Among the great "schools" of comics, the Italian one is probably the less known, in the other countries. Many Italian artists work for American and French comic books industries, but almost no Italian series or characters are famous outside of Italy. Exceptions are the Disney's Witch series, Winx Club and thousands of Disney comics published in all the world, but without credits. If you read Disney comics, probably you have read hundreds of stories by Romano Scarpa, Giorgio Cavazzano, Giovan Battista Carpi and many others Italian authors without knowing them.
That's okay, but what about the other Italian series and characters?
We produce a lot of comics, we have thousands of titles, and many of them sold or still sells more than most of the USA superheroes... But only in Italy. Some titles are translated in orher coutries, but in small printing and even smaller sales. Italian comics are not popular outside of Italy.
But what we produce, then? Well, Wikipedia can give a little help (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_….
First of all, remember: we have two distribution channels for comic books: comics shops and public kiosks. And the kiosks make the big sales.
Actually, the biggest and most important Italian comic books publisher is Sergio Bonelli Editore (English page: www.sergiobonelli.it/sezioni/3…, which published dozens of series since 1948. In the Nineties, Bonelli sold each month millions of copies of its comic books. Most popular series since that period are (still today) Tex Willer (a very classic western) and Dylan Dog (horror). Bonelli comics are monthly b/w books of 96 pages. All the Bonelli series are drawn in traditional style, with positive heroes. No bad guys allowed!
If I had written this "article" a few years ago, I could have talk about other publishers "Bonelli-like", but today they are gone or they only publish manga, French and American comics. The two main publisher who tried to follow Bonelli's success were Star Comics (www.starcomics.com/) and Eura Editoriale (www.editorialeaurea.it/).
The other big publisher in Italy is Panini, but it mainly translatse and publishes marvel and Japanese comics.
To find more Italian characters, today, you have to go in comics books and look for little publishers, which are a lot, and which publishes many books, most of them doesn't reach the 1.000 copies of sales. Here we are speaking about graphic novels, more than series. And if our mainstream adventure comics are mainly settled in the USA with American characters, here setting and characters are often Italian. Check publishers like Bao (www.baopublishing.it/), Shockdom (www.shockdom.com/webcomics/), 001 Edizioni (www.001edizioni.com/), Kappalab (www.kappalab.it) or NPE (edizioninpe.blogspot.it/).
Well, this is a far incomplete view on Italian comics today, just a glimpse, but here you are a list of some of the most important Italian characters. If you are reading these words, you have a computer and you surely know Google, so..
LA STORIA DEL WEST
IL COMMISSARIO SPADA
IL GRANDE BLEK
SATURNO CONTRO LA TERRA
And these authors who are more famous than the characters they created
You can find many of them in the Wikipedia page I linked. Only, remember that anyone can contribute to the Wiki page and in the "famous authors" and "famous comics" lists there some names that probably have been added... by themselves!