Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Harry Morgan

Two days ago I received the French magazine Bananas #4, published in 2012. I lost track of Bananas after issue # 2 and, now, wanting to buy the missing issues I had to start somewhere... I chose # 4 because of a section about Italian artists working in Argentina during the 1950s. To add a certain piquant I bet with myself that Héctor Germán Oesterheld's name isn't cited once in said section. Lo and behold, apart from the image captions (a true progress!, yay!), it isn't, of course... The most outrageous claim though is this one by Gianni Brunoro (28): "(...) this exuberant youth had such a weight [in the Argentinean comics scene of the 1950s] that it generated an «Argentinean [comics] school»." (My translation.) Does this mean that giants Héctor Germán Oesterheld, Carlos Roume, Alberto Breccia, Arturo del Castillo, Solano López and a "few" smaller actors in said scene like, Jorge Moliterni, Garcia Seijas, Julio Schiaffino, Abel Guibe, Eugenio Zoppi, Leandro Sesarego, João Mottini, Angel Fernandez, Carlos Vogt, Daniel Haupt,  Oscar Estévez, Juan Arancio, Gisela Dester, José Muñoz (small at that time, fourteen years of age or so, a giant later),  Horacio Porreca, Tibor José Horvath, Victor Hugo di Benedetto, Alberto Caruso, Roberto Regalado... I could go on... were never there at all?...

Brunoro claims that the Italians living in Argentina revolutionized comics. The only creator who revolutionized comics in those days and place was Héctor Germán Oesterheld and he wasn't Italian. The Italians simply followed North American mediocre pulp models, that's all... and that's not much...

Anyway: long live jingoism and historical revisionism!

But I digress...

What I find interesting in the aforementioned issue of Bananas (that's the real reason why I'm writing this) is Harry Morgan's essay "Brève histoire de la littérature savante sur les littératures dessinées en France." Morgan (a nom de plume, in case you're wondering) says pretty much the same things about comics criticism that I say below. He's more focused than I am and elaborates the differences between the first semioticians (during the 1970s) and the more recent ones (Groensteen et al). He calls what these last ones do (the term is Groensteen's), "stripologie." Not unlike myself he puts David Kunzle in a preeminent position in the history of comics criticism. All in all a highly recommended reading to those of you whose mother tongue is French or aren't monolinguists.


Drawing by Jimmy Beaulieu.

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