Dino Attanasio is an Italian comic artist who has spent most of his career working for Belgian and Dutch publishing houses. His ability to draw in both cartoonish and realistic drawing styles made him one of the most versatile and prolific artists of the Franco-Belgian school. Several of his comic series feature stereotypical Italian characters, most notably Signor Spaghetti (1957–78) and De Macaroni’s (1971–75); other humorous strips for which he is well known include Fanfan et Polo (1950–53), Modeste et Pompon (1959–68), and Johnny Goodbye. Attanasio’s realistic work includes adventure features for Italian publishers in the 1940s, episodes for Henri Vernes’ Bob Morane series, and historical strips for Tintin magazine and the publishing house Averbode.

Dino (his birth name is Eduardo) Attanasio grew up in Milan, where he attended the Accademia di Brera. Like many of contemporaries, his early influences were American newspaper comics like Flash Gordon and Terry and the Pirates. He began his artistic career in the early 1940s, working for Milanese publishing houses like Mario Conte’s Edital. Besides Edital work, he drew stories like ‘Le Aeronavi del Mistero’, ‘Le Vipere Verdi’ and ‘La Ragazza di Mercurio’ for the magazine L’Eroico.

In 1948 Dino and his brother Gianni left Italy and settled in Brussels, where their father had been working as a musician. They received regular assignments from the Publi-Ciné agency, making animated advertising films. Dino managed to get a few illustrations published in the prestigious Belgian comic magazine Tintin, and from 1950 onwards most of Attanasio’s output was aimed at the Belgian market.

Dino Attanasio is one of the last remaining pioneers of the golden age of Franco-Belgian comics. He has remained a regular guest on comics conventions, with his wife and manager Joanna always by his side. Although sometimes dismissed for his simplicity and lack of artistry, Dino Attanasio has left an impressive oeuvre, with Signor Spaghetti and Johnny Goodbye ranking among the classics of Belgian and Dutch comic history. In 2009 Signor Spaghetti received his own comic book mural as part of the Brussels’ Comic Book Route.

A much more thorough biography and critique of Dino Attanasio and his work can be found on the Lambiek Comiclopedia website here.

We are very grateful to our friend Mario Cantinelli for introducing us to the work of this artist, and for supplying the portfolio images.

Example illustration