Saturday, 28 July 2012

Benito Jacovitti



It is with grateful thanks to my good friend and fellow blogger, Tictac that I discovered this gem of an Italian comic book artist.

Benito Jacovitti was born on March 19, 1923 in Termoli, Molise in the southern region of Italy. Even as a child he started drawing on the pavement in the village where he lived. He came from a very working class background and was the son of a railwayman. At the age of eleven, Benito entered Macerata's art school and went onto graduate to Firenze's art institute some five years later. It was here that he was given the nickname lisca di pesce ("fishbone") because of his thin figure.

In 1939, just as war was breaking out in Europe so Jacovitti started working for Il Vittorioso, a Catholic comic magazine targeted at young adults. It was a publication that only published Italian artists. Among the many characters he created were: Pippo, Pertica e Palla, Oreste il guastafeste, Chicchiricchì, Giacinto corsaro dipinto, Jack Mandolino and La signora Carlomagno. He also produced many adaptations of classic tales such as Ali Baba and Don Quixote and also parodies of famous comics like L'onorevole Tarzan and Il mago Mandrago. He also contributed cartoons to the satirical weekly Il Travaso delle idee.

Four years after the second world had ended (1949) Jacovitti produced a series of cartoons for school diaries, named I Diari Vitt. These books made him a household name among children and parents and he kept producing them until 1980.

In 1956, he started a collaboration that lasted for ten-year with the Milanese newspaper Il Giorno. Il Giorno had a supplement Il Girono dei Ragazzi that featured a comic section. It was while working on this publication that he created his well-known riotous, absurdist western parody called'Cocco Bill'. He also created journalist/detective 'Tom Ficcanaso' and 'Gionni Glassia'.
Ten years later Jacovitti left Il Giorno to join Il Corriere dei Piccoli, a popular weekly publication for kids, for which he created Cip l'Arcipoliziotto, Zorry Kid, Tarallino TarallĂ  and others.

In 1973 he published Gionni Peppe on the magazine Linus, followed in 1981 by Joe Balordo.

Jacovitti's art style was unique and was immediately appealing to both children and adults. Nearly all his characters had huge noses and large feet and all his illustrations are crammed full of details with all sort of objects and weird things contained within the frames. He will always be remembered as satirical creator whose work was focused on humour and parody but he did not back away from more adventurous material such as erotica and also political cartoons.

I like the exaggerations, the grotesque features of these creations. They maintain a humour that is both satirical and comical violent, much like the British cartoon by Reg Smythe, Andy Capp but above all it is the energy released that captures my eye.

Jacovitti created more than sixty characters and produced around one hundred and fifty books, making him one of the most prolific and original artists in comic book history.


il kamasultra visto da benito jacovitti




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all words and art are copyright © of C.J. Duffy.

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