This article explores the work of Stefano Tamburini (1955–1986) in relationship to the ‘high arts’ in the 1980s. By concentrating on Tamburini's least known works (to this day, among his many works, only the RanXerox saga is actually available for English-speaking readers), it is possible to regard his art as a bridge tying comics with the aesthetic and theoretical preoccupations of many of the leading artists of the postmodern trans-avant-garde of the late-1970s and early-1980s in Italy. This article demonstrates how Tamburini offered a model of comics in dialogue with the rest of the contemporary art world, often taking the lead and generating fruitful exchanges both with the field of literature and the visual arts.
Simone Castaldi is Associate Professor of Italian at Hofstra University in New York, where he teaches comics studies, cinema, and modern and contemporary literature. He is the author of the first in-depth English-language study of Italian comics, Drawn and Dangerous: Italian Comics of the 1970s and 1980s (University Press of Mississippi), and of numerous articles on European comics. For Fantagraphics, he has contributed critical essays for the Complete Crepax series of books, and translations for the first English-language edition of Andrea Pazienza's Zanardi. He is currently co-translating Hugo Pratt's complete Corto Maltese, an Eisner and Harvey award-nominated twelve-volume series for The Library of American Comics (IDW). Email: email@example.com