Dante’s multifaceted cultural reception includes many comics adaptations.
Against the background of a strong tradition of illustrating and visualising
Dante, this article proposes a comparative analysis of significant contemporary
comics adaptations from Europe and the United States. Recent European
Dante comics generally adopt largely reverent modes of illustration,
showing less aggressive forms of adaptation than their US counterparts.
The text of Dante’s poem remains of great importance, and artists often
refer to certain traditional milestones in Dante’s visual reception. American
Dante comics are more firmly rooted in popular culture, adopting reductive
adaptation methods to a greater extent, and are frequently embedded
in transmedial constellations. Where the highbrow European tradition of
Dante’s visual reception does shine through, it is always with strong ironic
undertones. Especially interesting in this respect are the toy theatre/puppet
movie Dante’s Inferno directed by Sean Meredith, Seymour Chwast’s graphic
novel The Divine Comedy and the popular video game Dante’s Inferno.