Romano Felmang

30 Covers by Felmang

Romano Felmang was born in Rome, Italy in 1941. He had always read comics as a child, enjoying particularly the Italian strips Il Piccolo Sheriff and Captain Miki.

He made his debut in comics in 1964 - he had noticed on a newsstand a copy of Mandrake, A Lost World (Il Vascello, #51). On buying it he saw that the publisher, Fratelli Spada Publications, were based in Rome. One of those rare cases of a Roman publisher.

The next day Felmang presented himself at the offices of Fratelli Spada:

I presented myself as an illustrator of comics with zero experience. A young woman addressed me, very kindly, and gave me two issues of The Phantom from the American Adventures Series - "The Island of the Dogs" (L'isola dei cani) - saying: "These are recent stories of the Phantom from the United States; the production is syndicated, but it's not enough to cover our weekly requirement. For this we need illustrators who can imitate Sy Barry, the leading artist of the American comic-strips. Draw us a couple of trial panels in this style!" Those two issues were beautiful and deeply captured my imagination. During the following days I tried several times to draw The Phantom of Sy Barry, but the results were very poor. I could not confront such a demanding character immediately and succeed in imitating an artist, whom I considered the best at that time. So I had to practice and wait for a later opportunity. But I was sure of one thing: I liked the work and I was firmly committed to doing it.

Another opportunity came a few months later: thriller comics appeared in strips, the so-called "blacks" or "pocket" strips, and with them new publishers were looking for new illustrators, since the artists of the preceding generation were already employed. Among the classified advertisements of the biggest daily of the capital there appeared some ads: the publishers Cofedit were looking for illustrators of comic-strips. About a hundred aspiring young illustrators showed up at the offices of the publisher, but only two were chosen: Felmang for Fantax and another assigned to the new character, Demoniak. He illustrated a couple of episodes of Fantax and immediately afterwards left for military service.

In the autumn of 1966 he created his first professional story for The Phantom, The Robbers of the Tomb of the Great King (I Ladri della tomba del Gran Re), which was published in the Classics of Adventure Series in Italy and France. The following year he also began to work for various Milanese publishers: Johnny Beat for Cervinia (see this website for more details about Johnny Beat), Kriminal for Corno, The Intrepid comics for Universo. His involvement with the Universo Publishing group would last until the beginning of the 1980s.

Following the success of his work, he founded the Cartoonstudio in 1968, which provided both work and space for a new generation of comic artists. During the 1970s, Romano Felmang produced pocket comics such as Sylvie, Oltretomba, Loana, Makabar, Zip and Sabata, but his main activity was creating stories for such magazines as Intrepido, Monello, Bliz, Albo dell'Intrepido, Skorpio and Lanciostory.

In 1980 Romano Felmang started a family, and no longer had time to follow new aspiring illustrators. Today he advises those who come to him as students or assistants to attend a cartoonists' school.

Keep in mind that my chief activity has been teaching and that I have always done comic-strips as a hobby; so, I have preferred to dedicate my free time to my children rather than to those who wish to embark on the world of comics.

Outside Italy, Romano Felmang worked for publishers like Fleetway in England, Lug in France and Pabel-Moewing and Bastei in Germany. He also contributed to the magazine TV2000 in Holland: this magazine re-printed various UK strips such as Lady Penelope and Thunderbirds (by Frank Bellamy). Felmang reproduced these strips in a different size and in black and white, the coloured originals being too difficult to reproduce. During the 1980s, he started drawing the Swedish Phantom, originally created by Lee Falk, which is published in several other countries, most notably in Australia where the artist is credited as "Ray Mann".

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