Born in Quadri, Gaetano Liberatore studied architecture before he turned to illustrating and advertising assignments in 1975. Three years later, he teamed up with Stefano Tamburini and Andrea Pazienza to create a first version of ‘Rankxerox’ for the magazine Cannibale. A year later, the comic also appeared in Il Male. In 1980, Liberatore was present in the new magazine Frigidaire. He did the illustration series ‘Bordello’ and ‘Client’, and he made a new version of the ‘Rankxerox’ comic, this time rebaptized ‘RanXerox’ and drawn by Liberatore alone and scripted by Tamburini.
‘RanXerox’ also found its way to the French audience with its publication in L’Écho des Savanes from 1981. Liberatore then moved to Paris, where he began a versatile career in illustration (Tranfert, Métal Hurlant, À Suivre). In addition to RanXerox, he produced a variety of short comic stories written by Setbono, Daniel Varenne, Bruce Jones or Burce Helford for among others L’Écho des Savanes, Chic (in France), Twisted Tales and Hustler (USA). Some of these stories were collected in the 1984 comic book ‘Vidéo-Clips’.
The death of his friend Tamburini led to his departure from the comics field and his focus on illustration. He then illustrated Pierre Pelot and Yves Coppens’s ‘Le Rêve de Lucy’. He briefly revived the ‘RanXerox’ character in 1993 and 1996, this time in cooperation with respectively Jean-Luc Fromental and Alain Chabat. Several book collections with his illustrations have appeared, such as ‘Les Filles de Liberatore’. In 1998, he began ‘Histoires de Filles’ in L’Écho des Savanes.
Although the work of Tanino Liberatore could be called realistic, this Italian comic artist has elements that go far beyond the traditional boundaries of the realistic genre. With the strange settings of his stories and the unusual coloring (for instance with lipstick) Liberatore’s work could also be called bizarre, an impression that is reinforced by his use of “ultra-violence”. Besides comics, Liberatore is also well-known for the design of the cover of the 1982 Frank Zappa record ‘The Man from Utopia’.