Pseudonym or real name for a cartoonist?

When I began drawing cartoons and comics, I didn’t use to sign my drawings. I was a little boy with many ideas in my mind and I drew just for passion.

Then, I began to sign my cartoons “Daniele”, in italics, until 1994, when finally the pseudonym “Ludus” appeared. The first comic strips I drew were signed with two names, “Ludus et Daniel”, until only Ludus remained in my signature.

I don’t know how and why this name was born (the word in Latin means “game”), but it remained stuck on me and it hasn’t left me anymore.

Taking a look at the past and present cartoonists, there is a lot of variety of names: someone uses the only surname, others the full name, others again an abbreviation of the surname and others a real pseudonym.

Some famous signatures in comics

Here below some examples of the entire variety of ways used by cartoonists to sign their cartoons and comics. They are in chronological order and name and surname are given in brackets:

  • Sto (Sergio Tofano, 1886 – 1973): he’s the author of the famous character “Signor Bonaventura”, published in the children’s magazine «Il Corriere dei Piccoli». The cartoonist created a sort of acronym, taking the first letter of the name and the first syllable of the surname.
  • Segar (Elzie Crisler Segar, 1894 – 1938): the author of Popeye (in Italy we call him “Braccio di Ferro”). Segar signed his comic strips with the surname only, preceded by a cigar. His surname, in fact, is homophone of the English word “cigar”: it is pronounced the same way, “see-gar”.
  • Schulz (Charles M. Schulz, 1922 – 2000): he’is the author of the famous Peanuts. He chose the only surname, six letters … and one syllable!
  • Jacovitti (Franco Benito Jacovitti, 1923 – 1997): italian cartoonist (the J is an idea of him, otherwise the real surname was Iacovitti). He signed his cartoons and comics Jacovitti or Jac, followed by the year. Sometimes, under a white card on which he put his name, he drew a stylized fishbone: when he was a young man, tall and very thin, his nickname was, in fact, “Lisca di pesce” (Fishbone).
  • Mordillo (Guillermo Mordillo, 1932): the crazy cartoons of Mordillo are well known. Still a surname in the signature, although it’s not short. But it has an easy pronunciation, so it’s easy to remember.
  • Magnus (Roberto Raviola, 1939 – 1996): one of the best italian comic artists. He was the graphic creator of the comic character Alan Ford (1969) and, later, the author of many great comic books (The Unknown, The Brigands, just to remember a few). Magnus, in Latin, means “big”. A high-sounding name for a designer at the beginning of his career. But history proved him right.
  • Bonvi (Franco Bonvicini, 1941 – 1995): another italian cartoonist and another abbreviation in the signature. He always signed his comic strips “Bonvi”, because, as he said, he was “The Bonvi”.

So, my signature will remain Ludus in my cartoons and comics: short and easy to remember.

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