In Memoriam: Massimo Belardinelli

Massimo Bellardinelli
Massimo Bellardinelli

I’ve just heard that after a long and brave battle against ill health, the great Massimo Belardinelli, who drew “Dan Dare” for the early issues of 2000AD, died at the end of March in Rome.

Another comics giant has passed.

Pat Mills once told me Italian comics artist Bellardinelli landed the plum job of drawing “Dan Dare” after initially offering to draw it for free to prove he could do it, his vivid style and exaggeration of an established character proving somewhat controversial and leading to a transfer to the future sport strip Inferno.

His work for 2000AD also included work on “Flesh”, “Meltdown Man”, and “Slaine”: he will be most affectionately remembered for “Ace Trucking Co.“, which he co-created after requesting that writers John Wagner and Alan Grant come up with a strip featuring many different types of alien.

Represented in the UK by Studio Giolitti, he ceased UK work when that agency folded.

His Wikipedia entry notes his work was notable for its delicate brushwork and imaginative depictions of the fantastic. Bellardinelli also hid numerous self-portraits in his strips. Many characters (and even some inanimate objects) bore a striking resemblance to their artist.”

Several newsgroups carried the rumour that Belardinelli had died in the 1990s, a rumour subsequently scotched thanks to some detective work by fan David Brunt in 2003. The artist had also recently been in correspondence with long-term fan Robby Cox, revealing that he although not dead as some believed, he was in poor health. “My heart is naughty,” he commented.

Massimo Belardinelli, born 5th June 1938 , died 31st March 2007, Italy

UPDATE: 2000AD co-creator Pat Mills has written a moving tribute to Massimo which appears on the downthetubes main site

Web Links

• Massimo Belardinelli Appreciation Society


John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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