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Interview Cecilia Latella

Can you tell something about comics in Italy?

A full discussion about comics in Italy would be very long, I suppose. As far as I can understand, Italy is one of the main producer/consumer of comics in Europe, after France/Belgium of course. While the Italian industry has suffered from the global crisis too, the situation among people who work for the industry is still quite lively. Our main publisher, Bonelli, is undergoing a large renewal after the death of its long-time patron Sergio Bonelli, producing for the first time complete series in colours (Italian comics are traditionally in b/w.) There are also many Italian artists who are publishing their projects through crowdfunding. In 2014, for the first time, a graphic novel (Unastoria by Gipi) was selected for the Strega Prize, the most prestigious Italian literary award (though it didn’t make to the final nominees.) Lucca Comics & Games is currently the largest comics festival in Europe, and the second biggest in the world after the Comiket, with 240k visitors in 2014. Tex continues to sell almost 200k copies every month (I believe it’s the bestselling comic in Europe). But there’s still much to be done to promote the culture of comic books among the larger public. In that respect, France is still ahead of us.

Do you prefer indie comics or mainstream comics?

If by mainstream comics you mean superheroes comics no, I don’t use to read superheroes comics. Apart from that, I don’t care much if a comic is indie or mainstream if the story/art appeals to me. I read some Vertigo, Image and Dark Horse titles (for the U.S.) as well as some Italian titles, a few French ones and some manga. I also read graphic novels from various publishers.

What role does history play in your artwork?

I like history very much and the comics I do write/illustrate myself generally have an historical setting. I especially favour the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the XIX cent. However, I still haven’t worked on an historical comic written by somebody else. I would like to, some day.

Who are your favourite artists?

Fiona Staples, Paul Azaceta, Luigi Critone, Takehiko Inoue, Hiroaki Samura, Becky Cloonan, Davide Gianfelice, Shin’ichi Sakamoto, Alison Bechdel, Massimo Carnevale, Ryan Kelly are among my favourite comics artists working today.

Can you tell something about your collaboration with writers?

Collaborating with writers is one of my favourite aspects of the job. I tend to get very involved with the stories I’m drawing, and for me it’s a pleasure to discuss about the story and characters with their creators. (I can talk at great lengths about fictional characters.) Of course, not all writers are willing to accept a lot of feedback on their creatures – some are more rigid to work with – but most of the times we reach an understanding that works for both of us.

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