Images of three Wallestein fumetti book covers

AN ORGY OF TERROR: ITALIAN HORROR COMICS OF THE 1970S AND 80S (LA Online)

Date/Time
Date(s) - Thu. Mar. 25, 2021
7:30 pm PDT - 8:45 pm PDT

Instructor
Adam Twycross

Admission
$10 BUY TICKETS HERE or buy a Miskatonic LA Full Semester pass for $40 HERE

During the 1970s and 80s the field of comics erotica in Italy burst dramatically to life, swiftly developing into a diverse field that straddled a range of genres including horror, crime, adventure, and comedy. Perhaps the most successful of these comics were those developed by Edifumetto, a Milanese publishing house established by Renzo Barbieri in 1972. At its height, Edifumetto was publishing hundreds of individual titles and selling millions of copies every month, with their comics appearing across Europe, Central and South America, North Africa and French-speaking Canada. Typically appearing as small-format pocket digests, these comics were notable for their lushly painted cover art which featured work by some of Italy’s finest illustrators, including Alessandro Biffignandi and Emanuele Taglietti. Significant also were the explicitness of their themes and imagery, with storylines that blended nudity and sex with violence so gratuitous that it occasionally bordered on parody.

Although active across a range of genres, perhaps the most visually and thematically dramatic of Edifumetto’s comics were their horror titles, which included Wallestein il Mostro, Zora la Vampira and Sukia. This was a publishing genre in which the classic and the contemporary collided; deserted cemeteries and ruined castles played host to tales of depravity and madness that blended seamlessly with a world of fast cars, guns and glamour. Today these comics survive as a powerful record of a unique flowering of adult comics horror whose visceral and stylish intensity remains unmatched anywhere in the world.

This talk will discuss these extraordinary comics from a cultural and historical standpoint, examining both the transnational context within which they evolved, and the uniquely Italian environment that shaped their development. Their links to the wider media landscape will be considered in detail, allowing for a full understanding of the position that they occupied within the popular cultural environment to emerge. Their relationship to developments in the international comics market, especially the growing trend for transnational practices of production and distribution, and an increasing acceptance of adult and erotic content across much of the western world will also be discussed. Finally, the talk will examine the close stylistic and thematic links that bound comics such as Wallestein to contemporary trends in Italian cinema, and especially to developments in the giallo and horror genres and films such as Dario Argento’s Suspiria and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace.

Please note these are live events – they cannot be downloaded and watched later, so please be sure you are available at the time and timezone the classes are being offered in before registering.