The Legacy of Lupo Alberto

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.

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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.

Top Italian Comics

Italians are known the world over for their passion and their unique cuisine, but what the world doesn’t know is they make great comic books. Although they are not as popular as their DC and MARVEL counterparts, they have their fair share of fan followings and the characters range from the heroes to the anti heroes and with a comical twist to detective comics. Here are some of the best Italian comics.

  • Martin Mystère

This comic book stars the protagonist of the same name as the comic and was created by writer Alfredo Castelli and artists Giancarlo Alessandrini. First published in 1982 in Italy by Sergio Bonelli Editore, it told the tales and adventure of Martin. It has been adapted into various languages and often the name has been changed in different countries. For example, the comic is known as Martin Mystery in the US. He seems to be quite the detective with a little bit of James Bond’s sauve and Indiana Jones’ talents. He is an adventurer, television producer, archaeologist, anthropologist, art historian and collects unusual artifacts. He helps many police agencies around the world to solve crimes. There has been an animated TV series loosely based on the comic book named Martin Mystery and a video game has also been produced.

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  • Dylan Dog

This is an Italian horror series that features a paranormal investigator who gets romantically embroiled with his female clients in every episode. You may think of him as a modern day Casanova and the whole series is more or less based out of London where he resides, even though he travels frequently overseas for various cases. He is not particularly fond of many modern amenities and hates cell phones and does not travel by plane because of motion sickness. A queer oddity, his character is quite unique as well as the premise of the comic which ensures that the popularity of this comic doesn’t wane and keeps going strong since its inception in October 1986. It is published in Italy until date and the English version has been published by Dark Horse. Other language versions have also been released in different countries all over the world.

  • Tex

Created by writer Gian Luigi Bonelli, this comic series is very popular in Italy and features a character named Tex Willer. An Italian interpretation of the American Wild West, it is clearly influenced by stories of old American westerns as well as classical characters from that time period. He’s a tough guy with a strong sense of justice who becomes a ranger and defends the honest characters in the storyline from unscrupulous elements. The first volume was published in 1948, and there has been no looking back since with various adaptations of this character being made in various countries. Illustrator Aurelio Galleppini helped make Tex one of the most loved comic characters of all time in Italy.

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  • Lupo Alberto

This is one of the most loved comic characters and appeals to both children and adults alike. Lupo, meaning wolf in Italian is distinguished by his characteristic azure color and is engaged to a hen in the farm. The stories all revolve around the McKenzie Farm where the other characters in the comic live and on Lupo’s various attempts to break Marta out of the farm. Created by Guido Silvestri in 1974, the protagonist transforms into a man at times and his attempts to break Marta free is usually foiled by the alert sheepdog Moses who does everything in his power to stop Lupo. The Lupo brand spawned a huge merchandizing franchise and is very popular with teenagers.

The Top Italian – American Comic Book Superheroes

Even though American comic books are more popularly known and sold all over the world, other countries do have their own strengths and comic characters that come alive. Italy has a rich background of creativeness and this creativity has manifested into one segment which is the comic book segment. That being said, there are a number of superheroes that are featured in popular DC and Marvel comics that have characters who are Italian in origin. It would be interesting to see what the list holds, and here are the names.

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  • The Huntress

Although this name has been popularly used by many DC characters, the character in question with this article refers to Helena Rosa Bertinelli. This Huntress version had the same name, physical appearance as well as costume as the other versions but had a completely new back-story and personality.  Her story as a superhero comes about when her entire family gets murdered in a mob hit and she vows revenge. The daughter of one of Gotham’s mafia bosses, her character was short lived but received well by the readers.

  • Strong GuyStrongguycomic

Lila Cheney’s Bodyguard, Guido Carosella was always a background character until he gained recognition as part of Peter David’s ‘leftover mutants’ team which was called X-factor. His character was made popular with the humorous approach to the superhero lifestyle as well the obvious name – Strong Guy. He became quite the fan favorite and his struggles helped to give his character a different element of humanity because he was always in pain due to the way his powers would work. He first appeared in the #29 issue of New Mutants and was made popular from then on.

  • Witchblade

Also known as Sara Pezzini, she is Italian-American in origin and is also a NYPD homicide detective. This certainly gives her character a twist as she then comes into possession of a supernatural sentient bracelet that bonds with her and gives her superpowers in order to fight supernatural evil. She continues to struggle to control the powers of the bracelet while trying to fend off characters who have a vested interest in it but who have evil intent.

  • Rockslide

You may have noticed his character in the young X-Men. He started off by being a minor character in the New Mutants and also studied at Xavier’s where he became a member of the bad team named ‘the Hellions’. When the New X-Men had to be recreated, he became part of it. Also known as Santo Vaccarro, he was one of only 27 students to regain their powers after M-day. His character becomes quite popular and he is featured in many issues of young X-Men, New X-Men and more as they go off on adventure battling against the evil mutants and supernatural forces that threaten to destroy the mutant world they live in. his power involves exploding himself up and regenerating himself.

  • Argent

This DC Comics fictional superhero was part of the Teen Titans until the events of Graduation Day when the Teen titans were disbanded by NightWing. Daughter of a former US Senator, she became aware of her powers when she gained a silver sheen on her 16th birthday. Learning that she is half alien, she becomes part of the Teen Titan with her ability to control bursts of silver plasma energy that gives her the codename Argent. Her character’s growth is quite evident as the story progresses as she transforms from a jovial adventurer who is not serious about the responsibility she carries to one where she takes charge especially after her teammate apparently dies.