Friday, 26 November 2010

Svetlana's Fanart Friday

A special fan for the awesome Svetlana Chmakova who lead one of the groups in ACA residency #139. Made for our Fanart Friday on tumblr,

Monday, 15 November 2010

The Holy Grail

A short story for Rides with Strangers, the comics anthology started by Svetlana Chmakova's group during the ACA residency.

I probably won't be online for the rest of the week - good week everybody!

Sunday, 14 November 2010


New Crocs boots + implementations.

Friday, 12 November 2010

The Marquis fanart

Marquis by *cabepfir on deviantART

Fanart for Fanart Friday organized by my ACA pals! This is for Dark Horse editor Sierra Hahn, who brought us a bunch of comics, allowing us to take what we liked!

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Drawing is our kind of voice, a shout, an expression.

Our hands talk.

Voice by *cabepfir on deviantART

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Reading experiences: manga

And when I say mangas, I mean a whole lot of mangas.

I have read:

By Clamp:
Magic Knight Rayearth
RG Vega
Clover *
Card Captor Sakura

By Takehiko Inoue:
Slam Dunk
Vagabond *
Real *
Buzzer Beater

By Riyoko Ikeda:
Versailles no Bara (Lady Oscar) *
The window of Orpheus *
Dear Brother

Glass no Kamen, by Suzue Miuchi *

By Chiho Saito:
Kanon *
First girl
Various short stories
World of the S&M
Revolutionary Girl Utena
Waltz in a White Dress

Ace o nerae /Aim for the ace, by Sumika Yamamoto

Berserk, by Kentaro Miura

By Hiroaki Samura:
Blade of the Immortal *
Bradherley’s Coach

The Slayers
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Moonlight Mile *

By Fuyumi Soryo:
Short stories

Blood Alone
Victorian Romance Emma

By Ai Yazawa:
Tenshi nanka janai
Gokinjo Monogatari
Kagen non tsuki
Paradise Kiss
Nana *

By Yayoi Ogawa:
Trumps like us
Kiss & Never Cry *
Extra Heavy Syrup

Detective Conan
Bastard!! (until #18)
Manga Bomber *
Peach Girl
Densha Otoko

By Mayu Shinjo:
Sensual Phrase
Love Celeb

By Waki Yamato:
Haikara-san ga Tōru *
NY Komachi

Record of Lodoss War: The lady of Pharis
Tetsuwan girl *

By Chie Shinohara:
Blue Seal (Ao no Fūin)
Romance of Darkness

Pendragon (Dai to kishi) by Maboroshi Choji *
Claymore *
Battle Angel Alita

By Jiro Taniguchi
The walking man
Keyaki no ki *
Inu o kau
Kaze no sho
Chichi no koyomi
Kodoku no gurume

Lovely Complex
, by Hiroyuki Utatane
Tenchi Muyo
Please save my Earth
Aqua knight
(not all)
Video girl Ai
Perfect Girl Evolution
3x3 Eyes
(not all)
Love me Knight
Attacker You!
They were 11
Sailor Moon
Furuguma Memories
Love my life
Free Soul
Cool Pine
Hataraki Man
In The Clothes Named Fat
Hamelin no violin hiki *
Ashen Victor
Switch Girl
New York New York
The sword of Pharis
Guin Saga
Ann is Ann

* Denotes a very favourite of mine

Saturday, 6 November 2010

reading comics: memories 1

Today I finished reading Epileptic by David B. I started reading it in Florida and yesterday I bought a copy in Italian to finish reading it. In one day I read more than 200 pages.
It is a strange book. Some pages are fantastic, other are awful (especially in the first half), from a comic book point of view, because it's too often the captions that carry out the narration, and too rarely the drawings. The majority of the book seems to me more like an illustrated novel than a comic book of graphic novel or as you wish to name it. I mean, the drawings alone aren't able to tell the story. They are too fixed, too rigid, there's no much dynamism in them. Dialogues are too few (even if they increase in the second half) and captions are too many. Of course David B. uses these strategies on purpose to create a story that feels as heavy as the epilepsy Jean-Christophe suffers of. But this book is just on the verge of the works that make me wonder what was the point of in making them under a graphic form instead than just a written one.

Even if I've read comics since I was a child, the residency at ACA and the last week at home have been the period in my life in which I've most thought about comics - from a theorical point of view, and not just from the perspective of a reader/author of a specific piece.

When I was a child, I regularly read three comics magazines (in Italian), plus other children's magazines which contained comics as well. The first was the Corriere dei Piccoli. It featured stories like Stefi by Grazia Nidasio and I Ronfi by Adriano Carnevale. The second was Topolino (= Mickey Mouse), which contained stories from the Disney world written and drawn by Italian artists. I suppose that almost all Italian children of the last 50 years have held a copy of Topolino sometime.

the famous n. 2000

The third was Il Giornalino, that in summer published as enclosures the comics adaptations of great classics of literature, such as Little Women, Oliver Twist, Taras Bul'ba, etc. As far as I know, this practice of publishing abridged versions of classics for children, under the form of comics (but today they'd be called graphic novels) is a specific of Italy (correct me if I'm wrong).

Aside from these magazines, as a child I read The Peanuts, Mafalda, Asterix, and I was given as a present the abridged versions of I promessi sposi by Paolo Piffarerio and of Shakespeare (Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, The Tempest) by Gianni De Luca.

These were not just comics. These were work of art and could be stared at just for the pleasure of watching something beautiful. Piffarerio (who collaborated also with the main Italian magazine of cross-word puzzles, La settimana enigmistica, illustrating rebus) was a master in drapery, while Gianni De Luca, well, he would later become one of my main influences in thinking comics.

At 12 I read - during a summer camp - my first episode of Dylan Dog (now published by Dark Horse also in the States) and continued reading it for a couple of years, until, at 14, I surrendered to a friend's entreaties and started reading Rayearth by Clamp, my first manga.

After that I read only mangas for many, many years.

Comics, of course, were not the only texts I read. In the meantime, I have been reading also traditional, written literature. And before now, I had never seen comics and literature as opposed to each other. In my head, they were quite different. And maybe I used them in different ways, I mean that I read them in different situations and in different conditions. Now I have to confess that maybe, inconsciously, I considered comics a lighter reading than novels and plainly written works. They were for entertainment - and what a gorgeous entertainment they provided! Mangas seemed created to start fangirlism in a young girl as I was when I started reading them. Manga were made to discuss them with friends and to fall in love with handsome characters and to buy posters and photos during comic-conventions. They are able to stir deeper emotions in a reader than the average Western comics. Long stories presented an abundance of characters and each was clearly defined. In mangas you could follow psychological transitions from imperceptible details. That's why one of the funniest things I know is chatting about "what happens next" in our favourite mangas with my friends. And that's why I imagine my main comic project, Asanor, as a manga, even if it's drawn in Western style. I imagine it published in episodes during a few years and only later, eventually, collected in a few volumes. I dream about people talking about my characters and what they will and won't do and waiting for the new episode to be out in comics stores.

1 - continues...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Comics and literature

For the past three weeks I've been a lucky member of ACA residency #139 about graphic novels, with master artists Svetlana Chmakova, Paul Pope, and Craig Thompson. I came back home with the question:

what can comics do that literature can't?

In some graphic novels (especially in some autobiographical works), the predominance of text over drawings seem to me so evident that I start to question the need, from the author, to tell that story with some kind of visual accompaniment instead than just with plain words. Why bother to draw panels if your captions already tell all the story?

Literature can make everything possible. With words, you can create feelings, worlds, characters, actions, emotions. There’s almost no limit to what a piece of written words can make you imagine. But, on the other hand, what can a comic do that a novel can’t? What are the inalienable specificities of the comic medium?

Comics can create a character visually in way that just written words can't. If you find in a novel a description of a "young woman, with black hair tied back, green eyes and a quiet attitude", how does exactly this woman look like?

The vagueness of written descriptions (even when they are very long and detailed) has as a consequence the fact that different readers can imagine a totally different character (or place) one from the other. That's why, when a novel is adapted into a movie, the majority of viewers can't recognize the character they have built in their mind in the facial features of the single actor/actress chosen for the role. Comics provide characters with distinctive and non-negotiable features from the start, if that's the aim you are looking for.

Another specificity of comics (and of illustrations in general) is to produce an immediate impression on the viewer of the overall situation, that can be then fragmented into details, while a written description produces an overall impression only at the end of it. If you read the paragraph,

"Her desk was covered with books and stuff. Empty mugs were placed everywhere, on the desk and on the bookshelves behind, and a bottle of water was always within reach. Old cans of coffee were reemployed as penholders. Paper sheets, both new and used, were piled around the one sheet she was curretly working on"

the overall impression will form in your mind only when you finish reading the description. On the other hand, with a drawing, the overall impression precedes the distinction of details:

A drawing will help you establish the precise look of the world you have designed:

and it will direct the eye of the reader in the direction you want, leading the view through angles and perspective.

In a comic you can show characters' emotions from the outside, through their expressions:

telling, if you want, the exact way your characters react to something. This creates a sense of drawn life, or, if you prefer, drawn theatre.

Welcome to my blogspot

Hi. First post on this brand new blogspot blog, which is intended to complement my Italian blog, And, if you want, my gallery at deviantart (
I'm an Italian artist with a PhD in Comparative Literatures from University L'Orientale, Naples, Italy and Université François Rabelais, Tours, France. I have been drawing and colouring and enjoying tales since I was a child. I hope you will find here something of your interest.