Giorgio Bellavitis (1926 - ) was born in Venice. As a teenager during World War II, he was a member of the anti-Nazi resistance movement and was imprisoned for several weeks with Mario Faustinelli and Alberto Ongaro. The three friends invented a costumed righter-of-wrongs called ‘L’Asso di Picche’ (‘The Ace of Spades’). After the war they set up a publishing company, gathered a number of artists and writers together to form the Grupo Veneziano (Venetian Group), and launched a magazine called Albo Uragano (White Hurricane), which later became renamed, (after its lead strip) Asso di Picche. The strip was pencilled by Hugo Pratt and inked by Bellavitis and Faustinelli. After the revamp, one of the first new strips was ‘Junglemen’, the first episode of which was drawn by Bellavitis, who then drew ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ under the pseudonym George Summers. After Asso di Picche folded in 1948, the majority of Bellavitis’ work until 1954 seems to have been for Il Vittorioso (The Conqueror). His strips included ‘I Cavalieri del Corvo’, ‘Acqua Cattiva’, ‘Il Palio di Siena’, and ‘Amburgo 1947’. Early(?) in this period he also created ‘La Strada Senza Fine’ (‘The Road Without End’), for Corrierre dello Scolaro.
In 1954, Bellavitis moved to England, and some time after, he was instrumental in introducing the Italian illustrator Rimaldo D’Ami (Roy Dami, founder of the Damy Agency) to Britain. He was the therefore first of many Italian comic strip artists to be published in Britain.
Bellavitis’ first strip after arriving in England was ‘Paul English’ for Swift. He then drew ‘Mark, the Youngest Disciple’ to a script by Chad Varah, his finest work for Eagle. Bellavitis stood in for Richard Jennings on two complete ‘Storm Nelson’ adventures, the first of which was set in his place of birth*. He also drew for Eagle Annual and Swift Annual, including the illustrations for a text story ‘The Winged Devils - a tale of the Ancient Vikings’ in Swift Annual No 2. He worked for a short time on Express Weekly, drawing ‘Rodney Flood’, and he is known to have done some illustrations for the Sunday Pictorial Children’s Annual. In 1956 he helped out on Eagle’s ‘Jeff Arnold in Riders of the Range’. His work also appeared in Playhour and Treasure. In 1958, however, he returned to Italy to pursue a career in architecture.
Professor Giorgio Bellavitis is now actively involved in the conservation and restoration of Venice, advising UNESCO and other bodies. Girogio Bellavitis' projects in Venice have included, in the 1980s, the garden design and landscaping for Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, the home of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and from 1997 to 2005 direction of the restoration of Ca’Foscari. Giorgio Bellavitis has written and co-authored a number of books and is the author of ‘Venice: a City in the Sea of History’, which prefaces the Heritage Guide to Venice published by the Touring Club of Italy.
The picture above is from 'Mark the Youngest Disciple', Eagle, 12th November, 1954.
* The Eagle strip 'Storm Nelson' was later reprinted in Italy in Giorno dei Ragazzi as 'Kid Tempesta'.
- ‘Mark the Youngest Disciple’ (Vol 5 N0 46 - Vol 6 No 23)
- ‘Storm Nelson: The Quest of the Golden Queen’ (Vol 6 No 29 - Vol 6 No 46)
- ‘Storm Nelson: The Quest of the Southern Cross’ (Vol 6 No 47 - Vol 7 No 14)
- ‘Riders of the Range : The Hooded Menace’ (half of 1 episode, Vol 7 No 23)
- ‘Riders of the Range: The Wreckers’ (with Brian Lewis) (Vol 7 No 36 - Vol 7 No 44)
- ‘Storm Nelson in The Mystery of the Purple Patch’ Eagle Annual No 6