The Benandanti were a cult, or coven, of witches in Italy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benandanti for more about them. They believed they could venture into the spirit world in the form of animals to fight evil. So when I first thought of the idea of a comic about an Astral Bodyguard, it seemed like an obvious choice for the name. Instead of fighting demons in the Netherworld, Ben works as a down at heel detective who ventures into the Astral Realm as a giant ginger gorilla to solve crimes. When he doesn’t just make things worse.
He first appeared nearly twenty years ago, in a comic I did with Dylan Bartwick and Roy Weatherley, who is still doing the excellent Jack P Chill here; http://www.questionableproductions.co.uk/. Unfortunately I lost touch with Dylan, who I knew from the London Cartoon Centre. Hopefully he’s still working somewhere.