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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Virgilio Muzzi (1923-2010)

Artist Virgilio Muzzi died in Codogno, Italy, on Thursday, 25 February, at the age of 86.

Born in Codogno, in the province of Lodi in the Lombardy region of north west Italy, on 13 June 1923, Muzzi began working as an apprentice in the studio of a painter in 1944 before turning to comic strips with the story "Lotta nell'ombra" which ran in Audace, edited by Tea Bonelli, between May and August 1946. In the late 1940s his work appeared contemporarily in Del Duca, Grand Hotel and Albi dell'Intrepido. In 1950-51 he worked for a Brazilian publisher, drawing romantic covers and illustrations for Incanto. Another contribution to the publications of Bonelli was "La leggenda del 4 agosto" in the February 1951 issue of Collana Ragno d'Oro.

In 1953 he drew 12 issues of ‘‘Cagliostro’’, written by Andrea Lavazzolo, for publishers Dardo; ‘‘il Cavaliere nero’’ by Gian Luigi Bonelli was published by Audace; in 1956 he drew 21 issues of ‘‘Rama, l’Apache’’ from scripts by Franco Bagnoli for Dardo.

In 1957, Muzzi began working for Britain where he drew "Dick Turpin", "Dick Daring", "Kit Carson" and various other strips for Cowboy Picture Library and Thriller Picture Library, (some stories being reprinted in Italy by Dardo) and episodes of ‘‘Giubba Rossa’’ for Edizioni Araldo in 1959. At the same time he was drawing ‘‘Ragazzi coraggiosi’’ for Collana Audace.

In 1960 he drew his first adventure starring ‘‘Tex Willer’’ for Città d’Oro, and his work on the strip could be found in Tex Gigante until 1976. Later work included "Il serpente d'argento" in Collana Rodeo (1977), written by Pier Carpi, and three volumes of Mister No.

Muzzi was a artist of great precision and noted for being chronically slow with his work. It is said that during the Christmas of 1968 he was locked in the publishers' office in Via Buonarroti in order to complete the latest episode of Tex in time. He was a close friend of Mario Uggeri, with whom he often collaborated on his work for the UK.

In 1995, aged 72, he was awarded a local honour by the Pro Loco for the feast of St. Biagio, patron saint of Codogno.

(* Pics above taken from the Tex Forum where other examples of Muzzi's work for Tex can be found.)

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