Giancarlo Tenenti, a life between comics and judo

Giancarlo Tenenti is one of those people who, in a simple conversation, has moved me an incredible affection.
For someone who as a child dreamed of being a cartoonist, to find herself talking to a pillar of Italian comics is a unique emotion.

Giancarlo is a quiet, calm person, who is a pleasure to listen to for hours. He’s a cartoonist, I’m a photographer, and we both share a common passion: judo.
I interviewed Giancarlo for an article for FIJLKAM FVG, but for me this meeting was much more than that. The first time we met, we were in the gym, at Sekai Budo Pordenone, where, at 88 years of age, he still trains.

He tells me about his history, about the School of Advanced Art at the Castello Sforzesco where his desk neighbor was Giorgio Armani and how he met Carla Fracci and Lucio Dalla on the streetcar. His stories are lost in the atmosphere of other times, but in front of me everything becomes real, as if his words were transformed into his drawings. His hand lent itself to the Diabolik stories, but above all to the creation of Mister X, conceived by Giancarlo himself.

And then we meet again, on another day, at his house, where he lets me enter what for me is a real museum: his studio. “In the house before, it was big, here it’s small,” he tells me. Yet to me it seems like one of the most fascinating places in the world. Everywhere there are boards and drawings, and among them there are also diplomas won in judo. I observe his precise, studied features, where nothing is left to chance. Giancarlo is a man of other times, who does his work with care and passion. He is able to marry two things as different as drawing and judo, driven by a continuous desire to improve.

Giancarlo is a phenomenon, one of those examples that remind us that age doesn’t matter if we know how to cultivate in our hearts what is capable of making us feel alive.