Cocco Bill is an absurd and satirical Wild West cartoon by an Italian artist Benito Jacovitti (1923–1997).

Cocco Bill is a cool cowboy with extra fast trigger finger. He always prefers to drink chamomile tea instead of whisky, and if somebody doesn't like it, the geezer won't do the same mistake again. He sleeps (zzzz) with his cigarette-smoking and talking white horse Trottalemme (Finnish: Hölkky, English: Slowtrot). He is The Good guy who dislikes the Bad and the Ugly ones, so they'll soon notice him to be a very trigger-happy person.

Cocco Bill lives in a world of walking talking sausages, bones sticking up from the ground everywhere, slug-kind of a creatures lying around and making comments, mad injuns, evil intrigues, and, of course, a great variety of villains, scoundrels and dirty tricks.

Like Lucky Luke, Cocco Bill is very determined to catch the bad-guys and other outlaws. There's no way to dodge his bullets, and he doesn't suffer from the restrictions of a six-shooter. –In fact, you once could buy Cocco Bill toy guns: a revolver that's an eight or twelve-shooter, or an eight-shooter toy riffle, made by Italian Edison Giocattoli S.p.A. As is happens, I do have a set of both.

But unlike Lucky Luke, he doesn't hesitate to use violence against his enemies. Usually villains don't get to end up in jail, they'll be sent straight to hell, and they'll get a thorough ventilation before that, too. He doesn't even spare his own horse: Trottalemme gets his ass kicked if he doesn't realize to shut up! And boy, does he want to make comments! But Trottalemme is always ready to give the oatlaws hard times as well.
 


Jacovitti created Cocco Bill in 1957. Cocco Bill is more than 60 years old—but oh no—no rocking chairs for our hero! One thing is a bit of a problem, though: old Cocco Bill albums are falling into pieces! In Finland the comic albums—ten by total—were published in 1975–79. So you'll be lucky to find an album 'cos they're pretty old. And costly! This sad situation was changed in the end of 2011. A Finnish comics publisher ZumTeufel made a cultural efford and republished Cocco Bill as a one hardback book: Cocco Bill part 1 : The Chamomile Cowboy Arrives in Town. It has four stories from the early Cocco years. Unfotunately there has not been a part 2 after that, and part 1 does not include any of the stories from the ten comic albums.
 


Jacovitti's pictures are full of... well... violence. And madness. But aren't the western movies as well? Jacovitti's father Michele Iacovitti was a railwayman, but he also worked in a local cinema as a reel operator. Little Jac had a very good chance to watch movies, and he liked especially the western movies. There's a lot of action and movement and "sound" in Jacovitti's drawings. The scene is full of funny details, people doing something strange, and the plot has somewhat absurd turns.

Jacovitti also drew several other characters, like Zorry Kid – a parody of Zorro, and Karolin Kananjalka (freely translated Carolus Chickenleg, Gamba di quaglia in Italian). Kananjalka is a pirate with a chicken's leg instead of the traditional wooden leg. Before becoming a pirate he worked in a salami factory, and accidently chopped off his leg. "Why did you cut it off? It was such a fine leg!" asks his colleague in an astonishment. Then he visited a cheap vet who gave him a chicken leg, and his leg was given to a chicken! The chicken was happy, Carolus was not. Vet says: "You've got a nerve to complain?! Chicken leg is far better than no leg at all!" – Well, I told you Jacovitti's work is very very absurd, didn't I!?

At least in Finland these characters didn't have an album of their own but they appeared as separate series on Cocco Bill albums.

Jacovitti did some "porn strips" as well. In 1977 he did an adaptation of Kama Sutra with Marcello Marchesi. Some crazy little gags about butt-nekkid people... But he was given a lot of critisism for what he've done. He got the boot from his employer at the time, a catholic children's magazine Il Diario Vitt. Even his wife told him off! Notwithstanding the criticism, he just went on his way. He cooperated with Italian erotic magazine Playmen which published a Kamasutra Special Issue in 1980. He was also drawing some political cartoons. His style was a bit of an anarchistic though, which didn't please both the extreme right-wing or the leftists.
 


Kinda funny thing happened when I bought my first Cocco Bill album, back in 199-sumthing: I was wandering around a second-hand bookshop in Albertstreet in Helsinki. I found one Cocco-album and decided to buy it—I just thought why not? I remembered seing an album cover in the magazine stand when just a wee kid with no money but craving for it. And, my spouse had one, but faaaaar from mint condition.

Then suddenly a middle-aged woman rushed in, and asked the sales clerk a little out of breath: "Could you please help me, I'm a bit in a hurry? I'm running some errands in town and my son asked me, if I could find him some Cocco Bill comic books. Do you have any?" "Yes, ma'am, we do have one here somewhere..." They started looking for it, and I had to tell them that it wasn't available anymore... Sorry kid, someone got it first!
 


Here's some dialog from one of the Cocco Bill albums I translated from Finnish:

 

The villains shoots the sheriff...

Later the villain gets killed by some furious citizens...

Everyone knows Cocco drinks camomile only ...but Tom Thoroclean. He has it coming...

 


Created 1996 – Updated 2020-04-28
 
  Pictures by permission and copyright of Benito Jacovitti.
 
 
Characters face to face

Characters by album
Finnish – text only

Albums in Finnish

One-liners & Dialog
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Benito Jacovitti

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