Ken Parker in Brazil (part II)
by Julio Schneider and Marco Gremignai
translation by Gustavo D'Andrea
editor: Marco Spitella
The publication of "Um Príncipe para Norma" (A Prince for Norma) didn't passed unnoticed, at least considering the Brazilian's reader welcome and, also, the new and interesting projects related to a more "articulated" Ken Parker return to the Brazilian newsstands ;-)
In particular, this is what Ricardo de Souza have written in the São Paulo state site Estadao.com.br, in an article titled "O herói Ken Parker retorna em "Um Príncipe para Norma" (The hero Ken Parker returns in "A Prince for Norma")":
Ken-Robert Redford and Norma-Marilyn Monroe
There are, in this story, some elements that makes it superior to the other of the series. The great attractive, as well as in other episodes, is formed by the references and the quotes that Berardi draws from literature, music, cinema and other artistic areas. In this story's case the source was not less than the Shakespeare's classic Hamlet.
All the plot takes place during the rehearsals for the staging of the show of Everett's Theatrical Company, a group of actors which hosted the fugitive Ken, which plays the young and revengeful Hamlet. The beauty of the story is also the result of Giorgio Trevisan and Milazzo's drawings: the latter make use of watercolours to illustrate the Old West scenes, while Trevisan, with his detailed style, take up the pencil to draw Hamlet's saga.
As the hard work of adapting Shakespeare for the comics was not enough, Berardi brings into the story also Ms. Norma Jean. Yes, she herself: Marilyn Monroe, who struck the male imagery of the 50's.
Berardi himself confess that is impossible to get out from the enchantment of this actress. In the staging, Norma ended by playing the beautiful Ofelia. The meeting of Ken Parker - inspired by Jeremiah Johnson character, or rather by the Robert Redford of the homonymous movie (1972) - and Norma/Marilyn is enough to justify the reading of "Um Príncipe para Norma". There are other quotes in this episode, like the book that Ken lend to Norma, "Sonnets from Portuguese", the most famous work of the English poetess Elizabeth Browning Barret (1806 - 1861). The book quoted by Berardi was written by Elizabeth as a love proof for her husband, the poet Robert Browning. Even poetry, as Parker says to the affection needy Norma, is "a way to get tenderness". Another beautiful quote is the reproduction (in the last strip at the page 102) of the painting "Ofelia" (1852), pre-Raphaelite artist John Millais's work (1829 - 1896).
The importance of Ken Parker for the comics universe could be measured by the frustration with which was received the announce, in January 1998, of the end of his publishing in Italy. The "Albo Speciale n. 4" marked the end of Berardi and Milazzo's work, even though the news that their breaking-off was caused by disagreements seems to be groundless. They are still friends and, between a work and another, they doesn't despise to meet.
Nowadays, Berardi keeps on writing with success, but devoting himself exclusively to Julia, a series about a criminologist (inspired by actress Audrey Hepburn) which sells on average 100.000 issues every month in Italy. Milazzo keeps on realizing works for the western genre. In 1999 he have illustrated, with his watercolours, the book "Canto di un Uomo-Falco", made by his friend and poet Fabrizio Portalupi. He have drawn, in the same year, Sangue Sul Colorado, 13th "Texone" of Sergio Bonelli Editore, the same which published Ken Parker series.
Nowadays he draw for the series Magico Vento, together with other drawers (Bruno Ramella, Andrea Venturi, Carlo Bellagamba and Stefano Biglia). The possibility that the old "partnership" could begin again is remote, but neither Berardi nor Milazzo discards it once and for all, leaving thousands of Ken Parker fans in the whole world live in a constant expectation. In a recent interview, Berardi keeps awoke a hope in the air: "As regards the future, I do not exclude anything; if an interesting chance will be, I'll be very glad to find again my old adventures' companion.".
The cover of the first number of "Ken Parker Collection" in Brazil
Waiting for new works by Berardi and Milazzo, if ever they will be, Brazilian fans can't complain ;-) because, in september, the Editora Mythos will publish the first issue of "Ken Parker Collezione", with the same episodes of the Italian issue (Silenzio Bianco and I Selvaggi); the only difference is in the format, that will be the same of the Brazilian Tex (13,5 x 17,5 cm). The series "survival", of course, depends on its success: if the Brazilian readers will answer with fervour, it will become a regular series (and, by the way, the further translations will be entrusted to Julio Schneider himself ;-).
The reprint of the Ken Parker's first book
And it's not all... As can be see in the Ken Parker Collezione #1 back cover image, it's announced nothing less than the return of the first adventures of Rifle Comprido, in a reprint of the 70's issues - with the translation entrusted, this time as well, to Julio Schneider - in a sumptuous book-format (15,5 x 21 cm) by CLUQ, printed by the new publishing house Tendencia Editorial, edited by the keen Wagner Augusto, already publisher of others "kenparkerian" successes. "Rifle Comprido is back! The first character's adventures! Ken Parker, special issue, limited circulation".And we hope that this new, very interesting publishing adventure, will succeed!