Interview with Gianluca Piredda: A story that born in Sardinia between Traditional Values and Comics but does not stop on the island

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Today I will write about a story that comes from Sardinia, but which doesn’t stop in Sardinia.

The protagonist of the story is Gianluca Piredda, who lives instead by creating stories. Of course, you create stories if you have a true and credible personal story, and Gianluca has. 

Gianluca Piredda born in Sassari, Sardinia in 1976 and from a very young age, he entered among the leading exponents of Italian independent comics.

For a decade his life as a cartoonist was not the simplest, but those years helped him to forge himself, until he reached the American market in 2000 with sufficient credibility and experience to take his first steps in a market very far from his native Sardinia.

In the US he published “Winds of Winter” and, immediately thereafter, was entrusted by Antarctic Press with the cult series Warrior Nun, created by Ben Dunn.

Over the years the collaboration with Antarctic Press has consolidated and with Ben Dunn and Chuck Dixon, Gianluca has also written Airboy.

Not only a comic writer but also a journalist. In this role he has signed the direction of many important national magazines, has worked for television, has written books (both fiction and non-fiction) – including the bestseller SARDEGNA IN CUCINA (Iacobelli Editore) and written several cult series including Free Fall.

Right now he is one of the leading authors of the Aurea editorial, the publisher of the historic Lanciostory and Skorpio, for which he writes FREEMAN, DRACULA IN THE WEST and DAGO

by Massimo Usai

When did you start working in this sector? I think that many young “aspirants” to your job want to know, how did it happen?

I was very young and in the way it was done at the time: sending the articles and stories I wrote to the publishers.

It was the early 90’s and I was 15. 

I typed, photocopied and sent mail packages. 

My first publication was in Comix, a humour magazine that, years later, has turned into a successful diary. 

For me the 90’s were a decade of apprenticeship, made up of small newspapers, experiments and an independent market. 

Then, in 1999 I came to the US market. Same procedure I did before, but more digital: instead of relying on the post office,I contacted them via email. 

Ben Dunn, who was the editor of Antarctic Press at the time, was interested in Winds of Winter and my international career began from there.

… Then Ben Dunn gave you Warrior Nun. By the way, what do you think of the TV series produced by Netflix?

I may sound biased, but I love the TV series! 

It is actually really beautiful. 

Well written, fantastically directed and the actresses are extraordinary. 

They are great and deserve the best. 

I am really happy.

By the way, it is rumoured that there may be a television comeback from you.  Is there any series of yours in planning?

Yes, but given the period everything is slow and for this reason I would prefer not to talk about it. But anyway, yes … something is brewing.

Lanciostory was born in 1975 and remains a symbolic magazine of those years. Basically, in my opinion, it remains a vintage magazine that travels at full speed in the technological millennium we are living.

Is it a vision that is mine alone and that of most of the readers or is it also shared by you who work within it?

Lanciostory – and so is his “sister” Skorpio – are without doubt “tradition”.

They are two magazines that manage to show great comics and great authors to readers without losing sight of the main purpose: entertainment. 

We have readers who have followed us since the seventies who have often handed down the passion to their children. 

And new readers, those interested in the products we feature weekly. 

As you say, it is a symbol and, if you allow me, an “icon”.

How do you choose the jobs you will work on? Can you choose, or is it a directive you have to follow decided by others?

It depends on the interest and editorial needs. 

It is clear that there are genres in which I perform better and others that I don’t like, so it is useless to accept a project and then I cannot guarantee the best quality. 

When I work on series created by myself, I have maximum freedom.

I know what my publisher – in this case, the Aurea Editorial – and his readers want, so I try to create stories that are suitable for him and his audience. When I work on other people’s characters, as in the case of Dago, then in that case I continually talk with the editorial staff.

Tell me about your characters.

Speaking of the current ones, FREEMAN is the first character I created for the Aurea Editorial and is published in instalments on Skorpio. 

The series is set in Virginia in 1861 and is the story of Theo, a young slave tired of the injustices suffered. 

Accused of the death of the young Marie, he flees without a precise destination. 

Theo’s story is the “excuse” to tell the story of a world that, shortly thereafter, would change. 

The story of a people, of the oppression suffered, of the journey that many slaves made to find freedom and of the clandestine networks that were created. 

Of the betrayals that the fugitives suffered. Of the way in which public opinion perceived slavery five years after its abrogation, in an America that was beginning to no longer be there. 

Differences in treatment between owners and guardians. 

Furthermore, in Freeman there is the music of those years. 

In short, Freeman is a sort of on the road-western in which Theo, more than a protagonist, is a witness of his time. 

A dramatically actually story and in Freeman there will be some situations that can recall the days of today.

DRACULA IN THE WEST, on the other hand, has a completely different mood. 

Published on Lanciostory, It is a reinterpretation of the myth of the vampire by Bram Stoker who, having escaped the final battle, runs away and then arrives in America. 

It is the nineteenth century, we are in the middle of the West. Here Dracula is tired, tired of his life as a fugitive and the darkness begins to hold tight. But it cannot escape its nature.

In these adventures – explains the creator of the series – the Prince of the night will meet and face the mythological creatures of the Native American tradition

Then there is DAGO, even if I didn’t create it myself. It is one of Lanciostory’s cult comics, created in 1980 by Robin Wood

He is an ever-evolving story, as interesting as it is complex. 

His real name is Cesare Renzi, a young scion of a Venetian family. 

It all begins when Cesare’s father discovers that his son’s best friend, Giacomo Barazutti, is involved in a plot to overwhelm the local government. 

Cesare’s family is killed and he himself risks losing his life at the hands of Barazzutti, who stabs him with a dagger.

Thrown into the sea, he is recovered by pirates who rename him Dago because of the weapon stuck in his shoulder

From there it all begins and Dago lives several lives: first as a slave, then as a Janissary, then as a renegade.

In these forty years of editorial life he has traveled the world.

Arriving in America with Cortez, has met many real characters and has been the protagonist of adventures that made Italian and South American readers fall in love with the character, a love that has led the Aurea Editorial to dedicate several series to him. 

The new stories come out weekly on Lanciostory, and then are reprinted in books. 

There are two reprints in Italian format that reproduce the classic stories.

Also in that format, a monthly that presents unpublished and parallel stories. 

I think Dago’s strength is that he’s a classic, novel-like hero. 

The stories I’m writing are inspired by real events, such as The Conspiracy of the Fieschi, set in Genoa and just published in Lanciostory, designed by Edym.

Also I’m writing the Chianca Amara, which has been released on August 10 and which has been drawings by Vincenzo Mercogliano. 

The latter tells of the Vieste massacre.

You also set a story of Dago in Sardinia.

Yes and it will be released this month (September 2020 ndr) , again on Lanciostory, and it blends reality and legend. 

Here Dago moves between Sassari, Porto Torres, Asinara up to Olmedo, of which we tell of the destruction at the hands of the pirates. 

The drawings are by Silvia Marino.

How exactly is a comic story born?

It starts from history.

I have an idea and the development in a subject. 

If the story is good and works, I write it. 

Unlike a film, a comic is scripted panel by panel. It describing the situations that the designer will have to render graphically and inserting the dialogues.

Then, the script passes to the designer who makes the pencils. 

These preliminary drawings are examined and, if necessary, corrections are made. 

Once approved, the pencils are defined and we move on to inking.

Often, and especially in Italy, the inks are made by the designer himself; other times, as happens in America, the inker is a professional figure in its own right. 

At this point, the drawn boards are digitized. 

If the story is in colour, the files go to the colourist; otherwise they go directly to the letterer who adds the speech balloons and writes the dialogues present in the script. 

Supervised further by the editorial and management, the story can go to print.

What work you have done that you are most excited about?

This is a very happy time and I am satisfied with everything I am doing with Aurea. 

I love Dago’s stories and Freeman is giving me a lot of satisfaction.

During your professional life you have worked a little in all areas of communication. In addition to comics, you write books, both essays and fiction, you have worked on TV, in front of the camera and in production, you have worked in radio and produced music, and as a journalist you have written for many prestigious newspapers and many others you have directed. 

Is there any of these media that you miss or that occupies only a moment of your life?

In fact, I have never abandoned them. 

I mainly dedicate myself to comics because it is my life, it is inside my veins but I love to tell stories and any means are good for doing so. 

But to answer your question, what I miss most is the radio. 

It was my passion for a few years in the nineties and I had a lot of fun. I would go back to do it willingly.

I have to confess it’s the thing I miss the most, too. Hours spent talking and playing records on the radio are always the thing I most want to do again.

You are Sardinian (like myself) and quite proud of it.  Does this inspire your work substantially or not?

Sardinia is a magical land and has a certain magnetism that, like it or not, inevitably influences you. It is a land of ancient stories and it is often difficult to distinguish how much myth and reality they contain. 

I’ve never thought about how much it can influence me, but speaking of Dago, for example, the force of the sea manages to make me feel even more in tune with the character. 

They tell me that I have the stubbornness of Sardinians and perhaps it is true, even if I prefer to call it determination. 

As you knows he Sardinians are like this: when they have a good idea, a valid project, they can make it happen. I think both of us could give dozens of examples, I’m right?

Sardinia is my home and I have never left it.

Do you have any quick tips for aspiring comic authors out there?

Those who want to approach the world of fiction professionally must do it seriously, as a sort of mission. 

In short, don’t take it as a hobby: if you want to become a professional you can’t do it in your free time but it must become a full-time job. 

But above all, have fun. If you see you don’t like the hard work behind it, there’s no point in starting.

Thanks Gianluca for the time you have dedicated to me.

Needless to say, His stories are referable to all the links that I tried to insert at the right position in today’s post

Needless to say, His stories are referable to all the links that I tried to insert at the right position in today’s post

Thank you so much to Gianluca

All photographs and content on this website remain the property of Massimo Usai. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced or use anyway without prior written consent.


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