Romano Scarpa at an Exposition in Rome in 2000.
Romano Scarpa is one of the most famous Italian creators of Disney comics. He was born in Venice on September 27, 1927. Growing up there he developed a particular love for American cartoons and Disney comics, that, at the time, were published in the big format of the Topolino Giornale which was then printing now classic Floyd Gottfredson's stories. In the Forties he opened an Animation Studio in Venice in which he produced his first works: some commercials, a short titled E poi venne il diluvio and another very good short, titled La piccola fiammiferaia (1953, based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl), distributed in Italy together with Robert Aldrich's Attack (1956).
Right after that he stopped working in animation for a while and dedicated wholly to creating Disney comics. When in 1956 Italian editors had no more new Floyd Gottfredson's stories to reprint, he was given the responsibility to continue Gottfredson's stories about Mickey Mouse. Also influenced by Carl Barks in the late Fifties and up to about 1963 he wrote and penciled some of the best-known comic masterpieces of all time: stories like Topolino e la collana Chirikawa (1960) or The Flying Scot (1957) that have, later, been translated in many different languages throughout the world. Many of these stories have their backgrounds in movies, for example Topolino nel favoloso regno di Shan Grillà (1961) is based upon Frank Capra's Lost Horizon (1937); not to talk about all the stories starring Snow White or the Seven Dwarfs, obviously based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Sometimes the exact opposite happened; the Italian movie Riusciranno i nostri eroi a ritrovare l'amico misteriosamente scomparso in Africa (1968) is based on Scarpa's story Topolino e il Pippotarzan (1957).
Around 1963 Scarpa relaxed a bit and practically stopped writing his stories for 6 or 7 years, while still penciling stories written by other people, generally not up to the same high standards of his; an exception to this "rule" is the long Storia e Gloria della Dinastia dei Paperi saga, written by Guido Martina, and co-pencilled by Scarpa with Giovan Battista Carpi. Then, in the Seventies he went back to writing too, and he is still doing it now, though he has now moved to Spain and is working for a different publisher. Among the last things he made while he was still in Italy, at the end of the Eighties and at beginning of the Nineties, there are the so called Paperolimpiadi (a long story about the 1988 Seoul Olympic games) and some wonderful strip stories, the same kind of stories that he loved when he was a child. One of these, Topolino e l'enigma di Brigaboom (1989) was partially based on Brigadoon (1954).
In the meanwhile he has had time enough for some more animation, so we have Aihnoo degli Icebergs (1972), The Fourth King (1977) and a new TV series, The Adventures of Marco and Gina (Sopra i tetti di Venezia) (2001).
Mainly Scarpa has been working on Disney comics, many years ago he used to do something non-disney once in a while, so he did one (Rolf Kauka's) Lupo story and one (Hannah and Barbera's) Yogi Bear story. In the '50's he also drew some Angelino story, and Italian character.
In his career Scarpa created many Disney characters that are now widely accepted by everybody to be part of the Disney Universe. Those include, but are not limited to:
- Brigitta McBridge, Scrooge McDuck's self-appointed girlfriend with whom she shares a love/hate relationship;
- Bruto, Ellsworth's stepson.;
- Dickie Duck, a dynamic female teenage-duck which was introduced as the grand-daughter of "Glittering" Goldie O'Gilt;
- Gideon McDuck, a newspaper editor and Scrooge's brother;
- Jubal Pomp, an unlucky wanna-be businessman always trying to imitate Scrooge and failing miserably;
- Kildare Coot, a crazy cousin of Donald Duck's;
- Plottigat, Black Pete's cousin, a genius of crime;
- Trudy, Black Pete's mate and accomplice in crime.
Since 1988 some of his comic stories have been published in the USA by Gladstone publishing; it was the first time that this happened to an Italian Disney author. Later, when Disney Comics took Gladstone's place, they published some more of his stories, and in 2003, the same happened with Gemstone Comics, that is publishing his stories in the US at the moment. Currently (2003) Romano is still active and lives in Spain. He has influenced many younger creators (Giorgio Cavazzano was his inker during the Sixties) and many have attempted to imitate his style.