ISSN: 20403232
First published in 2010
2 issues per volume
Volume 3 Issue 2
Cover Date: December 2012
Cannibale, Frigidaire and the multitude: Post-1977 italian comics through radical theory
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Authors:  Federico Pagello 
DOI: 10.1386/stic.3.2.231_1

Cannibale,Frigidaire,Andrea Pazienza,Antonio Negri,Franco Berardi,Paolo Virno,Giorgio Agamben,post-Fordism

A direct connection between comics and contemporary critical theory is to be found in the activity of the collective of artists who created Cannibale and Frigidaire, the two most innovative Italian comics magazines of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The work of Andrea Pazienza, Filippo Scòzzari, Stefano Tamburini, Tanino Liberatore and Massimo Mattioli should be regarded as an expression of the radical movements from which Marxist Autonomist thinkers such as Antonio Negri, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi and Paolo Virno also emerged in the same period. As a consequence, the writings of the latter can be used to analyse the narrative and visual style, the recurring themes, and the editorial characteristics of the comics of the former. Moreover, an interesting parallel can also be drawn between the work of the most influential of these artists, Andrea Pazienza, and the thought of another prominent Italian philosopher, Giorgio Agamben, whose earliest books were published at that time too. The aim of this article is to show that the ideas of a number of the thinkers who have recently become internationally known as representatives of Radical Italian theory, are useful to understand the work of this group of comics authors. In the first section, I examine the direct links between Cannibale, Frigidaire and the Italian social movements of the 1970s. The artists discussed here were active participants in the cultural activities and political struggles promoted by the Autonomists. In the second section, a series of concepts central to (post-) Autonomist theory, such as post-Fordism, multitude, general intellect and virtuosity, are used to analyse the comics published in Cannibale and Frigidaire. Finally, I show how Agamben’s reflections on the ‘destruction of experience’ in modern society can help us to read Andrea Pazienza’s Le straordinarie avventure di Pentothal (1982), Zanardi (1983) and Gli ultimi giorni di Pompeo (1987).
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