Sergio Zaniboni was an Italian comics artist and illustrator. He was best-known for his long association with the 'Diabolik' series, and for his many contributions to the children's magazine Il Giornalino.

He was born in Turin in 1937. He was originally a radio technician for electricity company Enel, and then worked as a technical designer, graphic designer and illustrator. One of his well-known designs is the logo with the knight of the Panini figurines. He began his career as a cartoonist in 1967. His first job was drawing a comic book with 'The Three Musketeers' for the publisher Alè Toro, but the project remained unpublished. He then made a comic adaptation of the 1827 Alessandro Manzoni novel 'The Betrothed' ('I Promessi Sposi') with Angela Giussani, which appeared as the first issue of the series 'I Classici a Fumeti' of Gino Sansoni's publishing house in March 1967.


Nic Cometa

Also during this period, he made two episodes of 'I Naufraghi' ("The Castaways", 1967), a comic about the beat generation with Pier Carpi and Michele Gazzarri for Il Giorno dei Ragazzi. With Carpi and fellow artist Enrico Bagnoli, he also made two albums of the racing comic 'Nic Cometa' for Mondadori in 1968. He additionally drew several stories for Horror magazine (1969-1971).


Diabolik - Senza Passato

Zaniboni began his long association with the digest-sized comic books about master thief 'Diabolik' and their publisher Astorina in 1969. The first issue with Zaniboni's art was the 147th, 'Delitto su commissione', published in September 1969. The artist would continue to provide artwork for over 300 installments in the series, which was created by the sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani in 1962. Zaniboni was especially known for his graphical depiction of Diabolik's companion Eva Kant, whose looks he based on the Turin model Cristina Adinolfi. He was the series' main cover artist from 1999 to 2013.


Il Campione (Il Giornalino, 1972)

He began working for the children's magazine Il Giornalino of Edizioni San Paolo in 1972, and this association lasted well into the 1990s. Zaniboni's first series was the boxing serial 'Il Campione' (1972-1977), with scripts by Alberto Ongaro. It was followed by the crime noir series 'Tenente Marlo 77° Distretto' (1970-1980) in cooperation with Claudio Nizzi. Main star is the scrupulous Police Lieutenant Mike Marlo, who uses his wits to fight crime in the 77th district of an unnamed US metropolis. Further work for Il Giornalino was a three-episode comics depiction of the trip around the world by Italian sailor Ambrogio Fogar (script by Alexander Fabi, 1977), and a short story starring silent movie era comedian Charlie Chaplin (1985).


Fogar - Il giro del mondo del Surprise (1977)

Zaniboni was additionally present in the monthly magazine Orient Express with 'I Reporters' (1983) in cooperation with Giancarlo Malagutti. The four short stories deal with two journalists of a San Francisco TV station, who engage in political and social events. By the late 1980s Sergio Zaniboni turned to a more comical drawing style for the adventure series 'Speedy Car' (1986-1990), which he made in cooperation with Paolo Ferrarini for Il Giornalino, and the one-shot 'Pam & Peter' (1990) with scriptwriter Luigi Mignacco for Comic Art. Zaniboni and Claudio Nizzi worked together again on 'Piombo Rovente' (1991), a long adventure of Bonelli's western hero 'Tex Willer'. In 1995, Zaniboni was also one of the artists of the sci-fi feature 'Ombre Virtuali' in Bonelli's Ken Parker Magazine.


I Reporters

In Il Giornalino, he was subsequently one of the artists of 'Reporter Blues' (1991-1993), a comic series based on the Italian-Japanese animated TV series about Parisian newspaper reporter Tony Dubois, created by Marco and Gi Pagot. With writer Luciano Giacotto, he then made 'Maj Lin' (1996-1998), a spin-off starring a Vietnamese girl from 'Ricky', a previous Giornalino series created by Giuliano Longhi and Ruggero Giovannini. The artwork of this series was eventually taken over by Paola Camoriano.

Diabolik by Sergio Zaniboni
Eva Kant, from the Diabolik comic

Sergio Zaniboni received the Yellow Kid Award for his extensive work on 'Diabolik' in 2000. His son Paolo Zaniboni has followed in his father's footsteps and has become a cartoonist in his own right. He first assisted his father on the inking and coloring of his 'Diabolik' stories, but later created his own humor series for Il Giornalino: 'Steam Rail' (1995-2001).

Sergio Zaniboni passed away in Giaveno on 18 August 2017, shortly after his 80th birthday.


Tenente Marlo (Il Giornalino 37, 1978)

Sergio Zaniboni stories on the Corrierino-Giornalino blog

Series and books by Sergio Zaniboni in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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