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MARVEL SECRET WORK 1998 2016


MARVEL SECRET WORK 1998 2016


“Per grazia di Dio sono quel che sono.” 1 Cor. 15,10

MARVEL SECRET WORK DELL’OTTO (1998 - 2016) A cura di Gabriele Dell’Otto, Anuar Ayoub e Daniele Magrelli Prefazione di Marco Marcello Lupoi Testi e commenti alle immagini: Gabriele Dell’Otto Traduzioni (inglese, francese): Sonia Matta, Cécile Magné Redazione: Anuar Ayoub, Daniele Magrelli Progetto grafico e impaginazione: Daniele Magrelli Prima edizione: ottobre 2016 I curatori ringraziano: Paolo Accolti Gil, Claude Aujaud, Dario Baldi, Francesco Bazzana, George Belliard, Brian Michael Bendis Simone Bianchi, Thorsten Brümmel, Steve Burdo, Annalisa Califano, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Ines Cattaneo C.B. Cebulski, David Ceci, Sèbastian Dallain, Werther Dell’Edera, Walter De Marchi, Maurizio De Michele Don Giuseppe Donavaro, Beatrice Doti, Marc Hauser, Arno Lapeyre, Matteo Losso, Anne Magné, Marco Marcello Lupoi, Lucio Masi, Skeleton Monster, Alfredo Pietrolucci, Paolo Ponti, Andrea Pucci, Achim Reinecke, Anna Rodella, Ciro Scognamiglio, Francesco Vasè, Tony Verdini, Claudio Villa www.octavalegio.it Tesla S.r.l. Pulp’s Comics


PREFACE by Marco Marcello Lupoi It was the late 90s and I was at the comic book convention in Rome, in my booth, when on a dark and stormy night this 25-year-old Roman guy approached me to show me some of his sketches. Now, you must know that I always feel a bit embarrassed when aspiring artists come to me. I have always worked mostly on the translation and re-edition of products already created by other editors, so I could have Mona Lisa right in front of me but find myself in the difficult spot of not knowing what to do with its Leonardo. Well, on that night in Rome, to my utmost surprise, I was confronted with what one might define as the comic book version of the discovery of a Joconde. Both the comic strips and the illustrations that he showed me were perfect, they seemed to be the work of a professional and well-experienced comic book artist. I remember some pages about Batman being so precise and conveying such a great atmosphere that they could have easily passed for Bernie Wrightson’s work. For a moment, I thought it had to be a joke and the guy was showing me the work of some famous artist. However, that was not the case. They were indeed original sketches created by that very same young man, whose name was Gabriele Dell’Otto. I cannot remember very well what I said to him. It was probably something like “Congratulations, they are beautiful and you could pass for Bernie Wrightson in these, but how come you are not working at a professional level yet?” I also do not recall the exact sequence of events that took place right after the convention. Anyway, Gabriele met Tony and Sebastien, from our editorial staff, and we started talking about what kind of works we could make him do. It would have been crazy to waste so much talent, telling him “go talk to other editors”. His artistic essence was perfect for the Marvel universe. To be fair, at that time there was a higher level of homogeneity among styles and Gabriele, with his precise paintings, was part of the little group of “painters” whose major representatives were Alex Ross, George Pratt, Bill Sienkiewicz and Dave McKean. However, his style was much more similar to Ross’s realistic one than to the expressionistic and sketchy one of the other three. He had that particular “something” that made him especially effective. Those were complicated times for us, the American division of Marvel (to which we also belonged!) was going through a tumultuous period. If, on the one hand, this gave us more freedom, on the other hand, it was incredibly difficult to involve the USA editors in the di-

scovery of this young talent. Therefore, we decided to entrust Gabriele with the realization of some special album covers for different countries, but also posters, lithographs, illustrations. We had a certain amount of freedom, so we put it to good use. Even if we were not able to make Gabriele draw stories, we could at least give him some visibility through that little amount of material we had the possibility to produce. Gabriele surprised us right away. His images were (are) dramatic, there seemed to be real acting going on, and conveyed a strong sense of atmosphere to the viewer. Every image is able to surprise you; you do not find poses or situations seen a million times before. There is no tendency to “mention” the work of other artists in one way or the other; characters enter the scene, of the cover or of the illustration, and may have a distant look on their faces or an expression full of defiance, anger, pain, aggressiveness. Either way, they will have the right expression at the right time. It was thanks to David Mack, and with the complicity of our French editorial staff, that Gabriele arrived at Marvel, where he created dozens of covers with an ever-growing illustrative technique, but also a number of comic books. He showed his ability to bring that same theatre from the cover right to the comic book, by making the characters move not only within each strip but also from a strip to another. He also showed a strong sense of atmosphere and design. At the end, if you think about it, his Secret War (singular, not plural) became the opening act of the Bendis era, he created a character like Daisy Johnson (portrayed on the little screen by Chloe Bennet in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and he also had a central role in a decade of stories. We also must not forget about Sex and Violence, Avenging Spider-Man, New Avengers Annual, Family Business… Every comic book of his, whether short or long, a milestone of the continuity or “divertissement”, has been an event. We often had to wait quite a bit for them to come out, but they have never disappointed. Even to this day, every time I see a new cover made by Gabriele, or I hear about a new comic book he is going to draw, my mind goes back to that night in Rome, almost 20 years ago. Then I think of how sometimes it can all start like that, very easily, in an instant, surrounded by squealing people, cosplayers, comic books everywhere, within the playful chaos of our work. MML

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PREFAZIONE

PRÉFACE

di Marco Marcello Lupoi

de Marco Marcello Lupoi

La vulgata recita che era la fine degli anni 90 e io ero alla fiera del fumetto di Roma quando in una notte buia e tempestosa, mentre ero allo stand, mi si avvicinò questo ragazzo romano di 25 anni per farmi vedere delle prove di disegno. Ora, voi dovete sapere che mi sento sempre un po’ in imbarazzo quando si presentano degli aspiranti disegnatori: ho sempre lavorato soprattutto nella traduzione e riedizione dei prodotti già creati da altri editori, quindi posso avere davanti la Gioconda, ma mi troverei nella difficile posizione di non sapere cosa far fare al Leonardo di turno. Beh, quella sera a Roma, con mia somma sorpresa, mi trovai davanti la versione fumettistica della scoperta di una Gioconda. Le tavole e le illustrazioni che mi fece vedere il ragazzo erano perfette, sembravano opera di un disegnatore navigato e professionista. Ricordo alcune pagine di Batman che parevano uscite dalla matita di Bernie Wrightson, tanto erano precise a cariche di atmosfera. Pensai per un momento che fosse uno scherzo, che il ragazzo mi avesse portato l’opera di un qualche autore affermato. Invece no. Erano prove originali. Erano opera di quel ragazzo, di Gabriele Dell’Otto. Non ricordo bene cosa gli dissi. Forse qualcosa tipo “complimenti, sono bellissime, qua sembri Bernie Wrightson, ma come mai non stai ancora lavorando professionalmente?” Poi, dopo la fiera, non ricordo bene la sequenza degli eventi. Gabriele conobbe Tony e Sebastien, della nostra redazione, si iniziò a parlare di cosa avremmo potuto fargli fare. Ci sembrava assurdo sprecare tanto talento, dirgli “va’ a parlare con altri editori”. Il suo spirito artistico era ideale per il mondo Marvel. Certo, all’epoca c’era una maggiore omologazione negli stili rispetto a oggi, e Gabriele con i suoi dipinti così precisi si collocava nel piccolo gruppo di “painter” di cui Alex Ross, George Pratt, Bill Sienkiewicz e Dave McKean erano i maggiori rappresentanti, ma riusciva a stare nello spettro più dalla parte realistica di Ross che da quella umorale e schizzata degli altri. Aveva quindi un “quid” particolare che lo rendeva particolarmente efficace. Quelli erano anni complicati per noi, Marvel in America (cui appartenevamo!) era in un periodo turbolento, e se da un lato questo ci lasciava le mani libere, dall’altro era decisamente difficile coinvolgere la redazione USA nella scoperta di questo giovane talento. Nacque quindi l’idea di fare realizzare a Gabriele delle copertine speciali per i nostri albi di diversi paesi, e anche poster, litografie, illustrazioni. Potevamo farlo abbastanza liberamente, e usammo quella prerogativa. Non eravamo in grado di far disegnare a Gabriele delle storie, ma potevamo dargli visibilità con quel poco di materiale che avevamo la possibilità di generare. E Gabriele ci stupì subito. Le sue immagini erano (sono) drammatiche, recitate, piene di atmosfera. Ognuna ti sorprende, non vedi pose o situazioni viste e riviste. Non c’è citazionismo, i personaggi entrano sulla scena, quella della tavola, dell’illustrazione, e possono avere lo sguardo perso nel vuoto, o un volto di sfida, rabbia, dolore, grinta. Comunque, avranno l’espressione giusta al momento giusto. Fu grazie a David Mack, e di nuovo con la complicità della nostra redazione francese, che Gabriele arrivò alla Marvel, dove ha realizzato dozzine di copertine, con una tecnica illustrativa sempre in crescita, ma anche una serie di storie a fumetti. Qui ha dimostrato non solo di sapere portare il senso teatrale dalla copertina alla tavola, facendo muovere i personaggi non solo in ogni vignetta ma anche dall’una altra, ma anche di avere senso dell’atmosfera, del design. E alla fine il suo Secret War (singolare, non plurale) se ci pensate è diventato l’atto di apertura dell’era Bendis, ha creato un personaggio come Daisy Johnson (portato sul piccolo schermo da Chloe Bennet in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), è stato un ingranaggio fondamentale in un decennio di storie. E non dimentichiamo Sex and Violence, Avenging Spider-Man, New Avengers Annual, Affari di famiglia… Ogni sua storia a fumetti, breve o lunga che sia stata, pietra cardine della continuity o “divertissement”, è stata un evento, spesso si è fatta attendere a lungo ma non ha mai deluso. E ancora oggi, quando vedo una nuova copertina di Gabriele, o so di un nuovo fumetto che disegnerà, penso a quella sera a Roma di quasi 20 anni fa e a come a volte tutto possa iniziare così, semplicemente, in un attimo, tra ragazzi vocianti, cosplayer, fumetti da tutte le parti, nel caos giocoso del nostro lavoro. MML

Tout commence par une nuit sombre et orageuse à la fin des années 90. Je me trouvais à mon stand au Festival de la bande dessinée de Rome quand un jeune homme de 25 ans s’est approché de moi pour me montrer ses croquis. M’occupant principalement de la traduction et de la réédition de contenus créés par d’autres éditeurs, je dois dire que je suis toujours un peu gêné quand des dessinateurs en herbe viennent me voir; je pourrais avoir Mona Lisa devant moi, je ne saurais que faire de son Léonard. Cette nuit-là, à mon grand étonnement, ce fut la découverte d’une Joconde – ou tout du moins de son équivalent en bande dessinée. Les planches et les illustrations que le jeune Romain m’avait montrées étaient parfaites, elles semblaient l’œuvre d’un dessinateur d’une grande expérience et d’un grand professionnalisme. Je me rappelle que certaines pages sur Batman étaient d’une telle précision et imprégnées d’une atmosphère si riche qu’elles auraient pu avoir été dessinées par Bernie Wrightson. J’ai alors cru à une plaisanterie et qu’on m’avait montré l’œuvre de quelque artiste célèbre. Mais il n’en était rien. C’était bien des croquis originaux créés par ce jeune homme luimême, Gabriele Dell’Otto. Je ne me souviens pas précisément de ce que je lui ai dit. Probablement quelque chose comme: “Bravo, c’est très beau. Ça pourrait passer pour du Bernie Wrightson. Mais comment se fait-il que tu ne sois pas déjà un professionnel?” Je crois que Gabriele a ensuite rencontré Tony et Sébastien à notre rédaction, et nous avons commencé à réfléchir aux projets que nous aurions pu lui confier. Ça nous semblait absurde de laisser partir un tel talent en lui disant d’aller voir d’autres éditeurs. Son sens artistique était parfait pour l’univers Marvel. À l’époque où il existait une plus grande homogénéité de style, Gabriele, avec ses illustrations si précises, faisait partie du petit groupe dont Alex Ross, George Pratt, Bill Sienkiewicz et Dave McKean étaient les principaux représentants mais il était plus proche du réalisme de Ross que de l’expressionnisme des trois autres. Il avait ce petit quelque chose en plus qui le rendait particulièrement efficace. C’étaient des années compliquées pour nous. La branche américaine de Marvel (dont nous faisions partie!) rencontrait des turbulences. Bien qu’il en découlât pour nous une plus grande liberté, il était impossible de faire participer la rédaction américaine à la découverte de ce jeune talent. Nous avons alors décidé de confier à Gabriele la réalisation de couvertures spéciales pour différents pays, ainsi que des posters, des lithographies et des illustrations. Nous avons mis à profit cette marge de liberté dont nous bénéficions. Même si nous n’avions pas la possibilité de faire dessiner à Gabriele des histoires, du moins pouvions-nous lui offrir une certaine visibilité à travers les contenus conçus chez nous. Gabriele nous a immédiatement surpris. Ses images, dramatiques, étaient comme jouées par des acteurs, et une atmosphère riche s’en dégageait. Chaque image a la capacité de vous surprendre; vous n’y trouverez pas de poses convenues ni de situations déjà rencontrées des millions de fois. Il n’y a pas de références à l’œuvre d’autres artistes. Les personnages entrent en scène, sur la couverture ou sur les planches, et peuvent arborer une expression lointaine ou bien un air de défi, de colère, de douleur ou d’agressivité. Dans tous les cas, ce sera l’expression juste, au bon moment. C’est grâce à David Mack, et avec la complicité de notre rédaction française, que Gabriele a rejoint Marvel et a réalisé des dizaines de couvertures ainsi qu’un certain nombre de comics, avec une technique en constante évolution. On retrouve dans les planches la même dramatisation que dans les couvertures: ses personnages bougent non seulement dans un même dessin mais aussi d’un dessin à l’autre. Il a également su faire preuve d’un grand sens de l’atmosphère et du design. En définitive, si l’on y réfléchit, sa Secret War (au singulier) a marqué le début de l’ère Bendis. Il a créé le personnage de Daisy Johnson (interprété pour le petit écran par Chloe Bennet dans Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), et il a tenu un rôle clé pendant une décennie de récits. Comment oublier par ailleurs Sex and Violence, Avenging Spider-Man, New Avengers Annual, Family Business… Chacun de ses comics, qu’il soit court ou long, qu’il s’inscrive dans la continuité ou le divertissement, a constitué un événement. Et même quand ils se sont souvent fait attendre, ils n’ont jamais déçu. Aujourd’hui encore, lorsque je vois une couverture réalisée par Gabriele, ou que j’entends parler d’un nouveau comics qu’il va dessiner, je repense à cette nuit à Rome, il y a près de vingt ans. Et je me dis que parfois tout peut commencer comme ça, simplement, en un instant, parmi le tumulte et les cris, les cosplayers, les B.D., dans le chaos ludique de notre travail. MML

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MARVEL IMPACT: L’UOMO RAGNO POSTER MAGAZINE first publication: Italy (September, 1998)

As many people know, my first professional approach to the comics world was in 1998, during an Italian comic convention, Expocartoon, where I met M.M. Lupoi. This illustration was my test bed after a portfolio review. Marvel Italia asked me to draw something related to the “clone saga”. This is the result. I was surprised to see this appreciated from both readers and reviewers. Il mio primo contatto lavorativo nel mondo dei fumetti, come molti sanno, fu nel 1998 a una Expocartoon, dove conobbi M.M. Lupoi. Questa illustrazione fu il mio banco di prova dopo un portfolio review. La Marvel Italia mi chiese di realizzare un’illustrazione legata alla “saga del clone”. Questo è il risultato. Con mio sommo stupore il mio esordio colpì favorevolmente sia il pubblico che la critica. Comme beaucoup le savent, mon premier contact professionnel avec le monde de la bande dessinée a eu lieu en 1998 à Expocartoon, où j’ai rencontré M.M. Lupoi. C’est avec cette illustration que j’ai fait mes preuves, après le passage en revue de mon portfolio. Par la suite, Marvel Italie m’a demandé de faire un dessin lié à la “saga du clone”. Ceci en est le résultat. À mon grand étonnement, mes débuts ont favorablement impressionné les lecteurs et les critiques.

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THOR (LITHOGRAPHY) first publication: Italy (1998) I can still remember when Panini called, asking me to make these three lithographs for their European label. I was dumbfounded but so very excited that I agreed straightaway. Being new to the world of illustration, I was even more shocked after Tony Verdini, the former editor of the German division, asked me if I wanted to go to Modena to sign my lithographs. I thought, “Does he even have to ask!?” I do not recall clearly the rest of the conversation, but what I do recall is how that kind man insisted on paying me for each signature. That was the moment I started realizing that things were getting serious and that, if they were insisting so much on paying me, I was probably entitled to start thinking it was a real job! Ricordo ancora quando la Panini mi chiamò per chiedermi di realizzare queste tre litografie per la sua divisione europea. Incredulo ed emozionatissimo, naturalmente, accettai immediatamente. Il mio stupore da novello illustratore fu ancora più grande quando l’editor tedesco di allora, Tony Verdini, mi chiamò per chiedermi se volevo andare a Modena a firmare le litografie. Pensai, “E c’è da chiederlo!?” Non ricordo perfettamente come proseguì la telefonata, ma non ho dimenticato che quel signore così gentile insistette nel volermi pagare per ogni firma. Compresi allora che la storia si stava facendo seria e che, se insistevano così tanto nel volermi pagare, potevo anche cominciare a pensare che si trattasse di un lavoro vero! Je me souviens encore du moment où Panini m’a appelé pour me demander de réaliser ces trois lithographies pour son label européen. Tout excité et incrédule, j’ai bien entendu accepté tout de suite. En tant qu’illustrateur débutant, je fus encore plus surpris quand Tony Verdini, l’éditeur allemand de l’époque, me demanda si je voulais aller à Modène pour signer mes lithographies. J’ai pensé: “Ça va sans dire!?” Si j’ai oublié le reste de la conversation téléphonique, je me rappelle en revanche très bien que cet homme si gentil a insisté pour me payer chaque signature. J’ai compris alors que cela devenait sérieux et que s’ils insistaient pour me payer, je pouvais commencer à penser qu’il s’agissait d’un vrai travail!

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WOLVERINE (LITHOGRAPHY) first publication: Italy (1998)

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SPIDER-MAN (LITHOGRAPHY) first publication: Italy (1998)

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DER SENSATIONELLE SPIDER-MAN 18 first publication: Germany (December, 1999)

colors: Luca Poli

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X-MEN 37 (ANGOULÊME VARIANT COVER) first publication: France (February, 2000)

WOLVERINE 33 (Germany, April, 2000)

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X-MEN 40 first publication: Germany (May, 2000)

In the beginning, I worked almost exclusively for the European division of Marvel, France and Germany to be exact. This Angel cover was the first one I did for the X-Men series. Out of all the layouts I had completed, which we are unable to see because unfortunately they were lost, the editor chose this one because he saw a great emotional impact in the pose. Tony’s guidelines, being always clear and to the point, were of incredible help, especially for someone like me whose career was just starting! I primi anni di lavoro furono quasi esclusivamente per la divisione europea della Marvel, Francia e Germania per la precisione. Questa copertina di Angelo fu la prima che realizzai per la testata X-Men. Fra i vari layout che preparai, e che non possiamo vedere perché purtroppo sono andati persi, l’editor scelse questo per l’impatto emotivo della posa. Le direttive di Tony erano sempre molto chiare e questo, soprattutto per me che ero agli inizi, fu di grande aiuto! Durant les premières années, j’ai travaillé presque exclusivement pour la branche européenne de Marvel, plus précisément pour le label français et allemand. Cette couverture d’Angel a été ma première couverture pour le magazine X-Men. Parmi les différents dessins que j’avais faits, et qui ont malheureusement été perdus, l’éditeur a choisi celui-ci pour le grand impact émotionnel suscité par sa pose. Les directives de Tony, toujours très claires, ont été fondamentales pour quelqu’un comme moi qui débutais! 13


WOLVERINE 35 (VARIANT COVER) first publication: Germany (June, 2000) The most exciting part at that time, especially when I was dealing with superheroes I had never drawn or paint before, was the studying process. That entailed studying their physiognomy, costumes, and anatomy, to make each character my own. Once understood their characteristics, I wanted to present them to the public through a single image that could capture their essence. For instance, Wolverine’s animality has always been my favorite characteristic of his to portray, right from the start. La parte più entusiasmante dei primi anni, soprattutto le prime volte che mi approcciavo a supereroi mai disegnati o dipinti prima, era proprio quella di studiarne la fisionomia, i costumi, l’anatomia e cercare di fare mio il personaggio. Capirne le caratteristiche e riproporle al pubblico attraverso un’unica immagine che ne fotografasse l’essenza. La ferinità di Wolverine, per esempio, è stata fin dal principio la caratteristica che preferivo riproporre nelle immagini a lui dedicate. À mes débuts, surtout quand il m’arrivait de dessiner ou de peindre des super-héros pour la première fois, j’aimais particulièrement étudier au préalable la physionomie, les costumes et l’anatomie de ces personnages pour m’approprier chacun d’entre eux. Mon objectif était de comprendre leurs caractéristiques de manière à proposer au public une seule image capable d’en capturer l’essence. L’animalité de Wolverine, par exemple, a été dès le départ la caractéristique prédominante que j’ai souhaitée transmettre à travers les images que je lui ai consacrées.

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SPIDER-MAN (ERLANGEN POSTER MAGAZINE) first publication: Germany (June, 2000) For many years, I had been exercising with acrylics and brushes… imagine my surprise when the German division of Marvel wanted me to make an inked Spider-Man cover! I worked hard and tried my best, doing at the same time some inked covers for the French market, but I was not thrilled with the result. Therefore, for about a year and a half, I focused solely on the art of inking. I started taking inspiration from the styles of different artists, such as Hermann, Castellini, Mignola, Toppi, Nowlan, Bisley. Per tanti anni mi ero esercitato con acrilici e pennelli, immaginate la mia sorpresa quando la Marvel Germania mi chiese una copertina di Spider-Man inchiostrata! Mi impegnai per fare del mio meglio realizzando anche delle copertine per il mercato francese, ma il risultato non mi esaltava, così per circa un anno e mezzo mi dedicai esclusivamente all’arte dell’inchiostrazione. Presi ispirazione dallo stile di diversi artisti quali Hermann, Castellini, Mignola, Toppi, Nowlan, Bisley. Après avoir pratiqué pendant des années avec l’acrylique et les pinceaux, imaginez ma surprise quand la branche allemande de Marvel m’a demandé une couverture de Spider-Man à l’encre! Je me suis efforcé de faire de mon mieux, tout en réalisant par ailleurs des couvertures pour le marché français. Peu convaincu par le résultat, je me suis par la suite totalement consacré au dessin à l’encre pendant près d’un an et demi. J’ai puisé mon inspiration dans les styles de différents artistes, tels que Hermann, Castellini, Mignola, Toppi, Nowlan, Bisley.

colors: Luca Poli

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MARVEL EXKLUSIV 29: DIE WOLVERINE AKTEN first publication: Germany (October, 2000) I was in Essen, and seeing that I did not speak either English or German, there was a very helpful friend/translator to keep me company. I remember a very young fan coming to my stand to ask me something about Wolverine: “Do you know when they are going to put back adamantium in Wolverine’s bones?” I was quite baffled, so my immediate response was “Why? When did they have it removed!?” The boy went away disappointed, while probably realizing an ugly truth concerning illustrators, they do not necessarily know everything about the characters they draw! Mi trovavo al festival di Essen, non parlavo ne l’inglese né tanto meno il tedesco e di conseguenza mi avvalevo della disponibilità di un amico/traduttore. Ricordo che un fan molto giovane mi fece una domanda: “Sa per caso quando rimetteranno l’adamantio nelle ossa di Wolverine?” Rimasi stupito e la mia risposta fu: “Perché? Quando gliel’hanno tolto!?” Il ragazzo andò via deluso, realizzando un’amara verità: spesso i disegnatori non sanno tutto sui personaggi che disegnano! J’étais à un festival à Essen, et comme je ne parlais ni l’anglais ni l’allemand, j’avais à mon côté un ami/traducteur très serviable. Je me rappelle qu’un très jeune fan m’a posé une question à propos de Wolverine: “Savez-vous quand ils vont remettre l’adamantium dans les os de Wolverine?” Je suis resté tellement étonné que ma réponse immédiate a été: “Pourquoi? Quand le lui a-t-on retiré!?” Le garçon est reparti très déçu, en prenant conscience d’une très grande vérité: il peut arriver que les dessinateurs ne sachent pas tout sur les personnages qu’ils dessinent!

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DER SENSATIONELLE SPIDER-MAN 28 (VARIANT COVER) first publication: Germany (October, 2000)

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MARVEL VISIONS, COMIC ACTION (ART BOOK) first publication: German (October, 2000)

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I had made this transformation of the Hulk for my personal pleasure. I tried to pitch it as a cover for many years, except, the editors were never on board and thought it was too strong. Realizzai questa trasformazione di Hulk per mio piacere personale e per anni la proposi come copertina, ma fu sempre respinta dagli editor perché la ritenevano un’immagine troppo forte. J’ai réalisé cette transformation de Hulk pour mon plaisir personnel. Pendant plusieurs d’années, je l’ai proposée comme couverture, mais les éditeurs l’ont toujours refusée. L’image leur semblait trop forte.

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All the sketches, drawings and paintings here and in the following pages were made especially for the Marvel Vision. It is the first art book the German division of Marvel published to get people acquainted with my art, it was especially addressed to those that were already appreciating my first attempts in the world of comics. Tutti gli schizzi, i disegni e i dipinti che trovate in queste pagine furono realizzati appositamente per il Marvel Vision. È il primo art book che la Marvel Germania pubblicò per far conoscere il mio lavoro a coloro che avevano iniziato da poco a seguire i miei primi passi nel mondo dei fumetti. Tous les croquis, dessins et peintures que l’on trouve ici et dans les pages suivantes ont été réalisés pour Marvel Vision. C’est le premier artbook que la branche allemande de Marvel a publié pour faire connaître mon art à tous ceux qui avaient déjà commencé à suivre mes premiers pas dans le monde des comics. 20


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X-MEN 46 first publication: Germany (November, 2000)

In these pages, you can find the images I created especially for some X-Men covers just as the first movie about our Mutants was being released. I had fun using the actors’ features, given that I am also a huge Singer fan. The only serious problem, at the time, was to acquire the necessary photographic material. We were still at the dawn of the web, so there was not much to choose from on the net and, most importantly, the movie had yet to come out. In queste pagine sono raccolte le illustrazioni che realizzai per alcune copertine degli X-Men in concomitanza con l’uscita del primo film dei Mutanti. Considerando che sono un grande fan dei film di Singer fu molto divertente usare le fisionomie degli attori protagonisti. L’unico problema, all’epoca, fu recuperare la documentazione fotografica. Eravano agli albori di internet e non si trovava granché in rete e, soprattutto, il film non era ancora uscito nelle sale. Dans ces pages, vous pouvez voir les images réalisées pour certaines couvertures des X-Men à l’occasion de la sortie au cinéma du premier film sur les Mutants. Véritable fan des films de Singer, cela a été particulièrement amusant pour moi d’utiliser la physionomie des acteurs. Toutefois, récupérer le matériel photographique s’est révélé très difficile. Internet en était encore à ses balbutiements, il y avait peu de choix et, surtout, le film n’était pas encore sorti au cinéma.

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WOLVERINE 40 first publication: Germany (November, 2000)

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WOLVERINE 41 first publication: Germany (December, 2000)

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X-MEN 47 first publication: Germany (December, 2000)

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L’UOMO RAGNO 309 first publication: Italy (January, 2001)

In those years, having plenty of free time between commissions, I liked to experiment a lot and create illustrations for pure enjoyment. This image with Vulture is indeed one of them. In this illustration, we see that the webs are still attached to Spider-Man’s wrists. At the time, I was doing some character study, so I imagined that his webs, after being thrown, remained attached until deemed necessary, only to be cut off as soon as he had to use new ones. In this particular instance, I imagined Spider-Man launching himself against his enemy, creating some sort of bungee jumping effect.

I primi anni, avendo ancora parecchio tempo libero tra una richiesta lavorativa e l’altra, sperimentavo tantissimo e realizzavo illustrazioni per il puro piacere di disegnare. Questa immagine con l’Avvoltoio è proprio una di quelle. In questa illustrazione potete notare le ragnatele ancora attaccate ai polsi di Spider-Man. Questo perché stavo cercando di studiare il personaggio e immaginai che le ragnatele che lanciava dai polsi non venissero semplicemente espulse, ma rimanessero attaccate il tempo necessario per poi venire recise nel momento in cui doveva utilizzarne delle altre. In questo caso realizzai uno Spider-Man lanciato contro l’avversario in una sorta di bungee jumping.

Les premières années, comme j’avais encore souvent du temps libre entre chaque commande, j’expérimentais beaucoup en réalisant des illustrations exclusivement pour mon plaisir personnel. Cette image avec le Vautour est l’une d’entre elles. Ici on peut voir les toiles encore attachées aux poignets de Spider-Man. À cette époque, je faisais beaucoup d’études de caractères, et j’ai donc imaginé qu’au lieu d’être tout simplement expulsées, les toiles lancées par ses poignets restaient attachées le temps nécessaire et qu’elles étaient sectionnées dès qu’il en avait besoin de nouvelles. Dans ce cas précis, j’ai imaginé Spider-Man qui se lançait contre son adversaire en créant un effet de saut à l’élastique. 27


X-MEN 49 B (VARIANT COVER) first publication: France (February, 2001)

This Phoenix is the first painted cover I made for the French division of Marvel! As I said before, when I first approach a character, I like the idea of being able to capture its essence. The inspiration for this cover came to me while I was going through a magazine. I happened to see a photo of a beautiful female fencer, who seemed to be stuck in a scream halfway between joy and anger, so I thought it was the perfect inspiration for an image dedicated to Jean Grey! Questa Fenice è la prima copertina che mi è fu commissionata dalla Marvel Francia! Come ho già detto, quando mi approccio per la prima volta a un personaggio, provo a catturarne l’essenza. L’ispirazione per questa illustrazione arrivò sfogliando una rivista in cui trovai una foto di una bellissima atleta di scherma, immortalata in un urlo tra gioia e rabbia. Pensai che fosse perfetta per un’immagine dedicata a Jean Grey! Cette Phoenix est la première couverture que j’aie peinte pour le compte du label français de Marvel! Comme je l’ai dit précédemment, lorsque j’approche un personnage pour la première fois, j’aime réussir à en capturer l’essence. L’idée pour cette couverture m’est venue en feuilletant une revue qui contenait la photo d’une très belle athlète d’escrime. Elle semblait fixée dans un cri, entre joie et colère. Cela m’a tout de suite paru l’inspiration parfaite pour une image consacrée à Jean Grey!

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MARVEL EXKLUSIV 31: THE PUNISHER PSYCHOVILLE first publication: Germany (February, 2001)

This was in the 90s, at the newspaper agents, one could find several versions of the Punisher made by famous artists (at the time, I had no idea libraries specialized in comic books even existed). Since the beginning of my career, I had always focused on trying to give my version of the characters, so that my style could be recognizable even without neglecting those classic features we all love. Erano gli anni 90 e nelle edicole imperversavano versioni del Punitore realizzate da diversi autori famosi (all’epoca neanche sapevo che esistessero le fumetterie). Fin dagli esordi il mio obiettivo è sempre stato quello di realizzare una mia versione dei personaggi dove fosse riconoscibile il mio stile personale ma sempre con l’obiettivo di rimanere fedele ai canoni classici a cui siamo tutti affezionati. C’étaient les années 90 et, dans les kiosques à journaux, il y avait plusieurs versions du Punisher réalisées par des auteurs célèbres (à l’époque, j’ignorais entièrement l’existence de librairies spécialisées en bandes dessinées). Mon but a toujours été d’exprimer une version des personnages dans laquelle on pouvait identifier mon style, tout en respectant les aspects classiques que tout le monde aime.

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PUNISHER KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE (MUSEUM EDITION) first publication: Germany (June, 2001)

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WOLVERINE 50 first publication: Germany (September, 2001)

When I received the references for this cover’s layout, I was shocked, to say the least. At first, I thought it had to be a mistake. The Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and the Grey Hulk? Eventually, I decided to rely on the only weapon that always works, in these particular cases, which is humor! What would Wolverine think if he was forced to wear the Fantastic Four blue costume? Knowing his terrible temper, I am sure he would not refrain from speaking his mind! Quando mi inviarono le reference per ideare il layout di questa copertina rimasi a dir poco interdetto; pensai si fossero sbagliati. I Fantastici Quattro, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, Wolverine e Hulk grigio? Decisi a quel punto di mettere in campo l’unica arma vincente in questi casi, l’ironia! Cosa penserebbe Wolverine se fosse costretto a indossare la tutina blu dei Fantastici Quattro in pubblico? Con il suo carattere irascibile, di sicuro risponderebbe a tono! Quand j’ai reçu les références pour élaborer le plan de cette couverture, j’étais pour le moins perplexe. Les Quatre Fantastiques avec Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, Wolverine et Hulk gris? Cela devait être une erreur. J’ai choisi alors l’arme qui est toujours la plus efficace dans ces cas-là: l’ironie! Qu’en penserait Wolverine, s’il était forcé de porter en public le costume bleu des Quatre Fantastiques? Fort de son caractère irascible, il aurait sûrement dit le fond de sa pensée! 31


L’UOMO RAGNO 328: SPIDER-MAN (ILLUSTRATION) first publication: Italy (October, 2001)

FIREMAN (ILLUSTRATION) first publication: Italy

Someone once told me that it is easier for us to remember where we were and what we were doing during a tragic event, rather than a happy one. Well, I have to agree with that statement, because, to this day, I still remember every instant of that September 11th and all the things that followed. At the same time, I remember the grief, the discomfort I was experiencing when they gave me the task to draw this commemorative image, despite feeling very humbled. It was a dedication to both the victims and the real heroes of that day, otherwise known as the firefighters, the police officers and the paramedics that risked, or even lost, their life to for the sake of others. They requested a black and white image; it had to be clean, simple. All the ideas that were coming to mind seemed to be out of line, disrespectful somehow (maybe it was just my perception). In the end, I opted for a contemplative image, something that could point out the futility of being a superhero (an unreal character) during such a tragic (and real) event, and that, at the same time, could keep the signified and the signifier consistently united! I also decided to position in the center, that is in Spider-Man’s hands, a firefighter helmet, the tool of a real “hero”. 32


FANTASTICI QUATTRO 269: THE THING (ILLUSTRATION) first publication: Italy (February, 2007) Un giorno mi fecero notare che ricordiamo più facilmente dove ci troviamo e cosa facciamo durante un evento tragico piuttosto che felice. Beh, concordo con quest’affermazione, perché ricordo perfettamente ogni attimo di quell’undici settembre e tutto ciò che ne conseguì. Altri aspetti che ricordo perfettamente sono il dolore, il disagio e allo stesso tempo l’onore che provai nel disegnare quest’immagine commemorativa. L’illustrazione era dedicata non solo alle vittime ma anche ai veri “eroi” di quel giorno, ovvero tutti i pompieri, i poliziotti e i paramedici che a costo della loro stessa vita si sono sacrificati per il prossimo. Mi chiesero espressamente un’immagine in bianco e nero, pulita, semplice. Tutte le idee che mi venivano in mente in quel momento mi sembravano fuori luogo, irrispettose (magari era solo una mia sensazione). Alla fine optai per un’immagine contemplativa, qualcosa che mettesse in risalto la futilità dell’essere un supereroe (personaggio irreale) durante un evento così tragico (e reale) e che unisse coerentemente il significato e il significante! Decisi così di mettere al centro, nelle mani di Spider-Man, l’elmetto di un pompiere, un “eroe” reale. Un jour, quelqu’un m’a fait remarquer que l’on se remémore avec plus de facilité où l’on se trouvait et ce que l’on faisait lors d’une tragédie plutôt qu’à l’occasion d’un moment heureux. Cela me paraît très juste, car je me souviens exactement de chaque instant du 11 Septembre et de tout ce qui a suivi. Je me rappelle aussi bien le chagrin, le malaise et, dans le même temps, l’honneur de réaliser cette image commémorative, qui était dédiée, pas seulement aux victimes, mais aussi aux vrais héros de ce jour-là, les pompiers, les policiers et les secouristes qui ont risqué, et parfois perdu, leur vie pour en sauver d’autres. Il fallait que l’image soit en noir et blanc, claire et simple. Toutes les idées que j’avais en tête me semblaient déplacées, irrespectueuses (peut-être était-ce juste ma perception des choses). Au final, j’ai choisi une image contemplative qui soulignait la futilité d’être un super-héros (personnage irréel) pendant un événement si tragique (et réel) et qui, dans le même temps, unissait le signifié et le signifiant de façon cohérente! Ensuite, j’ai décidé de placer au centre, c’est-à-dire dans les mains de Spider-Man, le casque d’un pompier, un vrai “héros”.

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ULTIMATE X-MEN 3 (“BD BOUQ LA ROCHELLE” WRAP AROUND VARIANT COVER) first publication: France (October, 2001)

As soon as I had finished the painting for this French cover, I sent it to my editor, His response was “Great! However, Wolverine in the Ultimate Universe is younger, so you need to give him a proper lifting!” I was so used to Wolverine’s classic appearance, adult and marked by his wrinkles, that I struggled quite a bit getting used to the new look while preserving his distinctive bad-ass attitude. If I remember correctly, I had to try to make him look younger at least tre times in a row! In the end, we were all satisfied with the result.

34

Ultimato il dipinto per questa copertina francese lo inviai al mio editor, la risposta fu “Bello! Ma Wolverine nell’Universo Ultimate è più giovane, fagli un bel lifting!” Abituato all’aspetto del Wolverine classico, maturo e segnato dalle rughe, trovai non poche difficoltà ad adattarmi al suo nuovo look senza tuttavia fargli perdere la sua aria da bad-ass; se non ricordo male lo dovetti “ringiovanire” per ben tre volte! Ma alla fine fummo tutti soddisfatti del risultato.

Après avoir terminé de peindre cette couverture française, je l’ai envoyée à mon éditeur, qui m’a répondu: “C’est superbe! Mais dans l’Univers Ultimate, Wolverine est plus jeune, il faut donc lui faire un beau lifting!” Habitué à l’aspect classique de Wolverine, adulte et tout ridé, j’ai eu beaucoup de difficultés à m’adapter au nouveau look tout en lui gardant son air bad-ass. Si je me souviens bien, j’ai dû le “rajeunir” 3 fois! On a toutefois été très satisfaits du résultat final.


PUNISHER KRIEGSTAGEBUCH 1 first publication: Germany (October, 2001) These three Punisher covers are the outcome of my first clumsy attempts at digital coloring! I had made several drawings and then completed them with Photoshop. I still cherished that period of experimentation because, despite it being quite raw, it made me realize how much I love the “analog” method! Queste tre copertine dedicate al Punitore sono il risultato dei miei primi goffi tentativi di usare la colorazione digitale! Feci vari disegni che completai utilizzando Photoshop. Oggi devo ringraziare quel periodo di sperimentazione e ricerca perche mi ha fatto capire quanto amassi lavorare in “analogico”! Ces trois couvertures consacrées au Punisher sont le résultat de mes premiers essais maladroits avec la coloration numérique! J’avais fait plusieurs dessins que j’avais ensuite complétés avec Photoshop. Encore aujourd’hui, je repense à cette période d’expérimentation avec reconnaissance, car elle m’a permis de comprendre à quel point j’adore la méthode “analogique”!

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PUNISHER KRIEGSTAGEBUCH 2 first publication: Germany (November, 2001)

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PUNISHER KRIEGSTAGEBUCH 3 first publication: Germany (December, 2001)

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ECHO WOLVERINE UNPUBLISHED PROJECT (2002)

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All the images on these pages were made for Echo’s character study (the female character seen on the Daredevil series), they had to be part of a hypothetical project, in collaboration with David Mack, which has never seen the light. Le illustrazioni contenute in queste pagine sono state realizzate per lo studio del personaggio femminile di Echo (vista sulla serie Daredevil ), per un ipotetico progetto in collaborazione con David Mack che non si è mai concretizzato. Toutes les images qui se trouvent dans ces pages ont été élaborées pour l’étude du personnage féminin d’Echo (que l’on a vu dans la série Daredevil), à l’occasion d’un projet hypothétique, avec la collaboration de David Mack, qui n’a jamais pris forme. 39


WOLVERINE 98 first publication: France (February, 2002)

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MARVEL EXTRA 10: SPIDER-MAN (WRAP AROUND COVER) first publication: Germany (February, 2002)

This double cover for the German market was also part of the famous “clone saga”. This time, the inspiration for the layout had come from the dramatic ending of Ben Reilly, who is killed and reduced to ashes by the Green Goblin and whose death clarifies, (maybe) once and for all, that the real Spider-Man was Peter and not Ben! I have a little fun fact regarding the position of Ben’s skeleton. The fact that it is right behind Spider-Man’s figure, who is screaming desperately, and that the two are almost identical was supposed to be a little clue on my part about Ben being Peter’s clone!

Questa doppia copertina per il mercato tedesco era sempre legata alla “saga del clone”. Da qui l’idea per il layout ispirato alla drammatica fine di Ben Reilly, ucciso e ridotto in cenere dal Goblin, a chiarire (forse) definitivamente che il vero Spider-Man era Peter e non Ben! Una piccola curiosità riguardo la posizione dello scheletro di Ben. Il fatto che si trovasse proprio alle spalle di Spider-Man, il suo urlo disperato e la posizione pressoché identica delle due figure, furono pensate per suggerire al lettore che Ben era il clone di Peter.

Cette double couverture pour le marché allemand était également liée à la célèbre “saga du clone”. Dans ce cas, l’inspiration vient de la fin tragique de Ben Reilly, tué et réduit en cendres par le Bouffon Vert, pour clarifier, (peut-être) de façon définitive, que le vrai Spider-Man était Peter et pas Ben! Une petite curiosité à propos de la position du squelette de Ben: le fait qu’il se trouve juste derrière Spider-Man qui crie, désespéré, et que les deux ont une posture très similaire se voulait un petit indice pour suggérer que Ben est le clone de Peter.

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MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL 2: SPIDER-MAN, PARALLELITÄTEN (ERLANGEN 2002 SONDEREDITION) first publication: Germany (May, 2002)

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MARVEL MONSTER EDITION 1: PANTHÈRE NOIRE first publication: France (July, 2002)

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FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 3, 56 first publication: USA (August, 2002)

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MARVEL ENCYCLOPEDIA: X-MEN first publication: USA (April, 2003)

Given the “encyclopedic” nature of the book, Marvel asked me to include as many characters from the mutant world as possible. As the cover’s main character, I chose Wolverine, who in the beginning looked like in the above image, feral and very similar to how we usually see him in the comics. Except, as the image was coming along, Marvel wanted me to change the character’s face because they thought it appeared too “evil” for a cover image addressed to bookstores. Ultimately, I had to alter it three times to make him look more like Hugh Jackman.

La Marvel, vista la natura “enciclopedica” del volume, mi chiese d’inserire più personaggi possibili del mondo mutante. Scelsi Wolverine come protagonista principale. La prima versione è quella che trovate nell’illustrazione in alto, dall’aspetto ferale e molto simile alla versione che vediamo di solito nei fumetti. Ma durante la lavorazione dalla casa editrice ricevetti la disposizione di modificare il viso; secondo loro troppo “cattivo” per la copertina di un volume che sarebbe stato distribuito nelle librerie di varia. Per ben tre volte lo modificai, fino ad arrivare a un aspetto simile a quello di Hugh Jackman.

Vu la nature “encyclopédique” de l’ouvrage, Marvel a souhaité y inclure le plus grand nombre possible de personnages du monde mutant. J’ai choisi comme personnage principal Wolverine, qui, au début, était comme dans cette image ci-dessus, avec un aspect sauvage et très proche de celui que l’on voit toujours dans les comics. Au fur et à mesure que l’image finale prenait forme, Marvel m’a demandé de modifier le visage du personnage, car ils le trouvaient trop “méchant” pour une couverture en librairie. J’ai dû le retoucher à trois reprises avant d’obtenir une apparence similaire à celle de Hugh Jackman. 45

Marvel Secret Work Gabriele Dell'Otto  

TUTTE LE COPERTINE DI GABRIELE DELL’OTTO PER LA MARVEL RACCOLTE PER LA PRIMA VOLTA IN UN SOLO VOLUME Un volume di grande formato ripercorre...

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