Mario Capaldi (1935-2004) is an odd case of a key Jinty artist. He had a uniquely visible position as a long-term cover artist during not just one but two time periods, strongly setting the visual identity of the comic. Like fellow British artist Phil Townsend, Mario Capaldi had a very solid style, strongly grounded in the day to day world around him; his covers nevertheless show that he was well able to draw a wide range of sports that will have required research and imagination. However, when you come to tot up the comics stories that he did over that time, it is not as substantial a body of work as you might have thought. Despite that, he is clearly one of the key artists of this title.
He started off his time at Jinty drawing “The Jinx From St Jonah’s“, which from issue 4 occupied a prominent position on the cover almost every week. The cover page was nominally a page of comics in that it showed a sequence of two or three panels, but the big focus was on the splash image, a very dynamic drawing of Katie Jinks typically in the middle of some pratfall or other. This continued until the time of the Jinty & Lindy merger in November 1975. Mario Capaldi continued drawing the story for a while longer but by the middle of 1976 this too had come to an end.
That wasn’t the end of Capaldi’s work in Jinty, but he didn’t appear again regularly for some years. 1976 saw him start a stand-alone story (“Champion In Hiding”) but without finishing it: it was completed by another artist. (“Jinx” had also had episodes continued by other artists, but this is not as surprising for an ongoing humour strip with no fixed end point as it is for a story that will typically not last for much longer than four months or so in any case.) 1977 saw him start and complete another stand-alone story, “Cursed To Be A Coward!”; not one of my top picks, but handily proving he could pull off creepy just as well as zany.
He must have been in the mood for creepy work, because he did a lot of work for sister publication Misty over the two years that it ran. (I assume he did not leave Jinty purely in order to work for Misty, because that was first published in February 1978, some considerable time after the last episode of “Jinx” ran; and even if the first batch of stories for a new comic are likely to be written and drawn some time in advance, that would still mean Capaldi potentially drawing “The Sentinels” for Misty at a similar time as when “Cursed To Be A Coward!” was running in Jinty.)
His return to the pages of Jinty does follow quite nicely on the heels of Misty‘s merger with Tammy, so I could well imagine that’s not a coincidence. He then drew a couple of key stories for Jinty – one of Mistyfan’s favourites, “Dracula’s Daughter“, and one of my favourites, “Life’s A Ball For Nadine”. It is his cover images, though, that will be a particular part of many Jinty readers’ iconic memories of the title.
- The Jinx From St Jonah’s (1974 – 76)
- Champion in Hiding (1976) – initial episodes drawn by Mario Capaldi
- Cursed to be a Coward! (1977; summary page)
- Life’s A Ball For Nadine (1980 – 81)
- Dracula’s Daughter (1981; summary page)
[Edited in Jan 2015 to add the following]
It seems sensible to also include a list of the stories that Mario Capaldi is known to have worked on in other titles or publications:
- The Sentinels (Misty)
- The Button Box (Tammy)
- Daughter of The Regiment (Tammy)
- Wee Sue (Tammy)
- Winner Loses All (Misty)