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Il graphic novel negli Stati Uniti

Numero 38

Primavera 2009 - Anno XVI

A cura di: 
Vincenzo Bavaro e Donatella Izzo
Il graphic novel negli Stati Uniti

Comics, fumetti, graphic novels: dialogo intergenerazionale su un medium indisciplinato - pp. 7-26

Vincenzo Bavaro, Donatella Izzo
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Alterità comiche, teschi e lettori: il graphic novel e gli animali - pp. 27-43

Michael Chaney

The essay examines three contem­porary graphic novels to show how the trope of the animal functions in each one. In Gene Yang's American Born Chi­nese, allusions to the "funny animal" comic allow for dialogue with tradi­tional ethnic mythology as well as a cri­tique of US systems of assimilation and racialization. In a comic memoir of the Rwandan genocide, however, the figure of the animal coincides with Adorno's discussion of the emptiness and affectlessness of the animal's conceptual po­sition in relation to human trauma and thus models a complex form of spectatorship for readers of the graphic novel. And finally, in David B.'s graphic mem­oir of epilepsy and family illness, the specific and unusual role of an animal-human hybrid character suggests Deleuzian alternatives of living with the past, dealing with mortality, and of ontological becoming.

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Adrian Tornine tra geek-chic e gekiga - pp. 44-60

Rebecca Suter

From the very beginning of his career, Adrian Tornine positioned himself in the tradition of North American underground comics of the 1980s, choosing an elite style that builds on its very lack of popularity to appeal to an audience as stylish as the author and his protagonists. This is accompanied by a systematic de-ethnicization of the characters, who are either drawn as Caucasian or as race-neutral. In the mid-2000s, however, Tornine suddenly seems to discover his "Japaneseness," promoting the translation of the works of a manga author, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, and presenting himself as a cultural mediator between Japanese and North American comicbook culture. In 2008, he serializes a longer graphic novel, Shortcomings, which features Japanese American characters and centers on issues of ethnic identity. This article explores the ways in which Tomine capitalizes on Japan's "Gross National Cool" while undermining its subversive potential.

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Alison Bechdel e l'etica del paradosso - pp. 61-76

Valeria Gennero

According to Judith Butler, drag performances show us that masculinity and femininity are always malleable and transformable; copies without an original, they question the "truth" and "reality" of gender. This essay examines the impact of this aspect of queer theory in Alison Bechdel's syndicated comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For and in her first graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006). In her works the citational practice that character­izes gender performativity is exposed in its paradoxical effects. In Dykes to Watch Out For, drag role-playing challenges the binary system of gender, denaturalizing its categories and proving that traditional notions of reality can be questioned and subverted. On the contrary, in Fun Home the same performative accomplishments end up reinforcing social practices and mechanisms based on homophobic attitudes. In the novel Bechdel explores a darker side of performativity, exposing the tragical consequences of concealment and disguise.

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Gli spazi immaginati del conflitto: Palestine di Joe Sacco - pp. 77-91

Fiorenzo Iuliano

This essay focuses on Palestine, a graphic novel published in 2001 by the Maltese-American journalist Joe Sacco. The book is set during the first Intifada, and recounts the daily life experience of the author among Palestinian political activists and refugees. The paper focuses on space and spatiality as a privileged lens through which the episodes represented and narrated by Sacco can be read. The need for an identity, strongly defined in national and nationalistic terms by both Israelis and Palestinians, the biopolitical control exerted by different political regimes over the lives and the bodies of civilians, and the conflict itself, in its complex political and economic articulations, can be configured in spatial terms, as different elaborations of the idea of territory and of the rules that produce and govern it. Moreover, Sacco's text itself envisages a new perspective on space and spatiality, through the different graphic techniques employed to tell the stories.

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Da Jack Jackson a Chester Brown: fumetto e riflessione storica - pp. 92-107

Grazia Di Liddo

This paper acknowledges the im­portance of history-based comics and graphic novels from their origins to the present. In order to account for the current relevance of these works, two examples are analyzed: Comanche Moon (1979) by Texan underground author Jack 'Jaxon' Jackson, which recounts the life and times of Comanche chief Qua-nah Parker, and Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography (2003) by Canadian artist Chester Brown, dealing with the Red River Rebellion and the North-West Rebellion of Manitoba. By examining these two works and drawing comparisons between their different aesthetic approaches, it is argued that contemporary consciousness has moved from a 'descriptive' conception of history to a deeper awareness of the impossibility of history itself to truly reproduce the events, and that the medium of comics proves effective to convey this very awareness.

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Graphic epic? Nota su Art Spiegelman - pp. 108-114

Sara Antonelli

After a brief introduction outlining the contemporary literary landscape, the essay argues that the most important American graphic novel, Maus by Art Spiegelman, might be considered a failed attempt to compose an epic narrative. Stressing the serialization of the comics as a genre, it focuses on Spiegel-man's mixed language to highlight the ways in which the author tries to come to terms with the endless reproduction of his father narrative of the Holocaust.

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Eric Drooker: immagini come parole - pp. 115-124

Mario Maffi, Antonello Negri
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Intervista a Eric Drooker - pp. 125-130

Cinzia Scarpino
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Semplicemente interessante - pp. 131-155

Sianne Ngai

Seemingly vacuous and based on a weak and ambivalent feeling, "interesting" often fails to get recognized as a judgment of aesthetic value even when used explicitly in the evaluation of artworks. As if for precisely this reason, it is a judgment that continues to circulate promiscuously in the critical analysis of cultural artifacts, in a climate in which it is now generally assumed that aesthetic evaluations are irrelevant to the work of criticism. This essay argues that far from being an ahistorical abstraction, the interesting is a specifically modern response to novelty or change as it arises against a background of boredom and sameness. Through readings of the serial and deliberately noncharis-matic, "merely interesting" art made by U.S. conceptual artists in the 1960s and 1970s, I further argue that the interesting is a discursive and informational aesthetic of circulation and of evidence. Far from being an empty judgment, or aesthetic without content, the deepest content of the interesting is thus the process of its justification to others, pointing to this "forensic" aesthetic's surprising salience for critical thinking.

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Il writing è sul muro. Miss 17, Banksy, i graffiti e la gentrification di un quartiere di Brooklyn - pp. 156-158

John Lennon

Miss 17 and Banksy are graffiti writers whose work has recently appeared in the Greenpoint / Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, New York. While Miss 17's tags are simple in design, their considerable presence is a prime reason why the New York City police department's graffiti task force has placed numerous "Reward" posters throughout the neighborhood in an attempt to "clean up the neighborhood." A piece on a storefront by (in)famous Banksy, on the other hand, was quickly photographed and reproduced on a local luxury condominium developer's website in order to sell the neighborhood to wealthy "hip" urbanites. Although both of their writings are equally illegal, the noticeably different reactions to both is a prime example of the way that graffiti is being used as a resistance to, as well as a branding of, the gentrification process that is drastically changing the area.

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