Wednesday, February 9, 2011
After taking only one examination, he left school and moved to Milan, finding work with the publicity agency SPINTA where his workload included drawing movie posters featuring many of the actors in vogue at the time. Two years later, the company went bankrupt and Asteriti found himself in Milan without any work.
Not wishing to return to Venice in defeat, Asteriti hawked his portfolio around various publishers. His interest in comics had developed as a child and, whilst still in Venice, he had known Giorgio Trevisan and Leone Frollo, the latter a Venetian contemporary who introduced him to Giorgio Bellavitis, and other members of the Asso di Picche group, Faustinelli, Ongaro and Pratt.
He found work with Giuseppe Caregaro in 1955 and was one of a group of talented newcomers who began working for Caregaro's Edizioni Alpe around that era. Asteriti created the character 'Bingo Bongo', the comic adventures of a young black boy, for the weekly Cucciolo. Other strips from this period included 'Congolino' and 'Capitan Jolando', as well as covers for Voici d'Oltremare di Bianconi/Missionari Combboniani and contributions to La Vispa Teresa.
He continued to draw for the British market until the mid-1970s, also contributing to Bobo Bunny, and illustrations to Disneyland and Walt Disney's Now I Know.
His work also continued to appear in Italy where he worked illustrated romance novels for Rizzoli editore in the late 1950s and then revived the character 'Formichino' (created by Roberto Sgrilli) for Selezione dei Ragazzi. In the early 1960s he also drew 'Hayawatha' for Corriere dei Piccoli in collaboration with Antonio Lupatelli. Asteriti has alos illustrated fairy stories for AMZ, Boschi and Carroccio.
In 1963, Asteriti produced 'Pippo e la vacanza culturale', his first strip for the Italian Disney magazine Topolino. Over the next decade he contributed to Disney Italia with increasing regularity, drawing both Pippo (Goofy) and Topolino (Mickey Mouse). He quickly became recognised as one of the leading contributors, both as an artist and, since 1974, a scriptwriter (a task he occasionally shared with his older brother, Franco), and eventually dropped his other work in order to concentrate on Disney characters full time, especially Mickey Mouse. Asteriti has described Mickey as "the best friend of my childhood", a character with whom he grew up. "The only drawback is that I have grown older while he has remained the same, young and healthy, without ever catching a cold!"
"The public prefer Donald... Personally, what I like most about Mickey Mouse is that he is pure adventure, with situations that are not necessarily comic. [Mickey] can live in any age, in any circumstance, whether it's western, historical or science fiction. There are no limits of time or space for him. It's greatly satisfying and never boring... I love Mickey Mouse when I find the right balance between adventure poetry and humour. It's a difficult balance which involves a good dose of loving effort by both those who write it and whoever draws."
He was awarded Il Premio Papersera in 2008.
Examples of his artwork can be found for sale here.