Massimo Bellardinelli: 10-10 and never again

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Cover to 2000AD Prog 430According to 2000AD this week, Massimo Bellardinelli has died. I’m sure this must be about the third time in the past decade that I’ve heard this, but this time it would appear to be official. A tribute from Pat Mills can be found on Down the Tubes.

Bellardinelli had a real spark of creative genius. For me, his high point was around 1984, when he was working on both Slaine and Ace Trucking Co. His portrayal of Slaine’s warp spasm remains unsurpassed, and some of the pages he drew on this story are the most beautiful pieces of black and white artwork to appear in a UK comic. Some of the pages in the Bride of Crom story remain seared into my brain.

Ace Trucking Co couldn’t be a more different strip, yet here too he excelled. He delighted in drawing the most bizarre, alien-looking and frankly disgusting characters and some of his art in this strip was truly surreal. He drew great space scenes too – a real challenge for artists. His ships (helped along by the script) were distinct characters and he managed to infuse real dynamism onto every page.

So despite the fact that he hasn’t drawn for the comic in almost 20 years, it is a sad loss. As with Tom Frame’s departure last year, it would seem that we really are seeing the passing of an age now.

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