Sergio Toppi was a remarkable Milanese comic artist and illustrator. He began his career making illustrations for the collection 'Enciclopedia dei Ragazzi' by the publishing firm UTET, as well as a series of animated advertising films. He made his first comics for Il Corriere dei Piccoli from 1966. These included 'Il Mago Zurlì' (script by Carlo Triberti), a comics biography of Pietro Micca and several historical and war stories in the series 'Grandi Avventure di Pace e di Guerra', in cooperation with the writer Milo Milani.
L'Uomo del Nilo
When Il Corriere dei Piccoli became Il Corriere dei Ragazzi in 1972, Toppi illustrated series like 'Dal Nostro Inviato', 'Fumetti-Verità', 'Uomini Contro' and 'I Grandi nel Giallo'. Toppi and Milano also produced several historical comics for Il Messaggero dei Ragazzi between 1977 and 1979. By then, Toppi was additionally pursuing a versatile career in the field of illustration, that also left its mark on his approach of comic stories.
Toppi began his longtime collaboration with Il Giornalino in 1976. He illustrated religious stories and a great many one shot comics, including 'La Storia di Tutti i Tempi' (1982), 'I Grandi del Cinema' (1985), 'Storie d'Oro e di Frontiera' (1986), 'Smeraldi per il Faraone' (1988), 'Mastro Domenico' (1989), 'In Quel Giorno' (1990), 'Viso Nascosto' (1992), 'Un uomo Chiamato Gesù' (1992), 'Don Alberione' (1994), 'La Città' (1994, text by Gino d'Antonio), 'Le Avventure di Robinson Crosue' (1997) and the series 'Magda & Moroni' (1996, text by Luigi d'Antonio). His 1995 story 'Il Segredo dei Quattro Codici' told the story of the magazine's start, back in 1924.
L'Uomo del Nilo
Also from 1976, he drew several installments collection 'Un Uomo, un'Avventura' by publisher Cepim, namely 'L'Uomo del Nilo', 'L'Uomo del Messico' and 'L'Uomo delle Paludi'. In addition, he provided art for dozens of short stories for the magazines Linus, Alter, Corto Maltese, and Sgt. Kirk.
One of Toppi's most remarkable comics is 'Sharaz'de', his comics version of the Arabian Nights. It was originally serialized in Alter Alter in 1979, and later also published in France (Mosquito) and Spain (Planeta DeAgostini). It was in this comic that Toppi played greatly with the graphic design of the page, focusing on the composition of the borders and backgrounds and not too much on the narrative. Although largely in black-and-white, it also features some of Toppi's experiments with direct colors.
Un nome come il mio (Il Giornalino #4, 28/1/1979)
As an allround author, Toppi also produced the eccentric series 'Il Collezionista', as well as comics for L'Eternauta, Comic Art and Orient Express. In the magazine Corto Maltese, he produced features like 'Kas Cey', 'Chapungo', 'M'Felewzi', 'Isola Genile', 'Aloranguay', 'Thanka', 'L'Incontro', 'Una Grave Lacuna', 'Blues', 'Il Dossier Kokombo', 'Solitudinis Morbus', 'Dio Minore' and 'Cavaliere di Ventura', all in the period 1984-1993.
Toppi also shared his artistic skills with the French market, making contributions to the Larousse collections 'L'Histoire de France en Bande Dessinées' and 'La Découverte du Monde en Bandes Dessinées' in the early 1980's. The French publisher Mosquito has published nearly 40 of his books since 1994. He worked directly for the Spanish publisher Planeta DeAgostini with the 1992 book 'El Cerro de la Plata - La leyenda de Potosì'.
Notable illustration work by Toppi is a series of Tarot cards for Lo Scarabeo in Turin in 1989, the drawings he made of all the mercaneries of the Sack of Rome for galleries, and the many artistic drawings he made for Edizioni Crapapelada from 2003 onwards. In the 1990's Toppi was also working for the publishing house Bonelli, doing occasional contributions to series like 'Nick Raider', 'Julia' and 'Martin Mystère', as well as Ken Parker Magazine.
Sergio Toppi passed away in August 2012, at the age of 79.