rufa dante pop icon

Graphic Design - Comics and Illustration

“A riveder la china”: Dante comics become a pop icon

The title says it all and reveals the work that inspired Leonardo Canova, Luca Lombardo and Paolo Rigo. The three authors wished to bring to the press an unpublished Dante, much closer to the new generations and to the world of contemporary art.

Seven hundred years after his death Dante is transformed into comics and becomes a social icon: The result is a collection of essays dedicated to Dante and to Italian comics, ready to measure itself against the yardstick of sales and likes, but also capable of expressing the vindication of the need to mix serious and facetious, high and low, the tools of philology and the objectives of divulgation, in a moving picture in which knowledge is redefined in reciprocal relations.

The volume, published by Edizioni Ca’ Foscari, also refers to the historical transformations that led Dante from Italianness, exalted during the Renaissance and under Fascism, to iconicity, coinciding with the trionph of mass culture and the consumer society.

“The choice of the Divine Comedy – explain the authors – as a subject for comics, from mere textual inspiration for advertisements and satirical cartoons, to illustrated transpositions such as those by Gō Nagai or the trio Mattotti, Glaser and Moebius, to parodies in the sign of well-known comic heroes, such as Mickey Mouse, Geppo, Cattivik or Dampyr, and revisitations in a contemporary key (Jacovitti, Marcello, Don Alemanno), is not only a sign of the cartoonists’ desire to raise the quality of their own language, dialoguing with classical literature, but also a reformulation of Dante’s world turned towards contemporaneity, which is renewed and claimed each time. Dante is placed in a world that is not his own, but through this world he returns to us in different keys, more or less confirmatory, more or less traitorous, that allow us to reread him as a classic, capable of staying as much in his time as in other times. The critical hypothesis underlying each of these operations is that in Dante the authors of the comic strips that take up, use and manipulate him have found a field of meanings in which to reflect and through which to question the many quests for meaning in their own time. The cartoonist therefore disassembles Dante’s text and moves it from one code to another for the cartoonist; the reader disassembles the cartoon text and compares it with Dante’s”.