Gino D'Antonio, one of the finest artists of comics and much beloved in his native Italy, died on 24 December at the age of 79. Born Luigi D'Antonio in Milan on 16 March 1927, D'Antonio began drawing professionally at the age of 20 and quickly established himself in Italian comics Il Vittorioso and Mondadori. He was one of the first Italian artists to work for the thriving British market in the mid-1950s, drawing for Junior Mirror, Junior Express, Eagle and Boys' World via Cosmopolitan Artists and Creazioni D'Ami. He was one of the best artists used on the Fleetway war libraries, establishing the look for them followed by many of his D'Ami colleagues.
D'Antonio continued to draw for British comics throughout the 1960s, producing strips for Look and Learn and Tell Me Why. In 1967, he launched his most famous series, 'Storia del West', which ran for many years in Europe.
I had the pleasure of briefly corresponding with D'Antonio in the early 1990s (his English was pretty good) and compiling information about his work in the UK for the Italian magazine Fumetto a couple of years ago. D'Antonio's work was amazing and I was looking through copies of Tell Me Why only the other day when I came across the above breathtaking illustration (from an adaptation of Quo Vadis?). His work appeared in the UK for over 15 years and he deserves to be better known.