„A Ghastly and Inappropriate Splendour“: The Fantastic in Dino Battaglia’s Comic Adaptations

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Davide Carnevale


In the Italian and European scene Dino Battaglia is considered one of the authors who most knew how to focus his artistic research and intellectual reflection on the absolute linguistic value of comics as well as on its otherness compared to the purely verbal language, reflection constantly addressed in his outstanding work. This is even more evident in the many adaptations of great literary texts which make up the bulk of his production, real rewriting which meant for Battaglia the ideal testing ground in which to focus on that stylistic tension, from the unusual design techniques used to a new concept of “architecture” of the page, which supports the transposition from one to another code.

The choice to “rewrite” a lot of the masterpieces of the fantastic genre may thus not be ascribed only to a mere personal preference: if by fantastic we mean a literary genre that makes hesitation and ambiguity its constituent elements, always poised between the adjacent categories of étrange and merveilleux, it’s clear that the translation into another language, precisely into that of comics, of the fantastic quid, will require different strategies to revive that vagueness that is essential to the representation both verbal and figurative of the uncanny, sooner than the presence of specific issues and distinctive semantics. The work of transposition that the Venetian artist performs in the last period of his career on several stories by Edgar
Allan Poe, one of the most representative author of the nineteenth – century tradition of the genre, therefore proves paradigmatic of this stubborn linguistic research. Therefore, through a detailed comparison with the original texts of Poe, this paper will detect the formal and representative technical strategies used by Battaglia to recreate in the language of comics the disquieting inexplicability that makes his «drawn stories» authentic fantastic works.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Future Directions in Comics Studies