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Romano Scarpa

Romano Scarpa

Born in Venice, September 27, 1927. Now living in Spain, near Malaga.

Romano Scarpa's life

[By Francesco Spreafico]

Romano Scarpa was born in Venice in 1927 and growing up there he developed a particular love for American cartoons and Disney comics, that, at the time, were published in the big format of the Topolino Giornale which was then printing now classic Floyd Gottfredson's stories. In the Forties he opened an Animation Studio in Venice in which he produced his first works: some commercials, a short named E poi venne il diluvio and another very good short, named La piccola fiammiferaia (1953), distributed in Italy together with Robert Aldrich's Attack (1956).

Right after that he stopped working in animation for a while and dedicated wholly to creating Disney comics. In the late Fifties and up to about 1963 he wrote and penciled some of the best-known comic masterpieces of all time: stories like Topolino e la collana Chirikawa (1960) or Paperino e la leggenda dello Scozzese volante (1957) that have, later, been translated in lots of different languages throughout the world. Many of these stories have their backgrounds in movies, for example Topolino nel favoloso regno di Shan Grillà (1961) is based upon Frank Capra's Lost Horizon (1937); not to talk about all the stories starring Snow White or the Seven Dwarfs, obviously based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Sometimes the exact opposite happens; Riusciranno i nostri eroi a ritrovare l'amico misteriosamente scomparso in Africa? (1968) is based on Scarpa's story Topolino e il Pippotarzan (1957).

Around 1963 he relaxed a bit and practically stopped writing his stories for 6 or 7 years, while still penciling stories written by other people, generally not up to the same high standards of his. Then, in the Seventies he went back to writing too, and he's still doing it now, though he has moved to Spain and is working for a different publisher. Among the last things he made while he was still in Italy, at the beginning of the Nineties, there are some wonderful strip stories, the same kind of stories that he loved when he was a child. One of these, Topolino e l'enigma di Brigaboom (1989) was partially based on Brigadoon (1954). In the meanwhile he has had time enough for some more animation, so we have Aihnoo degli Icebergs (1972), The Fourth King (1977) and a new TV series, The Adventures of Marco and Gina (Sopra i tetti di Venezia) (2001).

In his career Scarpa created many characters that are now widely accepted by everybody to be part of the Disney Universe, characters like Brigitta McBridge, Dickie Duck and Ellsworth's adoptive son, Bruto. Since 1988 some of his comic stories have been published in the USA by Gladstone (a publisher); it was the first time that this happened to an Italian Disney author.

Where can I find his works collected?

In English nowhere, unfortunately. (But some of his best stories have been translated in English, check his index). In Italian former publishing company Comic Art had begun printing a series of hardcover books, but now the publisher has gone bankrupt, so the collection remains incomplete.

Other works

Mainly Scarpa has been working on Disney comics, many years ago he used to do something non-disney once in a while, so he did one (Rolf Kauka's) Lupo story and one (Hannah and Barbera's) Yogi Bear story. In the '50's he also drew some Angelino story, and Italian character. To know (and see) more about these curious items check the first two links down here. For his work in animation check the mini-biography up in this page.

What characters did he create?

Among the regulars,

Other sources about Scarpa on the net

Printed sources

(This is only a selection, a complete bibliography is still in the works and all of the articles in Italian have here been omitted).

Last updated August 17, 2001.

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