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"Spy 13" from Thriller Picture Library, early 1960s

Alberto Breccia, one of the most significant artists in international comics, spent a brief time drawing war and western comics in the UK in the 1960s.

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, on 15 April 1919, Breccia moved with his family to Buenos Aires, Argentina, when he was three. After leaving school he worked in a tripe factory, before joining the staff of El Resero magazine in 1938, where he wrote articles and drew covers. In 1939 he moved the publishing house Manuel Láinez, where he drew comic strips, including adaptations of popular novels. In the 50s he started the Pan-American School of Art in Buenos Aires with Italian artist Hugo Pratt, and created several comics series for Editorial Frontera.

In 1960 he joined an agency in Buenos Aires that got him work in the UK on Fleetway's picture library titles for a brief period. Comics he drew include:

  • Super Detective Picture Library
    • No 172 (April 1960): Passport to Peril
  • Cowboy Comics Library
    • No 361 (July 1960): Kit Carson and the Comanche Prince
    • No. 395 (March 61): Billy the Kid: Outlaw's Vengeance
    • No. 402 (May 1961): Buck Jones: Apache Manhunt
    • No. 410 (July 1961): Buck Jones: The Hunter
    • No. 439 (February 1962): Kansas Kid: The Gun Crew
    • No. 447 (April 1962): Danger Money
    • No. 450 (May 1962): Buck Jones: Trigger Man
  • Thriller Picture Library
    • No. 336 (October 60): Spy 13 and the Mountains of Terror
    • No. 348 (January 1961): Spy 13: Gamble with Danger
    • No. 376 (September 1961): Spy 13 and the Sea Scourge
    • No 399 (1962): John Steel: Motive for Murder

He also drew for Lone Rider and Wild West Picture Library. His son Enrique Breccia drew a few war stories for Fleetway in the late 1960s, including Spy 13 stories.

Back in Argentina, tiring of drawing westerns, he teamed up with writer Héctor Germán Oesterheld and his reputation grew. In 1962-4 he and Oesterheld created the horror-science-fiction series Mort Cinder, regarded as one of the greatest Argentinian comics. The appearance of the main character, Cinder, was based on Breccia's assistance Horacio Lalia, and his companion, Winston, was based on Breccia himself. In 1968 Breccha and his son teamed with Oesterheld to create a comic strip biography of Che Guevara, which is considered the reason behind Oesterheld's later disappearance. On another collaboration with Oesterheld, El Eternauta, Breccia's artwork became more and more graphically experimental, a trend he continued into the 1970s, mixing collage, acrylic paint and watercolour. His work was a major influence on the American artist Bill Sienkiewicz and the British artist Dave McKean. He died in Buenos Aires on 10 November 1993.


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