Inspired by an icon of silent films, the actress Louise Brooks, Valentina is one of the most renowned comic book characters in the world: notable for being a female main character.
She is beloved by men, for whom she embodies an elegant and sensual world; and by women, as a symbol of independence and charm. Although she’s a dreamer, Valentina lives in a believable world. Her birthday, ID card, son, job, car, clothes, household objects: it’s all there, a snapshot of a convincing everyday life.
Valentina first appeared in the magazine Linus in 1965, and quickly became a symbol of the 60s and 70s. She continued to reflect fashions and trends in later decades as well. Her style – original and cutting-edge – lends her contemporary relevance.
Valentina’s complex, well-rounded personality, led many women to identify with her. In addition to comic book stories, she’s also starred in a film, a TV series and a book. Today, she has a universal and timeless look that translates well into sophisticated and elegant products. Free from her narrative origins she has been reborn as a contemporary icon.
Valentina returns in a glamorous tile collection by Del Conca, featuring classic black and white images, and available in two décors. The first, 500 by 200mm, for vertical installations, is dominated by the character’s stunning physique. In the second one, 200 by 500mm, for horizontal installations, flashes of red recall creator Guido Crepax’s attention to detail, and the great impact his pen strokes made in the polymesmeric world of comic books.
Born in Milan in 1933, Guido Crepax crafted his first comic book story when he was just 12 years old. After graduating in architecture, he chose to focus on advertising design, creating campaigns for Shell, Campari, Esso, Standa, Rizzoli, Dunlop, and then Terital, Iveco, Fuji, Breil and Honda. In 1965, thanks to the magazine Linus, he came back to comics to create the character that made him famous throughout the world: Valentina, one of the few comic book heroines and probably the only one who aged along with her creator.
His adaptations of a few literature classics into comics were meticulous and sophisticated … from Emmanuelle to Histoire d’O, from Justine to Venus in Furs, from Dracula to Frankenstein, from Doctor Jekyll to The Turn of the Screw, from Poe to Kafka. Overall, he drafted over 5,000 comic book pages, and his books have been published in about 200 editions in the major known languages.
In 40 years of work, he has also made hundreds of illustrations for newspapers, album covers, furnishings, fashion and design. He also worked in theatre and made dozens of lithographs. There have been many personal exhibits dedicated to him in Italy and abroad. He passed away on 31 July 2003.
A selection of the most beautiful pages by Guido Crepax that inspired the images featured by Del Conca were shown at Cersaie. Curated on Del Conca’s stand, the exhibit featured 10 pages from some of Valentina’s most engaging stories, drafted in the 60s and 70s, with Crepax’s favourite technique using black India ink on Schoeller cardboard.
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, November 2017.