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Drawn and Dangerous

Italian Comics of the 1970s and 1980s

Simone Castaldi

Publication Year: 2010

Exploring an overlooked era of Italian history roiled by domestic terrorism, political assassination, and student protests, Drawn and Dangerous: Italian Comics of the 1970s and 1980s shines a new light on what was a dark decade, but an unexpectedly prolific and innovative period among artists of comics intended for adults. Blurring the lines between high art and popular consumption, artists of the Italian comics scene went beyond passively documenting history and began actively shaping it through the creation of fictional worlds where history, cultural data, and pop-realism interacted freely. Featuring brutal Stalinist supermen, gay space travelers, suburban juvenile delinquents, and student activists turned tech-savvy saboteurs, these comics ultimately revealed a volatile era more precisely than any mainstream press. Italian comics developed a journalistic, ideology-free, and sardonic approach in representing the key events of their times. Drawn and Dangerous makes a case for the importance of the adult comics of the '70s and '80s. During those years comic production reached its peak in maturity, complexity, and wealth of cultural references. The comic artists' analyses of the political and religious landscape reveal fresh perspectives on a transformative period in Italian history.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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pp. v

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pp. vii-viii

My first encounter with the comics discussed in this book occurred many years ago. It was 1978, I was ten years old. I walked past a newsstand, Among the dizzying mass of publications on display—newspapers, political weeklies, fashion and sports magazines, paperbacks, and even encyclopedias...

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pp. 3-9

In October 1977 the magazine Alter, at that time the most prestigious publication of adult comics in Italy, featured a fourteen-page story by Filippo Scòzzari titled “Un buon impiego” (A Good Position). Set in a not-too-distant future in and around the Italian city of Bologna, “Un buon impiego” told the story...

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1. Italian Adult Comics Before '77

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pp. 11-38

The Italian comics of the late ’70s and ’80s belong to a particular niche of the medium of sequential art we identify here as “adult comics.” The term “adult,” rather than referring exclusively to content (although content represents an important discriminating factor) or to an aesthetic and arbitrary cultural evaluation, is employed here simply in reference to the ...

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2. The Emergence of the Second Generation of Adult Comics in Its Political Context

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pp. 39-77

The radical rewriting of codes the new adult comics were to enact on their medium—the intense dialogue between the high and low end of the cultural spectrum, their tendency towards intertextuality as well as cultural horizontality—are all tightly linked to the climate of social...

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3.The Authors

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pp. 87-132

Pazienza is without doubt the most renowned among the authors of the new Italian comics. Barely in his 20s, Pazienza had already been published in the era’s most important comic magazines including Cannibale, Il Male,Frigidaire, Linus, Alter, Corto Maltese, and Comic Art. Unfortunately, as is often the case with artists, Pazienza’s widest audience...

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pp. 133-136

As the ’80s drew to a close, so did the Italian adult comics movement. This change was paralleled throughout the industry, particularly in France, but to a lesser degree in the American market. In addition to the premature departure of two of its leading figures, Tamburini and Pazienza, one contributing factor to the Italian...


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pp. 137-143


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pp. 145-147


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pp. 149-150

E-ISBN-13: 9781604737493
E-ISBN-10: 1604737492
Print-ISBN-13: 9781604737776
Print-ISBN-10: 1604737778

Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2010