While many people are now familiar with some of the delights that have come out of Italian entertainment industry - giallo movies being one of the more popular and well-known - there are still some hidden subcultures just waiting to be discovered and appreciated by the uninitiated. ‘Sexy fumetti’, a term used to describe a particularly lurid and erotic range of comic books that became immensely popular in the ‘70s is one such thing. And Alessandro Biffignandi was a master of this illustrated art form, producing beautifully painted covers for many of the pulp comics. Out of the thousands of comics produced, only twenty were translated and released in the UK, going some way to explaining their relative obscurity over here. But Biffignandi is an artist who certainly deserves to be recognised, as this collection of his stunning covers and paintings attests.
With this collection of his work, we are presented with a unique look at not only Biffignandi’s style but even a glance at his process. We can compare the original reference photographs with the glorious final work, and marvel at the rather crafty way some iconic classic horror movie characters and existing artwork was incorporated into his beautiful covers. Although some purists may cry plagiarism, this appears more like loving reinterpretation.
Almost all the images are infused with sexuality. Nudity and the suggestion of sexual violence go hand-in-hand with the salacious nature of the comic books, but there’s a certain humour to the way Biffignandi portrays it. No, we’re not suggesting there’s anything funny about things like that, but certainly some of the artwork for titles such as Biancaneve (which had a Snow White character set in medieval times go on many sexual misadventures) will raise a smile or two. And some of the later work definitely turned the tables; a buxom woman getting the upper hand on the men is always a good thing to see in art.
Highly recommended to fans of pulp art, pop culture, and for anyone curious to see more of what we were missing in the Italian comic world…
SEX AND HORROR: THE ART OF ALESSANDRO BIFFIGNANDI / AUTHOR: ALESSANDRO BIFFIGNANDI / PUBLISHER: KORERO PRESS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW