I was so sorry to learn, so very belatedly, of the death of the brilliant Italian comic artist Pino Rinaldi (31st July 1957 – 18th April 2018), one of the contributors to the Marvel UK “Genesis 1992” project instigated by Paul Neary in the 1990s.
Pino, who died from pancreatic cancer, was a major artist in Italian comics, winning the “Premio Ostia” award for best cartoonist aged just 18. His career began in his home country in 1979, working for magazines like Skorpio, LancioStory, 1984 and Boy Music, as well as the Bonelli comic books Martin Mystère (1989) and Nathan Never (1993).
In the 1990s, he worked for Marvel UK, Italy and US divisions of Marvel Comics.
He often drew series with supernatural elements, including Martin Mystère, Dagon, ClanDestine, Agenzia-X (“Agency-X”), and, most famously, Willard The Witch.
We last communicated back in 2015, after he’d drawn some strips for a relaunch of “Garth” for the Daily Mirror, based on a plot I’d devised, initiated by Bosnian-based Print Media Productions, publishers of the ill-fated STRIP: The Adventure Comics Magazine.
Before the title crashed and burned, publisher Ivo Milicevic claimed he had approached the Mirror with a view to providing a new daily strip, in return for collection rights, a formula he had previously employed, he said, in Bosnia. (Readers will note the caution with which I report this, since some claims made by the company subsequently proved at odds with reality). Like others, including me, it turned out Pino was never paid for his work, and he was understandably angry.
Pino was quite the fan of British comic characters. Writing on his blog in 2016, he presented a stunning image of the Daily Express-published space hero Jeff Hawke, featured on the cover of Il Fumetto in 2016. Pino mentions meeting Jeff Hawke creator Sydney Jordan and discussing a partnership on an unnamed SF project, which, sadly, did not happen.
For Marvel UK, Pino created the four-issue mini-series Wild Angels (1993) with writer Nick Vince. The Marvel UK line however folded before the series could be published by the then troubled company.
However, Wild Angels was published in Italy in 1996 as a single black and white volume, “where Marvel UK material continued to be printed for a good while longer than in the UK, US and Canada,” notes It Came from Darkmoor.
The book was a best seller for Marvel Italia, due in no small part to Pino Rinaldi’s popularity as a comic artist in his home country.
Alongside artists such as Joe Fronteri and Salvador Larroca, Pino was among those mentioned among by Marvel UK Editorial Director Paul Neary as potential artists for several other undisclosed projects, He was originally announced as artist on the mini series Nocturne, eventually published by Marvel US, but was replaced by José Fonteriz: and Mutator, a character dreamed up by Tom DeFalco and Paul Neary that, as far as we’re aware, got no further than series outline.
In 1994, he began work for Marvel US, starting with a ‘Valkyrie’ story in ‘Marvel Comics Presents’ #168 (1994), his work also including Captain America #453, Thor #498 and Phoenix Aftermath.
He succeeded writer/artist Alan Davis on three later issues of ClanDestine (1994 – 1995), initially a Marvel UK project, with writer Glenn Dakin. Rinaldi illustrated issues #9, #10 and #12 of this series about a secret family of long-lived superhuman beings, with issue #11 drawn by Bryan Hitch.
More recently, in 2012, he provided the cover for Dark Rock Chronicles, published by Diego Entertainment.
“Pino was a very good artist,” notes Bambos Georgiou, who edited Wild Angels for Marvel UK. “He didn’t speak English so we had to use a translator. I inked him on a couple of issues of ClanDestine as well. His style really suited superheroes, I think.”
“It was always a treat when his pages came through the Marvel UK fax machine,” notes writer Glenn Dakin. “[Editorial Director] Paul Neary was always interested in how he drew the characters and I would wonder where the heck to put the speech bubbles! His work had a sort of glamour – very stylish.”
“Pino was a kind, sensitive and selfless person,” noted cartoonist Marcello Lenzi on his passing in 2018, in a tribute to the artist on his passing.
It’s always sad to unexpectedly discover the passing of a creator with whom you had contact. Reading through tributes on Italian web sites, it’s clear Pino was much loved and very encouraging of young creators.
• Pino Rinaldi’s Blog is online at pinorinaldi.blogspot.com
Marvel UK’s Wild Things
• It Came from Darkmoor has two articles on this project; an initial feature here and an update here which includes more information on the title’s Italian publication, including artwork samples provided by Pino Rinaldi, who also discussed the project here on his own blog