Today is Free Comic Book Day, so I’m featuring another Revolutionary War comic, brought to my attention by Boston 1775 reader Judith Cataldo. This series appeared at different rates from 1966 to 2000—in Italy, of all places.
Il Comandante Mark seems to have been the Italian fumetti version of DC Comics’s Tomahawk, a frontier warrior. Here is a website devoted to him—in Italian, naturally.
This is the most detailed description of the comic I could find in English. The translation mixes up our Revolutionary War with our Civil War, but then Comandante Mark’s costume mixes up the centuries as well. (And the American Revolution was a civil war.) The story begins in 1966:
Pietro Sartoris, Dario Guzzon and Giovanni Sinchetto, or better known has the EsseGesse trio, proposed to Sergio Bonelli a project regarding...a leader of a valiant group of patriots: the Comandante Mark (Commander Mark).The facts that there would have been no distinction between “the English” and “a patriot” when Mark was a shipwrecked child, and that Ontario remained British throughout the war and for decades afterward, might give us pause about this comic’s historical accuracy.
Mark is a French nobleman, as a child he was shipwrecked thanks to the English, but survived when a patriot saved him; he was than raised by a tribe of Native American Indians. His adoptive father teaches him fighting and fencing, as well as the values of liberty, loyalty and defending those oppressed. Following his father’s hanging, Mark becomes the leader of a group of patriots: the Lupi dell’Ontario (Ontario’s Wolves). They fight against the hated Giubbe Rosse (Red Coats) in an idealistic universe that’s severely split into good and bad guys.
Mark also has two inseparable stooges, the often main characters of comic relief: Mister Bluff and Gufo Triste. The first is an always happy individual from a mysterious past, the second, is an Indian who’s always intent in predicting misfortune and fighting against Flok, Mister Bluff’s dog. Mark also has a fiancée, the blond Betty who he’ll eventually marry...The fumetti covers indicate that Mark he took time away from redcoats to fight a samurai, a tiger, and ghosts. I would, too, if I were saddled with “inseparable stooges.”
Here are entries on Comandante Mark at the Italian version of Wikipedia and Cartoni Online. In 1971 the comic inspired a Turkish movie called Captain Swing.