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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Comic Clippings - 14 April 2007

News has filtered through that Massimo Belardinelli, best known for his work in 2000AD (Wikipedia entry), died in March following a long illness.

Born in 1938, Belardinelli's first work in the UK was 'The Steel Claw' for the Fleetway Super Library in 1967, inking and drawing backgrounds for Giorgio Cambiotti whilst working with Studio Rosi. Studio Rosi took over the weekly strip in Valiant in 1968 with Belardinelli continuing to ink in a style reminiscent of the strip's original artist, Jesus Blasco. In 1969-70, he worked on various strips for Lion.

As a member of Giolitti studio in the 1970s, he drew backgrounds for Alberto Giolitti on the Gold Key titles Turok, Son of Stone and Star Trek, also drawing 'Atlan' as a back-up strip in the German comic Perry. He was one of the many artists to contribute to 'Rat Pack' in Battle Picture Weekly before drawing 'Greens Grudge War' and episodes of 'Spinball' in Action. His association with 2000AD began with the revived 'Dan Dare' in the very first issue.

For ten years Belardinelli stamped a very strong style on the pages of 2000AD, one which gradually found less favour until, by 1988, he was relegated to second string stories. A prolific artist of stylish quality, he continued to draw for the UK, later working on Fleetway's Eagle and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

His contact with the UK market ended with the death of his agent, Alberto Giolitti, in 1993. His life was further devastated when his wife committed suicide, leaving him with a young daughter to support. It was often presumed that Belardinelli himself had died, although drawings continued to appear from his home in Rome, some of his work appearing in Japan.

Rumours of Belardinelli's death were only recently (2005) scotched when a UK fan, Rob Cox, contacted the artist and a feature appeared in the June 2006 issue of Italian Ink magazine (as I noted here back in August 2006).
  • Leo Baxendale drops a line to the Forbidden Planet blog about the opening of his 'Stroppy Women' exhibition.

3 comments:

Joe said...

If this news is really confirmed this time it is pretty sad, I thought Massimo was one of the stand-out artists of early 2000AD - his Dan Dare aliens were such a shock to a young lad raised on the Beano and Warlord, warped my brain for good concerning comics.

Steve said...

I've been looking around some Italian comic sites and have yet to find any confirmation. Mind you, Belardinelli was out of the mainstream of even Italian comics. Post-2000AD I believe he was involved in design work for theme parks. A bit more digging turns up a "confirmation" from The Hipster Dad...

http://hipsterdad.livejournal.com/175343.html

... who says Belardinelli died the last week of March.

I agree that Belardinelli was an extraordinary talent and his artwork was definitely mind-warping. My favourite quote about him (I think it must have been from Pat Mills) was about a page of Belardinelli artwork for Action where he drew Spinball and for one episode decorated the borders with the unravelled intestines of a player who had had his stomach opened up. The page was rejected but I think it shows that Belardinelli had a seriously twisted sense of humour.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad, the guy was a genius.
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with his work. I wrote him a letter via 2000AD. A few months later, I got a letter back from Massimo, thanking me for the compliments about his work and a truly stunning illustration of Feek (Ace Trucking) riding a dragon and waving.

R.I.P Massimo, an incredible artist and a lovely man.