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Renzo Calegari was an Italian comic book artist, who has mainly worked on western comics for several incarnations of the publishing house Bonelli. He is especially known for his highly detailed drawings of the American prairies in Gino D'Antonio's 'Storia del West' (1967). Calegari was also known for his political engagement.

He was born in 1933 in the Bolzaneto quarter of Genoa. He studied arts in Milan, and began his professional career with the art studio of Roy d'Ami in 1954. He did most of his early work for Edizioni Araldo, the publishing house headed by Sergio Bonelli, which would later operate under the names CEPIM, Daim Press and Sergio Bonelli Editore. Calegari drew oblong western comic books like 'Il Sergente York' (1954) and 'La Puttuglia dei Bufali' (1957), writen by D'Ami, and 'I Tre Bill' (1955), 'El Kid' (1956) and 'Big Davy' (1957) from scripts by Gian Luigi Bonelli. The latter series dealt with the adventures of Davy Crockett, but since the competing publishing house Alpe already had a collection with that name, the title 'Big Davy' was used. From 1957 to 1966 he also worked for the London-based Fleetway agency, drawing UK war comics like 'Battler Britton' in cooperation with Carlo Porciani, as well as stories for the 'Thriller Picture Library' and the 'War Picture Library'.


Combined Operation (War Picture Library #14)

Calegari was also one of the original artists of Gino D'Antonio's 'Storia del West', a long saga about several generations of the the Irish MacDonald family during days of the US colonists. The entire series (1967-1980) consisted of 73 volumes in CEPIM's Collana Rodeo, and is considered one of the masterpieces in Italian comics history for its well-documented historical account of the American frontier. Besides Calegari and creator/writer D'Antonio, other artists involved in the project were Renato Polese, Sergio Tarquinio, Luis Bermejo, Giorgio Trevisan and Erminio Ardigò. In 1967, Calegari drew the story 'I Cavalieri dell'Aria' for Sgt. Kirk, a magazine based on Héctor Oesterheld and Hugo Pratt's character.

Storia del West by Renzo Calegari
Renzo Calegari

Calegari left the comics industry to devote all his time to the Sessantotto movement. It was the answer of the Italian socialists to the wave of international student protests that spread throughout Europe in 1968. The main goal of the movement was to change the traditional capitalist and patriarchal society, which had characterized Italy's newly transformed economy with its increased industrialization. Calegari was furthermore politically active for the Italian Communist party.

Boone by Renzo Calegari
Boone

The artist returned to comics in 1977 with the western 'Welcome to Springville', which he drew for Eura Editoriale in cooperation with Ivo Milazzo from a script by Giancarlo Berardi. It first appeared in Skorpio, and was then reprinted in Orient-Express magazine (1982-1983) and Ken Parker Magazine (1992), and was collected in book format by L'Isola Tavota (1980). He returned to Bonelli as one of the artists of 'Ken Parker' in 1978, a western series created by Berardo and Milazzo in the previous year. By 1981 Calegari began an association with Il Giornalino, the children's magazine of Edizioni San Paolo. He created the series 'Boone' and 'Gente di Frontiera', the latter another account of the American wild west. Calegari has furthermore written and illustrated several books about wild west history for the publishing house La Frontiera-Lo Vecchio, including 'Texas Rangers' (1985) and 'Warpath' (1985).

In 1994 Calegari drew 'La Ballata di Zeke Colter' (script by Claudio Nizzi), a story with the western hero 'Tex Willer', which appeared in Bonelli's Almanacco Del West. With writer Michele Masiero he made a double story of Bonelli's jungle adventurer 'Mister No' in 2004 ('Storia di un soldato' and 'Uomini ed eroi'). His final comic book works were the one-shot 'Bandidos!' (2007, in cooperation with Gino D'Antonio), and a reprise of 'Accadde sull'Orient Express' (Edizioni Segni d’Autore, 2012), a project about World War I, which he had begun 26 years earlier.

On 28 October 2017 he received the Turio Copello, a prize awarded to local artists from the Chiavari region by the Società Economica di Chiavari. Renzo Calegari passed away shortly afterwards, on 5 November 2017, at the age of 84.

Texas Rangers by Renzo Calegari
Texas Rangers

Series en boeken door Renzo Calegari op voorraad in de Lambiek Webshop:

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