The Italian Almanac

Zagor, the ghost with an axe

Sergio Bonelli

Italian comics great Sergio Bonelli, publisher of the much-loved Western heroes Tex and Zagor as well as cult 'paranormal detective' Dylan Dog, died in Milan. He was 79.

Tex, who was created by Bonelli's father in the 50s, inspired TV and feature films. Dylan Dog, created in 1986 by Tiziano Sclavi, was also made into a film, while its sales overtook those of Tex. Zagor, invented by Bonelli himself, was another hit for the Cepim stable, which became a publishing giant under his stewardship, Italy's biggest comics and cartoon house.

Mr No - another Bonelli creation - Martin Mystere and Nathan Never were other international successes for Bonelli, who also oversaw a Tamil language version of Tex. In an interview a few years ago, Bonelli said "I wouldn't have been able to do anything else".

He was an honorary citizen of Milan and in 2008 received a civic award for "helping make Milan the Italian comics publishing capital and making generations of children love reading".

Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia said: "Sergio Bonelli thrilled generations of children and grown-ups with his comics. "His characters, from Tex Willer to Dylan Dog, have gone down in the history of cartoons, amazing us with their adventurs which made us dream and which we will always remember".