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by Francesco Manetti
translation by Luca Santini

Who created him? Carlo Ambrosini, one of the most esteemed drawers of Ken Parker and Dylan Dog series, first presents Napoleone in September, 1997. Ambrosini had already given a proof of his maturity as a drawer illustrating two stories by Nico Macchia in the "Orient Express" magazine in 1984. In recent years, Ambrosini has also written the subject of "Margherite", a short story to be found in Dylan Dog's second giant album; moreover, he has written the texts of "Dietro il sipario", DD 97, and "Il guardiano della memoria", DD 108, two albums belonging to the regular series. These three stories already show those themes and oneiric atmospheres which are to become Napoleone's typical features.

Napoleone, which was at first intended as an eight-number, bimonthly mini-series, immediately wins the favours of its readers - n.1 is quickly sold out, so that SBE has readily to provide a new imprint. This should-be mini-series will then become a true, still bimonthly series, starting from January, 1999. Ambrosini is now flanked by new collaborators: Diego Cajelli, here at his first experience as a scenarist (his first album is "Piccoli banditi", NP 10) and two prestigious drawers, Paolo Bacilieri (see "La lucertola e il serpente", NP 9) and soon Marco Nizzoli, too. Among the many other collaborators, Pasquale Del Vecchio, who has been working with Ambrosini since the very first album, deserves a special mention.

Who's he? Napoleone, whose physical features do imitate Marlon Brando's ones (as a young man, of course) appears to be the quiet, somehow slightly introvert owner of Astrid Hotel, a small boarding-house in Baudelaire Street, Geneva. His two only hobbies are entomology (viz. the study of Coleoptera, of which he has a rich collection) and criminology. In spite of his quietness, Napoleone is very often involved in crime stories events, what with hazard, what with his being a friend of Chief Constable Dumas. However, the stories one finds in these albums cannot be properly seen as traditional detective stories. In most cases, Napoleone succeeds in finding the final solution of his "enquiries" only thanks to the clues and interventions issuing from the so called "upper level dimension", where mankind's collective unconsciousness is supposed to make itself concrete.

Up to now, Napoleone's past life is dealt with in n.9. In this album some flashbacks lead us to discover the reasons why Napoleone, who had been working for many years as a policeman by the Italian Embassy in Addis Abeba, made up his mind to leave Africa and to come back to the "white faces" world.

Who are his friends? Apart from the above quoted Chief Constable Dumas, Napoleone does not seem to be surrounded by a large number of true friends. Yet he is constantly in touch with three oneiric creatures, a kind of odd, ackward guardian angels whom he alone is able to see: Lucrezia, Caliendo and Scintillone. Napoleone also has an elective affinity with Allegra, a nice young girl who like him can have admittance to the "upper level dimension" through her own sprite, Robespierre; Napoleone first met her in "Storia di Allegra", NP 4, and then again in "Il Signore delle Ombre", NP 8. As far as women are concerned, Napoleone, though not a Dylan Dog-like, tireless tombeur de femmes, gets along quite honourably. In the end, there is Rose, the housekeeper of Astrid Hotel, and also Boulet, Constable Dumas' queer assistant, who appear in almost all the albums of the series like Dumas and the three sprites.

Who are his enemies? Napoleone's enemies are generally all the criminals he has to face in the different stories. Among these, the Cardinal stands out, whom he met in the very first album of the series: Napoleone had already had something to do with this character during his stay in Africa (see n.9). Although the Cardinal is said to have died at the end of the story, in n.8, we should be hardly surprised at his coming back...


Carlo Ambrosini
in 1997

Carlo Ambrosini

Carlo Ambrosini

Carlo Ambrosini
from n.1

Sergio Bonelli Editore
Copyright (c) 1997-99
all right reserved worldwide


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