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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #295

Yet another astute reader has shared some sequential art with me for use in this column as a means to discuss one of his favorite comic formats. Check it out! (Learn Italian: Archivio.)


295. Fumetti/Fotonovelas/Photocomics


The above is written and drawn by The Mutt. Click to enlarge.

In Italy, all comics are called fumetti, but here in America it’s come to mean photocomics in particular. The Mutt’s let you in on the general history of the form– and now, here I am to talk about its implications into the future.

Most fumetti you see in the States these days is on the web, and out of that, a lot of it is usually done with action figures, like the aforementioned Twisted Toyfare Theater. But let’s not discount some excellent work like A Softer World, which I’ve discussed before. Hell, I’ve seen some photocomic work done everywhere, even in little magazines used as teaching aids in high school Spanish classes. Then again, the form is popular in Spain and Latin America…


Fumetti’s been used in some other great work, like Alan Moore and J.H. Williams’ Promethea series, but it hasn’t caught on with American print publishers, for some reason. Marvel was going to publish a photocomic series in Mark Millar’s 1984, but plans have since changed– it’s now going to be drawn by Tommy Lee Edwards. It’s a shame– not because Edwards won’t do a fantastic job, because I know he will (he’s one of the best artists currently in comics), but because the form of photocomics could use more exposure. There’s loads of potential waiting to be tapped.

Softer extra.jpg

I’d love to do a photocomic, myself. It’d be a worthwhile experiment. Heck, I know a few photo people, so that dream may come true one day. Until then, I’ll be sitting around waiting for the American comics populace to come to terms with the form and start using the damn thing. A lot of times, the work comes off as stiff or amateurish– but, as always, a good and creative artist can turn the form into something spectacular. Many artists use photo reference all the time– heck, some of them just trace ‘em– so why not remove a few steps and cut straight to the source?

How about you? What have you read of the fumetti form? Any recommendations?


I tend to find photo comics awkward, stilted, and poorly produced. “A Softer World” has the ability to work, since the photos are really narrated, more than scripted. But seeing word balloons plastered on top of photographs make my eyeballs own little eyes cry tears of distaste.

[…] Yesterday’s entry fell into a hole in the space/time continuum and popped out today. You should definitely read it, however, as another fine reader of this column drops by with a homemade comic. Check it out and then join me for this one. […]

The problem i have with photocomic is that they look staged. Vertigo’s I’Paparazzi comes to mind.

I liked Veils but I can’t find it in print anymore. You know I can’t really find any fummetti really

Great choice, Bill. I’ve always been fond of fumetti….love the Battlestar Galactica “fotonovel” that I’ve kept since waaaaaaay back in the day. Terry Gilliam did a great fumetti with John Cleese for Help! when he was Kurtzmann’s assistant. Apparently that’s where Gilliam and Cleese first met, so in a way, without fumetti, there would be no Monty Python. It’s reprinted in Kim Howard Johnson’s book The First 200 Years Of Monty Python.

Duuude. You can’t do fumetti without mentioning “DM of the Rings”.

Doug M.

I remember the mid 70’s -early 80’s they were a lot of fumettie available. Ususally they were movie adaptions. I got a fumetti of the 1977 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers last year for christmas. I also have the Battlestar Galactica, Grease, and Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan. It would be neat to see that format make a comeback.

[…] 295. Fumetti/Photocomics (with a page of comics from The Mutt!) […]

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