Cover art by Guido Fantoni
Cover illustration for the collection Albi Nuove Avventure.

Guido Fantoni was an Italian comic artist, who was mainly active in the 1940s and 1950s. He worked extensively for the many publications of the Florence-based publisher Mario Nerbini. After World War II he established a comics studio with his son and daughter, who'd continue the enterprise after his death. 

Flash Gordon by Guido Fantoni
'Flash Gordon' by Guido Fantoni.

Early life and career
Among his early work were contributions to Giungla!, the monthly supplement of L'Avventuroso in 1937, and the comical feature 'Cartouche', which he made with Paolo Lorenzi for Il Giornale die Cino e Franco in 1938-1939.When Mussolini banned the import of all U.S. comics in 1938, such as Alex Raymond's 'Flash Gordon', Nerbini started a local production of the feature. Legend goes that these 'Flash Gordon' stories were drawn by Giove Toppi and written by the future filmmaker Federico Fellini. However, fumetti expert Leonardo Gori has cast doubt over this often-repeated story, claiming that the Italian versions of 'Flash Gordon' were in fact drawn by Guido Fantoni.

Mandrake the Magician by Guido Fantoni
'Mandrake the Magician' by Guido Fantoni.

Fantoni also did art on Italian stories starring the Lee Falk creations 'The Phantom' and 'Mandrake the Magician' in Mistero. For L'Avventuroso, he made the feature 'Ku-Ty-Pao' with Paolo Lorenzi, and comic stories about Vittorio Bottego, the Italian army officer who led two expeditions in the Horn of Africa. He furthermore produced the issues 'Il mistero della casa nel parco' and 'Il tesoro in fondo al mare' in the series Albi Economici Mistero in 1949.

Vittorio Bottego by Guid Fantoni
'Vittorio Bottego'.

For Editoriale Universo, he drew 'I Contrabbandieri d'Oppio' in the series Albi dell'Intrepido (1940), and for Edizioni Pantera, he made the crime series 'Adamo Rey, Poliziotto' with Enzo Gemignani (1945-1946). He was cover artist of the collection 'Albi Nuove Avventure', which was published by Corrado Tedeschi between 1948 and 1953. He also made the feature 'Il Piccolo Indiano' and 'Bobby Phantom' for this series.

For Topolino magazine he made a comic adaptation of Pina Ballario's novel 'L'Isola dei Pinguini' in late 1945. He was the artist of the space comic book 'I Viaggi Incredibili' by Edizioni Pantera in 1946. Fantoni furthermore worked for magazines like Il Corriere dei Ragazzi, Tricolore and L'Intrepido. He was active until the 1950s, when he drew 'Bertoldino' and 'Chiribù' for Bertoldino and 'James Taylor' for Kinowa of Casa Editrice Dardo.

Family studio
Guido Fantoni was the father of illustrators Liliana and Mario Fantoni, who started to work with him after World War II. The family worked on a joint production of 'Capitan Walter' stories for Anonima Veritas Editrice in Rome from 1953 to 1957, and then continued their collaboration in Il Vittorioso with the stories 'Calcio in costume' and 'Il figlio del gangster'. Guido Fantoni died in 1957, after which his son and daughter continued their collaboration in Il Vittorioso and the album collection 'Jolly'.


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