Many people are fascinated with America – The food, the culture, the country. So much so, that a comic book hero was created to be American and became immensely popular but the funny thing is that he is relatively unknown in the US. The reason is because this comic book character is not found in an American comic book, but in a fumetto or Italian comic book.
The comic stars Lazarus Ledd who was a member of a secret covert branch of the US Army named COBRA and who, tiring of the death, destruction and violence leaves to make a new life for himself. He chooses to make a new identity as a cab driver in New York by changing his name and face and leaving his past identity as soldier Ronald Gordon behind, but as all these stories go, he does get found out by a mysterious Mr. Garret. This guy runs a cover organization that goes after criminals. Posing as a journalist and a civilian working for the New York Bugle, Lazarus uses his considerable skills in catching the bad guys.
As many critics have said, this comic series feels more like an American movie that is brought to life with the various action sequences and makes you forget that it is only drawn on paper. Brought to life in 1993, he soon gained a large fan following in different countries like Brazil, Croatia, Korea, Yugoslavia and even became a number one most popular comic for many years in Australia.
He may represent the New Age hero – one that has a dark side to him and doesn’t always play by the rules. This comic is also noted for its take on the right and wrong of things, their differences or the lack thereof, which hails Lazarus as the new hero for the millennium. First published in Italy in 1993 by Edizione Star Comics, many authors have contributed to the existence of Lazarus Ledd. Writers who have worked on Lazarus Ledd include Marcello Toninelli, Stefano Vietti, Ade Capone with the illustrators and artists who create the final page are Alberto Gennari, Giancarlo Olivares, Emanuelo Barison and Stefano Raffaele.
Lazarus seems to be the new character enjoying a wave of Anti hero popularity. When Ade Capone first conceptualized Lazarus, it wasn’t accepted until he made the transition to the smaller run Star Comics who accepted his proposal. Working on this character, it was well received but many predicted its downfall. Yet, month after month saw Lazarus’ popularity grow. Interestingly, this comic follows the classic recognizable Bonelli comic strip format without being a Bonelli Strip.
Released in 1993 when a boom of popularity for comics had hit Italy, it faced competition from other comics like Dylan Dog and Nathan Never. In many ways Larry (as he is known to his friends), leads a double life that he himself struggles with. He longs for a normal life which is why he left behind his army days as a special soldier yet he finds that pull to bring people to justice. This internal struggle is what lands him in trouble at times because he cannot walk away from people in trouble due to his sense of duty.
There have been some observations about this comic series as it has been worked on by a number of different draftsmen. Being a new and small company, many people are encouraged to come and work there so this means that Larry gets a different hand working on his character quite frequently. This can mean that there will be a loss of quality, but so far he seems to be going strong and we can only wait to see what the future will hold for Larry.