April 21, 2013
SUNDAY FROM MY DESK
I just happened to find an old issue of, “Il Giornalino della Domenica” or in English,
The Little Sunday Journal. It is an old style graphics journal and the many illustrations are of the events of the week, local news stories, and foreign affairs.
Nowadays we are bombarded by very strong images.
The reality of photojournalism is everywhere.
I think I prefer to calmly and peacefully look at drawings and let my mind travel through them. It is a way to get away from this constant visual bombardment
and still be in touch with life.
The Little Sunday Journal was the first magazine for children in Italy, but it clearly was read by many more. It was founded in 1906 in Florence by “Vamba”,
a pseudomym for Luigi Bertelli who was a well respected
journalist at the turn of the century.
The journal published stories by Edmondo De Amicis, Giovanni Pascoli
and Grazia Deledda, some of the most noted writers of the time, as well as works
by the avant-garde graphic artists Sergio Tofano and Filiberto Scarpelli.
It introduced off set printing into magazine publishing, leaving us
some of the most wonderful graphic covers still today.
Sadly, it closed after five years of publication printing only from 1906 to 1911.
Here the first cover in June 1906, illustration by Filiberto Scarpelli, two months after a very large eruption of Vesuvius changed the shape of the crater above Pompei.
As much as I love photography there is something magic about the work of the human hand. It adds something alive when the edge of journalism melds with the graphic art and makes reading a visual journey quite different.
That is why I love comic books. Here, an unusual book cover where the writing and illustration both speak to the Beat Generation.
Igor Tuveri has signed his graphic art as IGORT since the 1970’s and
worked with many major publications here in Italy Linus, Alter,
and Metal Hurlant among them. He is one of the comic aristocracy.
Very well known in the field, he was one of the first to recognize the graphic
genius growing in Japanese animation and has collaborated with many of
the graphic artists of Japan. In 2000 he started Coconino, a publishing
company for graphic comics and cartoons that merged with
Luigi Toccafondo’s production company Fandango in 2009.
Here one of his illustrations for “Casino”.
One of the most original artists today when it comes
to graphic novel art is Marjane Satrapi. Her graphic autobiography “Persepolis” dealing with her childhood in Iran and being raised in Europe has won many awards.
The book was adapted as an animated movie and shown at Cannes in 2008.
She has done another film with Chiara Mastroianni
called, “Chicken and Plums” and now lives in Paris.
Here one of her vivid illustrations.
Joe Sacco is perhaps first a journalist and then a graphic artist.
This has moved the emphasis from the words to the pictures, and back to the
words in a full circle. But both are for him equal and he is considered
one of the pioneers of contemporary graphic journalism.
He uses the format of short comic journalism to report on events and wars around the
world. His books are informative and intuitive, without being harsh.
Joe Sacco contributed to the series of autobiographical comic books started
by Harvey Pekar in 1976. Called “American Splendor”, the series is based on Pekar’s life – working as a clerk in a Veteran’s Hospital, his car, his marriage and his friends.
Pekar had seen Robert Crumb’s comics in Cleveland where they both listened
to jazz – and he could see that pictures with words had a wider use and could be used for more complex stories. The first artist to work with him on American Splendor was his jazz friend Robert Crumb, still a legend in American comic graphics.