Alessandro Biffignandi was an Italian poster artist and cover illustrator, with a strong tie to the comics genre. Although he hasn't drawn that many actual comic stories, he was most notably the cover painter for many of the Italian pulp comic books of the 1970s and 1980s.
He was born as Alessandro Romano Biffignandi in Rome in 1935, and developed a keen interest in drawing and cartoons during his childhood. At 17 he made his debut as a cartoonist working on 'Captain Walter' for AVE. At the age of 19 he became an apprentice of the Italian poster and billboard artist Averardo Ciriello. In the following year, he was hired by the studio of Augusto Favelli, one of the country's biggest producers of film posters. Among his many film posters were 'La voce che uccide' (1956), 'Orlando el paladini di Francia' ('Roland the Mighty', 1956), 'L'invasione degli ultracorpi' ('Invasion of the Bodysnatchers', 1956), 'L'incanto della foresta' (1957), 'Il momento più bello' ('The Most Wonderful Moment', 1957), 'La diga sul pacifico' ('This Angry Age', 1958), 'Agli ordini del re' (1958), 'La sfida' (1958), 'La morte viene dallo spazio' ('The Day the Sky Exploded', 1958), 'America di notte' (1961), 'Un giorno de leoni' ('A Day for Lionhearts', 1961) and 'Pasqualino Cammarata... capitano di fregata' (1973).
He started working in the comics industry after moving to Milan in 1958. He provided artwork to foreign publishers through art studios like D'Ami. He made painted covers for French pocket comic books like Nevada, Hondo, Kiwi, Yuma and Rodeo, all by the Lyon-based publishing house Lug. He also drew some comic features for the interiors of these books, such as 'Rombo Bill' (Rodeo, 1959), 'Flambo' (Flambo, 1959), 'Antonin' (Nevada), 'Agent Special K3' (Special Rodeo, 1966), 'Sergeant Fury' (Zembla) and 'Peter Berg' (Hondo, 1964). His main work for the British publisher Fleetway included covers for 'The Spider' and 'Johnny Nero' in the Fleetway Super Library series, but also to the many war collections ('Air Ace', 'War', 'Battle', 'War at Sea', 'Giant War') and other series. Interior art included illustrations for 'The Wonderful Story of Britain' (Treasure, 1963) and the feature 'Strange Facts' for Tell Me Why (1968-1969). Among his 500 British covers are also illustrations for Hurricane, Tell Me Why and World of Wonder, while he also made covers for Italian publications like I Rosa Mondadori, Intrepido, Il Monello, Lanciostory and UFO.
Biffignandi is however best-known for his painted cover illustrations for the adult comic books published by Giorgio Cavedon (Ediperiodici) and Renzo Barbieri (Edifumetto) during the 1970s and early 1980s. Despite the generally mediocre interior art, Biffignandi drew high-quality covers for many of the publisher's titles, whose main themes were pornography, sadism and horror. Among Biffignandi's most notable covers were for 'Zora la Vampira' and 'Biancaneve', but his art also appeared on the covers of 'Cimiteria', 'Belzeba', 'Wallestein', 'Tabú' and a great many other titles and collections. He was eventually drawing between ten and twenty paintings every month, creating hundreds of covers during his tenure with Edifumetto. Other productive cover painters for Edifumetto were Emanuele Taglietti, Roberto Molino and Carlo Jacono.
The artist eventually left the world of comics to focus on magazine and book illustration for clients from the UK, the United States and Italy. He made illustrations for such Italian magazines as La Tribuna Illustrata, Domenica del Corriere, Grazia and Confidenze. He also made oil paintings in commission. In 2012, he painted a handful of covers for Fantomen, the Swedish comic book based on Lee Falk's 'The Panthom'.
Most of his work was done anonymously, and it wasn't until later years that his art was celebrated. An exhibition of his work was held in Perguia Palazzo della Penna in 2014, and a book called 'L'Arte di Alessandro Biffignandi' was published by Lo Scarabeo at the same time. An English-language collection of his horror, fantasy and sci-fi paintings was published by Korero Press under the title 'Sex and Horror: The Art of Alessandro Biffignandi' in 2016. The artist passed away in January of the following year, at the age of 81.