Our third Italian is Allessandro Biffignandi – a name which may be familiar to some readers, but not necessarily for his war illustrations.
Biffignandi was born in 1935 in Rome and after a period training with the artist Averado Ciriello he joined the Favalli studio to paint movie posters. Interestingly, almost all the Italian painters seem to have had similar career trajectories and like DeGaspari and Nino Caroselli (to come on Friday) he moved to Milan to join the D’Ami studio in 1960.
While typically these would have been 'jobbing' artists (moving where the work was) at least Biffignandi had a love of comics (which is what the D’Ami studio specialised in) and did in fact draw a few strips. Through D’Ami he immediately started work on war covers for Fleetway eventually painting over 400 by the decades end – a fearsome workload by anyone's standards though he was also doing other British and Italian work in addition to this – did he never sleep?
Biffignandi’s earliest war covers very slick and richly painted and were almost indistinguishable from DeGaspari’s work. However, as the decade went on he developed his own unique style where he built up his pictures through lots of little brush strokes or dots – a modern version of Seurat’s pointiliste technique. His originals got progressively smaller as well going from colossal in the early sixties to a comic art sized page at the end. In this period the D’Ami studio genuinely was a studio with its artists all working in the same building. This meant that Biffignandi was working next to comic greats such as Tacconi and D’Antonio and he often based his covers on panels from their strips giving them a great sense of Drama and action.
By the end of the sixties he decided he needed a complete change of career – he’d had enough of painting soldiers, instead he wanted to paint pretty girls (and who can blame him?). Linking up with the Italian company Edifumetto he began to paint covers for their vast line of Sexy Horror comics such as Sukia, Wallestein, Zora and Biancaneve (a very adult retelling of Snow White). These comics were by and large wretchedly drawn inside but have amassed a huge cult following recently almost solely because of Biffignandi’s covers. The ComicArtFans website has a great selection of these covers which are incredibly sleazy, yet also beautifully painted in vibrant almost dayglow colours. Since 1995 he has concentrated on romance covers for the U.S., a connection he made through his good friend Pino D’Angelico.
* This week's posts are by David Roach, British comics artist of Judge Dredd, author, comics historian, and long-time TI subscriber. All this week's images are mostly taken from the original art and can be found in his latest book, "The Art Of War" published by Prion books in the UK. An earlier volume "Aarrgghh It’s War" came out last year and each contain over 1000 of the best war comic covers.
This week's images are © IPC Media.