• Steven Heller

Futurist Wacky By Antonio Rubino

Antonio Rubino (1880-1964) was one of Italy’s most popular comics artists and children’s book illustrators; he created Italy’s first animation studio too. After earning a law degree, Rubino redoubled his efforts towards a career in journalism and illustration. He is considered by some (like me) to be a kind of a wacky Futurist. You might say, Rubino was the “pop” version of Fortunato Depero, noted Dan Nadel in Stylepedia. He shared with him “a gift for rendering form and shape in the new, mechanized style while retaining a fanciful, almost Deco flair for ornament.”

His first job was illustrating the book ‘L’Albatros’ by Alberto Colantuoni. His most well-known comic strip Quadratino (“Little Square Head) was about a square-headed boy who finds having a geometric head something of a problem. “The strip is about the play of geometric forms in space and amongst other objects,” adds Nadel. “Quadaratino reflects both what Futurism was reacting against . . .” giving adults and children a dose of Futurist art practice.

Throughout Rubino’s career, he drew for magazines like Il Secolo XIX, Risorgimento Grafico, Il Giornalino della Domenica and La Lettura. Antonio Rubino may be best remembered for in 1908 he founded, edited and worked for the children’s newspaper- magazine Corriere dei Piccoli, where he created numerous comics up until 1927. In 1942 he released Nel paese dei ranocchi, followed by Crescendo rossiniano (1943) and finally L’arco dei sette colori (1955).

A collection of Rubino’s contemporary looking kids’ books under the title “La Scuola Die Giogattoli" were reprinted by Scalpendi Editore and sell for 5 Euro a piece at Frattelli Bonvini Milano.

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