My Intro To Fumetti

By | Friday, January 13, 2012 Leave a Comment
Fumetti, if you're unfamiliar with the term, is a form of comics where the images used are photographs instead of drawings. It's never been a particularly popular style here in the United States. I suspect this is largely because that the mass printing technology available didn't work on photos very well until the 1960s and, by then, the superhero genre was already doing a good job of crowding out other possibilities.

My introduction to it was in National Lampoon where the used to run short "Foto-Funnies." They usually seemed to center around the double entendre inherent in the word "strip" although I don't recall that reference ever being made explicit. The humor was generally pretty juvenile, and the comics seemed largely like an excuse for the magazine's producers to stare at naked women. Here's an example of the type of comic they often went with...
Really? Even when I was 13, I knew that didn't make sense and was an excuse to get a woman to undress in front of a camera. (Of course, I was 13 and didn't care because, well, I was 13 and looking at a naked woman!)

I don't remember seeing any that were actually sexy at all. There were some, in fact, that it was completely irrelevant who the people were -- there just needed to be two talking heads -- but they'd still have the woman topless for no reason. Still photos of boobs were pretty much the extent of the rationale behind the comics.

In that sense, I understood the benefit of fumetti (a term I wouldn't learn until years later) over illustration: you could get a greater sense of realism in depicting the human figure. If that was all you were really trying to show. It was easy to see you couldn't easily replicate, say, Spider-Man swinging through the New York skyline or an alien invasion that didn't look like guys in rubber suits. But if you just needed to have a couple people standing around talking, and you wanted them to look better than you could draw them, fumetti was the way to go.

This, of course, gave me a somewhat distorted picture of the style. It would be YEARS before I saw any real reason for fumetti besides the realistic depiction of naked people.
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