Created by:  Marcel Navarro (1919- )
Scripts: Cesare Solini, Attilio Mazzanti, Maurizio Torelli, Veronese, Mario Gomboli, Agostini
Art: Augusto Pedrazza ("Special-Kiwi" 15, "Zembla" eps. 1, 2, 4, 6; "Special-Zembla" eps. 2-5); Pietro Gamba ("Zembla" eps. 3, 5, 17, 24); Biffignandi ("Special-Zembla" ep. 8); Pietro Gamba ("Special-Zembla" eps. 7, 9, 10B, 11, 13); Bertrand Charlas ("Special-Zembla"eps. 16-18, 20-25, 27, 28, 30-33B, 35-37, 39, 41, 42, 44-46); Franco & Fausto Oneta (all others)

The Story


Zembla is a Tarzan-like hero created in 1963 by Marcel Navarro, publisher & editor-in-chief of Editions Lug, to compete with the highly successful Akim, published by his competitor, Editions Aventures & Voyages. 

Akim was created in 1950 in Italy by Robert Renzi (story) and Augusto Pedrazza (art) for the magazine "Albo Gioiello" and was published in France in an eponymous small format title starting in 1958.  Akim (real name: Jim Rank) is the son of a British consul and his wife, shipwrecked in Africa.  After his parents are killed by wild beasts, young Jim is raised by a gorilla and eventually become Akim, Son of the Jungle.  Akim later marries Rita, and has a son, also named Jim.  His companions are Kar the gorilla, Zig a female monkey, Baroi the elephant and Rag the lion.  His adventures pit him not only against ordinary villains but also a host of mad scientists, would-be world conquerors, super-powered adversaries, lost races, etc. 
Zembla is virtually identical to Akim, except for his long hair.  (They were visually created by the same artist, Augusto Pedrazza.)  His companions are a young, somewhat reckless African teenager wearing a MP helmet and an alarm clock nicknamed "Yeye", and a grouchy Mandrake-like circus magician named Rasmus.  His animal sidekicks are Bwana the lion, Petoulet the kangaroo (!) and Satanas, a grouchy but loyal wild cat-like beast.





Publishing History

Zembla's adventures began in "Special-Kiwi" No. 15, before moving into its own monthly title the following month, in July, 1963.  A year later, a companion title, "Special-Zembla" was launched.  Until No. 199 (1973), "Zembla" published only new stories.  From No. 200 to No. 295 (1979), it alternated new stories and reprints.  The last new story appeared in No. 297 (1979).   "Special-Zembla" is still continuing today, but only published original stories in Nos. 1-68.  Recent reprints featured new covers by Jean-Marc Laine, Aleksi, Edouard Cop, Momo, Jean-Jacques Dzialowski, etc, 

It is worth noting that "Zembla" featured a large number of back-up features, often crearted by Marcel Navarro and scripted and drawn by Italian writers and artists, including: Fury (the adventures of an American lieutenant during the Korean war adventures -- coincidentally no relation to the Marvel character), Mac (a scotsman in the old west), Rakar (a western crime-fighter), Gun Gallon and Dick Demon (another western hero), etc.


The Authors


Augusto Pedrazza (1923- ) is an Italian artist who began his career in comics in 1943.  Among his early creations are Jean Bolide and La Dama di Picche.  In 1948, he began working for publisher Marino Tomasina, for whom he co-created numerous series including: Pierino (1948), Kid Meteora (1949), Scugnizzo (1949), Piccolo Corsaro (1950), Akim (1950), Birba (1950), Il Principe Nero (1950), Lazo Jim (1951), Fulgor (1952), Virgola (1953), Tabor (1954), Tony Comet (1954), Dinamite Kid (1957), Guingla Bill (1958), etc. 

Franco Oneta (1933- ) is an Italian artist who began his comics career in 1949 at Giurleo with Trottolino.  He then worked for Messagero dei Ragazzi for which he co-created Anacleto, Spiritello, Robin Poot, Pallino, etc. before working for Lug on Zembla and a number of western series.