The blue wolf created in 1974 became hugely popular with many people in Italy and is still going strong to this day. There are many comics that are being produced in Italy every day and although many of them remain popular at a local level, only a few have caught the attention and love of the people like how Lupo Alberto has. The concept is a little ridiculous and child like when you think about it. A blue wolf is engaged to a hen. That concept would be utterly absurd in real life, yet it is these inconsistencies that play on our imagination and take the ridiculous to another level. People know that this is entertainment and nothing takes it to that level as much as Lupo.
Let’s start with what Lupo means. Translated from Italian, lupo means wolf – rather straightforward there. Created by Guido Silvestri, the comic series details the adventures of the blue wolf who takes the shape of a common man and faces quite a bit of bad luck as he attempts to fulfill his goal in life. He is a resident of the McKenzie farm and funnily enough, tries to steal a hen away from the farm. The hen’s name is Marta and she is Lupo’s girlfriend.
Perhaps it is this premise that brings to the forefront that it is just plain and simple fun. Many farmers would know that wolves always try to steal their hens but for the wrong reasons. Bringing in the element of love and a romantic relationship brings humor to an otherwise pesty topic. Moses, the sheepdog tries to thwart his every attempt to take Marta away. In fact, the first strips of the comic series featured the conflicts between Lupo and Moses.
At first, this comic strip was published by Silvestri in the 1970s magazine Corriere dei Ragazzi which was owned by Corriere della Sera. A year later, the first series was published by Dardo which completely dedicated the series to the character. As of 1985, monthly series have been released with a few short lived series which are made up of 8 issues and those were launched between the years 1983 – 1984. To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the blue wolf, an exhibition was held in 2009.
What makes Lupo so different and distinct is his unique color. His fur is a vibrant azure and is very eye catching. Many studies have been made to see the effect of color and the popularity of a comic. If something looks more normal, people tend to notice it less and it will blend into the many comics that are released every year. But this distinct azure blue color ensures that it stays in people’s minds.
The comic strip has found a large fan following in teenagers and the makers have taken advantage of this by creating a rich merchandizing franchise that sells greeting cards and school diaries. Capitalizing on the fame and popularity of the comic book was just the logical step to increase sales in relation to the comic while also further cementing its popularity with the young readers. In fact, this comic character was so popular that Lupo was used in a massive anti – AIDS campaign during the 19990s which was promoted by the Italian Minstry of Public Health and the comic character emphasized the importance of condoms and safe sex.
An animated series was released by Warner Bros. Records and was co-produced by Rai Trade ad Mondo TV in 1997 and is available in both English and Italian. There are various other characters that appear in the series like Henry (Enrico) who is a mole, Esther (Cesira) who’s Henry’s wife and is also a mole, Alfred(o) who is a turkey, Ludwig (Lodovico) who is a horse, Einstein (Odoardo) who is Marta’s cousin and a whole bunch for. Basically, this fun menagerie of farm animals will keep you entertained for a while and it is a comic for everyone.