Sergio Bonelli, the chairman of Italy's largest comic book publisher, Sergio Bonelli Editore, passed away today following the complications of an unspecified illness. He was 78 years old.
Born in Milan on December 2, 1932 to Gian Luigi Bonelli, the creator of the popular comic book Tex, Sergio followed in his father's footsteps by creating and writing characters such as Mister No and Zagor, often under the pseudonyms Guido Nolitta and Annalisa Macchi, eventually becoming an editor, and later chairman and namesake of one of Europe's largest comic book publishing houses.
His vision made the Italian comic book scene one of the most unique in the world, emphasizing a wide variety of genres, and making monthly serials of 96-page black-and-white paperbacks the predominant format. He also had a hand in overseeing the creation of Dylan Dog, one of the company's biggest successes, and recruiting several generations of up-and-coming European and South American illustrators, many of whom would later move on to successful careers in the American and Franco-Belgian markets.
The European cultural landscape would have been a lot poorer without Sergio Bonelli, and for those keeping tabs on the international comics scene, this truly feels like the passing of a giant. He will be missed.