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This month we turn the spotlight onto Mario Capaldi (1935-2004), who took over responsibility for removing Carrie's clothing every month from January 1976, with the departure of Don Lawrence. Although he made an effort to copy Lawrence's style, Capaldi's Carrie was what my grandmother would have referred to as a "Bonny" lass - a bit more to get hold of than Lawrence's version.
Capaldi's Carrie was also sex mad, seemingly enjoying nothing more than a good gang bang. In the final panel of many a story she collapses, blissfully contented, after an encounter with a group of lucky guys.
The artist's tenure on the strip was relatively brief, but in the course of a year and a half Capaldi did turn in some reasonable pieces. We are particularly fond of Carrie's spanking by the row-boat crew - Ouch!!
In the main Capaldi's stories tended to feature one or two beautifully painted set pieces accompanied by a handful of less detailed "sketches" almost.
A quick search on the 'net has thrown up reference to Capaldi having worked on a number of children's comic books including "Misty", "Barbie" and "Barbie Fashion" in the mid 1990's, and "James Bond Junior". In the early 70's he had also worked on "The Protectors" strip in the UKs TV Action comic, as the panel alongside demonstrates (4/8/1973).
Like Don Lawrence, sadly, Mario Capaldi is no longer with us and so never got to see our little tribute to his work. He died at the end of June 2004 after a long illness. There is a website dedicated to his work "Mario Capaldi Artist".
Capaldi was born in Glasgow where he grew up in the close-knit Scots-Italian community, during WW2. His parents were Italian and hailed from a little village near Montecassino but they were both born in England. The family later relocated to Middlesbrough in the 1950s to run their ice-cream business and never encouraged Mario's innate artistic talent.
Mario spent a few sessions at the Glasgow School of Art and a short stint at the Middlesbrough College of Art (Constantine College) but was largely self-taught. He went on to have a successful career as an artist working mainly for London and New York companies from 1959 to 2003. He drew every type of strip and illustration work imaginable. His credits for Marvel UK range from Care Bears to James Bond Junior and Zorro.
"Mario was one of the first illustrators that I had the pleasure of working with when I entered into children's publishing," Managing Editor of Panini Comics Alan O' Keefe said. "Right from our very first conversation I knew I'd enjoy working with him enormously. He had a genuinely warm, friendly and engaging disposition. A few days later, after receiving his commissioned artwork I knew he was also a truly gifted and professional artist. The many years that followed, I worked with Mario on a variety of children's comics, because he was such a modest and honest professional who could turn his hand to a great variety of illustration styles. Mario was a true gent, a unique and charming man with a fantastic talent -- and an absolute joy to work with."
"Mario was always my first choice on projects," said comics writer and publisher Tim Quinn. "I got him to do some great work for The Saturday Evening Post Magazine when I returned to the US to work in 1997-98 (including a fab Dickens' Christmas Carol adaptation). "I also used him as the artist on Enid Blyton's Famous Five in the Blyton centenary mag I edited for Fleetway. The fairy tale sequel comic/mag I published featured Mario's magic on the on-going adventures of Jack of the Beanstalks. He also drew great history pages for that publication. "I Loved his work," says Tim, "and he was a really nice and funny guy with a great fashion style... a cross between Al Pacino and Bela Lugosi. You can't beat that!"
For more of Mario Capaldi's Carrie see this month's "What Carrie did..." Gallery
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