During one of our conversations with one of the most phan phaved Phantom artists from the modern era in Felmang, we discussed some of his assistants including Eugenio Benni (Anthony Benny), and today we remember his death on this day ten years ago back in 2009.
Thank you to Felmang for his time and the words about his colleague and friend Eugenio Benny we present a lasting memory on him who worked with over 25+ Phantom stories in a 13 year period between 1992 and 2005 for Team Fantomen.
Parts of this article was originally published 10 years ago in Italian and now for the first time in English. We can now all learn something new about this talented artist who along left a mark on majority of our Phantom reading lives.
Eugenio Benni, was an important and prolific artist of Italian comics since the early Sixties, he was born in France in January 1939 from a Franco-German father and an Italian mother. Aged five he returned to Italy and settled in Abruzzo where he lived for most of his life.
As a boy he was a passionate reader of comics, among his favorites were Tony Boy, Sciuscià, Il Piccolo Sceriffo & the famous European comic Tex. In 1960 he graduated in painting at the Art Institute of Abruzzo. The following year, given his great aptitude for drawing and portraits, he was sent to Milan, at the Studio of Nicola Del Principe and started working for the various publications of Edizioni Il Ponte by Renato Bianconi including many of the above comics he grew up on.
He had a long fruitful relationship with the Del Principe studio, in fact many of the stories Eugenio Benni worked on were originally credited to Del Principe himself for years. Many artists today modeled their work on Benni.
A mutual friend introduced Felmang and Eugenio Benni in the early 1990's and before long Benni was introduced to Ulf Granberg and Semic / Team Fantomen and the first story he worked on was published in 1992 titled "Jungle Snow" (Frew #1054 - 1993 & Fantomen 13/1993).
Felmang was very keen to point out that all the artists that he worked on these Phantom stories with were equal collaborators and they together worked for Team Fantomen rather than Benni, Ferri, Usam etc working for Felmang. This is one reason why the stories always credited the full team.
Over the course of the 13 years Benni worked on 26 stories with Felmang and occasionally also with Ferri, who was another legendary Italian artist. For a full list of the stories he worked on, go to Phantom Wiki.
Some of the stories you will see on the list are legendary stories you would have read and marveled at during the 1990's with classics including: The Revenge of Dogai Singh (Frew #1082 - 1994 & Fantomen Krönika 2/2003), The Triads (Frew #1096-#1100 - 1995 & Fantomen Krönika 5/2000), The Suicide Mission (Frew #1129 - 1996 & Fantomen 20/1995) and Lily Palmer's Secret (Frew #1197 - 1998 & Fantomen 3/1998) just to name a few.
However by the time he came to Team Fantomen to work with Felmang he was already a well known and credited artist.
A brief rundown on his other work below helps show just how much of a giant he was in the European and Italian comics industry.
1964 worked on Capitan Miki and Il Grande Blek at a rate of two stories a week.
Between 1969 to 1974 working the publisher Editrice La Terza part of the Sexy Comics field working on nearly 120 albums drawing Angelica and Teodora. Plus fifteen stories of Alcina la Maga.
Between 1969 and 1970 he worked on 11 books for Joe Ringo and 17 books on la Freccia Nera.
In 1976 for Edinational he drew four books featuring Robin Hood adventures.
Between 1972 to 1978 when Benni moved to Sardinia he work with the Milanese and Bianconi Studio's which included Tom Billy By and Zorro.
In the mid 1980's he worked on various titles with the Roman studios of Giolitti and Sergio Rosi and the publisher Francesco Coniglio.
In 1987 he worked on five issues of Sfitty and five issues of Zippo Panino which was the last collaboration he did with the publisher Del Principe-Bianconi.
We thank Felmang for his help with this article as we remember Eugenio Benni (Anthony Benny) who sadly left our world on this day 2 May 2009.