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Bella & Bronco
by Marco Zucchi
translation by Derrick De Candia

Who created it? The series Bella & Bronco first appeared in Italian newsstands on July 1984, devised by Gino D'Antonio (who had just been back from the concluding series Storia del West) of which he had looked over the texts and covers apart from drawing the first episode.

The format. From the first issue, the series presented itself different from all others: the format was of a 21 by 26 cm, against the classic measurement of 16 by 21 cm; the number of pages were 64 against the usual 96, and the price also differed, it was now 1100 lira against the 800 lira price of all the other albums. The subdivision of the tables within the pages were still the same, three strips upon the page with each one generally containing two vignettes.

Every album contained on the inside cover what Americans define as pin-ups, or a full drawing by D'Antonio where in a two sentence punch line, Bella & Bronco would be hinting to the story that would await readers, reminding in small terms of what eventually has taken place, because even though the stories are autoconcluding, they are conjugated one with the other: the story that began in the first issue partially ended in the third; the one that started in the eleventh issue ended in the thirteenth.

Who are the protagonists? Another difference in respect to the other series is the fact that one of the two main characters, is a woman. She is Bella Madigan, an ex saloon owner and not an ordinary woman but unhinibited; her partner is a Native American Indian, named Bronco, a very cultured and civilized individual. This new couple was a definite new frontier of the Italian comics.

Who are the other characters? In the series there is a significant amount of characters more or less permanent and extremely characterized, they range from: the agent of Pinkerton named Hasselmann, although but goodhearted man whose extremely sensible to the beauty of Bella; the Russian Popoff, an inventor who's style offhand seems to be of Icaro La Plume, only that he's more fortunate and gifted; the Confederated Captain Price, extremely partaken by the happenings of war; Pitagora, a black man who's ready to cry about the conditions he has to deal with being a person of color, but as soon as he as an occasion he's able to change himself into a tyrant; Captain Raquel, another woman who's very much fascinated with Popoff's inventions and easily liked; Father Pierre, who has brought up Bronco, he's an extremely practical man of the church.

When do the stories take place? The stories take place in the United States pending an important historical time, approximately 1862 during the Civil War. Initially the stories are purposely tied with the occurrences of war only to be later separated into their own. Being that there was the old west at that time, expected are gunfights, the mix of Indians and Chinese, jails, the handling of Gatling gun rifles: classic tales, each one contains a fine ironical note, that is held throughout story from the first page and that frequently allows the author to make less dramatic definite events.

Bella unhinibited at the right moment and also very intelligent from a practical stand point; Bronco extremely cultured, that at every moment dispenses knowledge and cites quotes.

Maybe it was the predictability of the notions (that were toned done a bit in the last issues of the series), or just the disliking of the duo from readers, that brought the series to a screeching alt only after 16 issues.


Gino D'Antonio
in 1984

Gino D'Antonio

Gino D'Antonio

Gino D'Antonio
from n.1

Sergio Bonelli Editore
Copyright (c) 1984-85
all right reserved worldwide


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