Isn’t the influence of Italian Westerns – in particular of Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo – on Blueberry quite obvious in the story Ballade pour un cercueil (Ballad for a Coffin), first published in Pilote (647–679) from March until November 1972?
Giraud acknowledged the impact of Leone’s and Peckinpah’s Westerns on his work in several interviews: « J’ai progressivement intégré le choc provoqué par les films de Sam Peckinpah, puis de Sergio Leone. » (DBD, 27 , p. 92) Interestingly, Leone’s Westerns weren’t shown in France before 1966. When exactly Giraud saw his first Spaghetti Western is open to speculation, maybe as early as March 1966 (Pour une poignée de dollars), in all probability not as late as August 1969 (Il était une fois dans l’Ouest): in 1968 he and Goscinny collaborated on a four-page spoof of the “Western italien,” published in the second issue of Super Pocket Pilote.
[Our transalpine friends have been making Westerns for some time now. They do it with talent, and it is difficult to distinguish those films from the ones made in the USA. Certain details, however, sometimes betray the film’s Latin origins. On these pages we will present to you Western scenes, some shot in the USA, others in Italy. It’s for you to find out which of these scenes belong to the … Italian Western / Hey, Joe! It seems you’re looking for me?! / Dad! Dad is back!]