And the day came. It was 1979, there sat the six finished pages. It was a different comic, revolutionary to a certain extent at that time, since it was painted entirely in oils. So my agent took the samples to an Italian book fair to see the reactions of the other editors. It could be a success or could also be completely rejected, especially by the most orthodox who liked line drawings and, if possible, black and white. I had used all of my resources to make sure the samples would call attention, but it would not be the first time that my hopes in search for work would be dashed. But no, my agent came back excited: the samples had been such a success that he brought a half dozen signed pre-contracts.
After the initial excitement, I realized that I had a new problem: I had to continue the story. I had always liked to write but had never written a script. What’s more, I didn’t even know where to start. But maybe due to this, and due to being new in the world of comics, I had many new ideas taking root in my passions that could be used. So I started to think about how to extend the story. The ideas, I don’t know why, would occur to me in the middle of the night and I can’t count how many times since then I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night to jot down something interesting because I know that in the morning I won’t remember.
In this first issue of The Mercenary everything was chaotic because, in addition to having to alternate that with working on covers, there was no pre-set script. I was adding ideas as I went along, and in fact you can see that there are three different stories: the initial rescue of the girl, giving her back to her husband, and the adventure that happens under the clouds with the appearance of the hot air balloon. But the first thing I had to do in order to continue with the story was find a suitable setting to justify the presence of these flying animals.