene. Max Fridman adventures have been published in 18 countries, and are universally recognised as comic book classics.

Starting in 1984, Giardino produced a number of short stories for the Italian magazine Comic Art, where he introduced Little Ego, a young and sexy girl inspired by Winsor McKay's Little Nemo who stars in one-page dreamy erotic stories.

In 1991 Giardino created a new character, Jonas Fink for the Il Grifo magazine. Jonas is a young Jew in 1950's Prague whose father is arrested by the communist police. He and his mother have to cope with the discrimination and oppression of Stalin's regime. The book won the Angoulème Alfred prize for best foreign work in 1995 as well as an Harvey at San Diego in 1999.

Giardino's maniacal attention to details in both his art and his stories has made him a star even outside the comics community. Unfortunately, it is also the reason of his proverbial slowness: his fans have to wait for years to read the conclusion of his books. Giardino art style recalls the French ligne claire, while his writing owes a lot to famous hard boiled and spy story authors like Dashiell Hammett and John le Carré.

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