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KREMOS: THE LOST ART OF NISO RAMPONI

Kremos coversEdited by Joseph Procopio
Vol.1—Bodacious Black and White
Introduction by Mario Verger
200 8½ x 11-inch pages, b/w
2015 Picture This Press paperback
$27.95

Vol.2—Curvaceous Color
Foreword by Jerry Carr

260 8½ x 11-inch pages, b/w
2015 Picture This Press paperback
$34.95

The best way to review this sumptuous two-volume set is to post a few pictures lovingly torn from their interiors. The set is the eighth production of Kremos drawingLost Art Books from Picture This Press, and it focuses on the Italian cartoonist, animator and illustrator known as the “King of the little ladies” — the provocative women of his cartoons for the weekly humor magazine il Travaso (“the overflow”) and its occasional supplement, il Travasissimo, from the late 1940s through the early 1960s. Ramponi’s career was mostly in animation, and his lively line embodies the dashed-off breezy quick drawing we expect from an animator, but Ramponi’s pictures, while they have all the energy of sketches, have also the appearance of highly polished finished art. In the color work of Volume 2, the color is judiciously applied, then splashed with accenting hues. Whether in black-and-white or in color, his drawings are an unabashed delight, as you’ll see in a trice.

“KREMOS” is how Ramponi signed his cartoons, an adaptation of the signature he employed while in the army, when regulations prohibited his moonlighting in his profession. To avoid a copyright fight with a painter who also signed his work KREMOS, Ramponi abandoned the pen name in 1957 and signed his work with his first name, Niso. But it was his cartoons signed KREMOS that seeped into the U.S. occasionally in the mildly risque digest magazines published in the 1950s by Humorama, Jest, Gee Whiz, Gaze et al.

And now for a sampling of his cartoony good girls, whose embonpoint evokes another (somewhat more celebrated) Italian figure, Sophia Loren’s. KREMOS’ women became somewhat more slender as time passed but no less appealing. They are given generous display in these volumes, one cartoon to a page; and each cartoon is copiously sourced. Visit Lost Art Books website for more pictures and to order your copies.

Kremos2

Kremos4

The captions on KREMOS’ cartoons appear, alas, at a tiny dimension. You can enlarge the pictures to read them, but you’ll discover, as I did, that the ribald comedy of the 1950s is pretty tame (not to say lame) so you’ll better spend your time just admiring the view.

 

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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