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The Origins Of Good Comics

With A Paperopolized Education (Il Saggiatore) Valentina De Poli not only recounted one of the golden ages of Italian comics, she also painted a fairly accurate picture of commitment and difficulty, of challenges and innovation. …

With A Paperopolized Education (Il Saggiatore) Valentina De Poli not only recounted one of the golden ages of Italian comics, she also painted a fairly accurate picture of commitment and difficulty, of challenges and innovation.

Topolino, the magazine, is a reference for publishing: it has always sold well, made room for new talent and formed a professionalism. But above all he knew how to impose himself in the public debate, to show the true value of comics and of a certain sector. In A Paperopolized Education the figure of the editor, who edits the stories and follows the designers and scriptwriters, has a fundamental role.

The same thing happens in Tito Faraci’s book, Man with face in shadow (Feltrinelli). In this case, the starting point is different: not a whole culture, but the experience of an author. Doing comics has never been an easy job or so immediate: to be able to find your place, and establish yourself as a talent, it takes time. And the support of publishers is essential. These two books are two diaries, two one-off accounts of a specific period.

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A Paperopolized Education contains memories and testimonies; it is a collection of impressions and considerations. Man with face in shadow try to do something different, especially towards the end. Faraci shares some scripts with the reader precisely to have a more concrete starting point. De Poli and Faraci highlight the same elements: the complexity of publishing comics, for example; the difficult relationship that sometimes develops between authors and publishers; and publisher centrality. Today, unfortunately, making comics means rushing, finishing a story quickly, preferring authors followed on Instagram to authors with real talent and real experience. The editor himself, in this way, ends up being sidelined. He can no longer review the script; its interventions are kept to a minimum, and the perpetrators – the youngest, those who started relatively recently – have more freedom and control.

This thing, taken by itself, is not a problem. Or at least: it’s not such a serious problem. Inserted in a certain context, it can however become a real limit. And so, paradoxically, more people print, there are more debuts, more things to read, but there are no new classics: titles capable of lasting over time and addressing a more horizontal.

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There is no longer this ability to intercept readers’ tastes and tell really interesting stories. In the short term, this editorial superficiality does not represent a big risk. But with the passing years, having a generational change, with outstanding authors, new series and new characters, is more and more complicated. We have to start from the base. And A Paperopolized Education And Man with face in shadow they do just that: they remind us of the origins of good comics.

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