6/20/12

Fumetti #1


No. Fumetti is not a pasta - although, fumetti with scallops and red sauce does sound quite good.  Fumetti is just the Italian word for "comic" ("fumetti" literally means "puff of smoke" which resembles the speech balloons found in comics).

But I'm not here to talk about Italian Aquaman comic books - I'm here to talk about the brand of 70s - 80s Italian fumetti that can best be described as "twisted and depraved to an incomprehensible extent".  These are comic books that would make Caligula feel uncomfortable.  Even the Marquis de Sade would feel guilty and ashamed after reading these things.  Alistair Crowley would say they are "just wrong"..... do you get my point?

And yet, your old pal, Gilligan, loves these sick little bastards from Italy.  Truth be told, they were actually rather popular, and have a fairly large cult following to this day.  Sure, the stories and illustrations were perverted and debased, but there's something worthwhile in this "trash" if you give it the benefit of the doubt.



What sets these apart from EERIE, Vampirella and CREEPY (their US counterparts) is the line of good taste that they cross.... and then continue to cross until you almost can't believe what you're reading.  Indeed, the black & white panels between the covers never failed to live up to the debauchery and horror portrayed on the cover.  More often than not, they surpassed your most craven expecations.

Of course, when you take a step on the Dark Side, you start to run into taboos - subjects that make people feel extremely uncomfortable.  In the world of Italian fumetti, there is no such thing as a taboo - there is such a high degree of sex and violence in these pages, that taboos are laughably passe.


Before I begin the first gallery, I guess I should just get to my point.  Life is sometimes extremely graphic in its gore and violence- ask anyone who's been to war, or your local homicide investigators.  Life is sometimes explicit in its sexual nature - ask anyone who's ever had sex before.  Well, the fumetti of the 70s and 80s weren't afraid to exist at that level.  Any horror movie you're likely to see will never dare to be as hardcore as real life can be - they will always take a few steps backward away from the horror that is inherent in reality.   Not the fumetti.  Indeed, the fumetti went there and, just for the hell of it, took a few more steps into the darkness.


So, you've read my polemic in support of the Italian fumetti.  (More likely, you skipped to the pictures) Now, it's time for the first gallery.  I couldn't begin to represent them all, so I decided to stick with one title, Oltretomba (Italian - "afterlife").  And more importantly, there are very few titles with cover art that is appropriate for Retrospace.  As you know, I try to stay away from areolas and pubes to maintain that PG-13 rating.  Oltretomba had quite a few that I could post to Retrospace without being flagged and shut down.  Some of these slightly violate my rules.... but then, these are paintings, so give me a break.

That being said, the content is still pretty adult.  So, you kiddies go play in your room.  This is just for us adults. Enjoy.


click covers to enlarge
























To Be Continued....

19 comments:

  1. Love these lurid masterpieces!

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  2. Why are they burning Bigfoot at the stake?

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    1. I don't know, but I should add a disclaimer that Retrospace does not condone sasquatch burning.

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    2. Good. You don't want a visit from PETS - People for the Ethical Treatment of Sasquatches.

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    3. The whole point of cover art is to incite curiosity about what might be inside. You have just proven that this is good art.

      Which is an elitist way of saying that I have no clue why they are burning Bigfoot.

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  3. Great Cover Art - Thnx!

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  4. AnonymousJune 21, 2012

    The police woman has a somewhat unorthodox uniform...

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    1. Times are tough for government workers. They've got to cut costs where they can.

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  5. Do I spot Christopher Lee in the first and Vincent Price in the last cover?

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    1. Fumetti were notorious for ripping off images. I saw a great blog post somewhere where they showed side by side comparisons between the fumetti cover and the original they knocked off (usually an american movie poster).

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  6. Are these women so frightened that they have to peel their clothing off? That one woman running away from the burning sasquatch looks like she's just about to rip off that shirt. The one that cracks me up is the one where the guy is lifting up the sleeping woman's skirt...you just know he's got pancakes on his mind.

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  7. Wow. Okay. I just downloaded a translated fumetti from The Groovy Age of Horror...you're not kidding when you say they go beyond the line of taste, are you?!

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  8. AnonymousJune 22, 2012

    A bevy of ripped images...I spot Raquel Welch from the Musketeers movies; a Theda Bara/vamp pose with a skeleton, Nosferatu...

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  9. These particular images don't actually look that bad. They're about on the same level as American pre-CCA horror comics and the like.

    #4 is particularly intriguing, with the woman looking at the old mechanical horse outside a Gothic castle. Apparently, this gives her a craving for self-serve pancakes.

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  10. AnonymousJuly 21, 2012

    I don't think "ripping off" is a fair term for incorporating elements of images from pop culture into their covers. Every illustrator has to source reference material. Artists don't create scenes from thin air. These guys didn't always have time to pose models so they often had to mix and match from pop culture imagery. They were churning out 3-5 covers a week. Now if they were literally copying famous paintings and posters top to bottom then you could call them rip off artists. But if incorporating a famous face into your painting constitutes a rip-off then I guess Andy Warhol, Ron English, Daniel Edwards, Jeff Koons and a thousand other pop artists are all guilty as well. Personally I love all the horror and sci-fi icons that appear on these covers. It gives them a pop art quality. This can especially be appreciated when you see photos of the original cover paintings. Do a Google image search for "fumetti pulp" and you'll find some amazing stuff.

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  11. AnonymousJuly 21, 2012

    In my last post I should have said to Google image search for "fumetti cover art", not just "fumetti pulp".

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  12. These are adult comics ("giornaletti porno" or "fumetti porno" as we used to call them back in the 60s/70s here in Italy), not just fumetti (fumetti is a term used for plain comics (Mickey Mouse, Spiderman, Peanuts, etc...).
    Some of them were absoluetly stunning. Ah, nostalgia!

    A friend from Italy

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  13. ¡Stunning form of art! althought the contents were far from being as good as the covers... except for Leone Frollo's works

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