Scimmiotino by Enver BongraniZefferino by Bongrani

Enver Bongrani (or Enwer Bongrani) was making (mostly humorous) comics from the 1930s through the 1960s. He was born into a large family in Marrara (Ferrara) in 1914, and moved to Milan in 1936. His family was decimated by diphtheria, and his father and grandfather were regularly arrested by the police because of their anarchist political orientation. It is unknown whether Enwer shared his family's ideology; but it is known that the artist illustrated the pro-fascist comic 'Lucio l'Avanguardista' for Jumbo in 1932.

Lucio l'Avanguardista

Before the war, he also supervised several children's titles for the Milanese publishing house S.A.E.V., and he made comic stories for Pinocchio ('La valle d'Oro'), Primarosa ('Cuor gentile') and Jumbo ('Il giro del mondo di Jumbo'). He also made the illustrations for one of the first Italian Lewis Carroll translations ('Alice in Wonderland') for Mediolanum in 1935. He was also working for the publishing house Alpe on 'Codino' (an Italian 'Mickey Mouse') and most notably 'Scimmiottino', a monkey whose adventures were later also drawn by Giuseppe Perego and Rino Anzi. Pages by Bongrani also appeared on the covers of Nerbini's Topolino magazine in 1935.

Topolino comic by Enver Bongrani
Comic strip for Topolino (1935)

Bongrani spent the Second World War in Hungary, and resumed his activities as an illustrator upon his return in his home country by working on several Italian-Brazilian co-productions. He appeared in adventure comics like 'Kit Tigre' (Edizioni Tigre, 1946), 'Ariete Grandi Avventure' (Edizioni Ariete, 1954-1955) and 'Buck Taylor' (Invicta, 1956).

He returned to his pre-war creation, the monkey that was by now known as 'Zeffirino' and published by Edizioni Ariete. For the same title, he drew features like 'Orsetto', 'Pirillo e Bombetta', 'Mimmolo e Bombolo' and 'Giacomone'. Bongrani's 'Zefferino' popped up in a variety of other comic books of the time, from Ariete's Carioca (1954-55) to Omega's Eroi del West (1963-65). 'Ciccio e Arturo', another creation by Bongrani, also appeared in Carioca. Enver Bongrani was for a long time a bit of a mystery in Italian comics history, but it is thanks to research by Giancarlo Malagutti and Luca Boschi that more information about him came to light.

Codino by Enver Bongrani
Codino

Luca Boschi about Enver Bongrani

Series and books by Enver Bongrani in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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