Monday, May 17, 2010


I met Anna Zanfei in 2007 at a comics conference, where she gave a talk on webcomics. She had interesting and new things to say about the medium. We got chatting after the event, had a good laugh and argued about Eddie Campbell - I said he was great, she said he was brilliant.

We’ve kept in touch since then, and she’s been kind enough to say nice things about my comics. She’s done it again here. Modesty should dictate that I don’t publish it, but my ego is too pleased – if slightly embarrassed.

As with my previous guest, I asked Anna to write anything she wanted as long as it was comics based. She hasn’t previously made any comics as far as I’m aware, so what she sent me was a bit of a surprise...

Hi . My name is Anna and I'm Italian. I live in the North of Italy not too far from Austria. In my area people love skiing and hiking and in the summer they usually like swimming in one of the hundreds of natural lakes of the surroundings. Trento is a nice, clean and very old city. I basically teach English as a foreign language to students of literature, printing, arts and linguistics. To find a common ground for students in my courses I use comics and editorial cartoons as well as graphic novel dedicated to Shakespeare. Let me explain: when I talk about comics I can talk about the power of a graphic interpretation of Shakespearian original texts; I can also speak about typography as an evocative and iconographic tool and how web comics work; I can speak about the way editorial cartoons can use language, colours and caricatures and compress a whole story and a critique in a single panel; and finally I can look at the dialogue and the titles and speak about language creativity. In this way all my students can be interested and because I'm using the tools of their professions to explain how English works. Out of the classroom I have the chance of presenting at conferences and I publish articles on web comics and also regular comic books.

I love autobiographical comics and comics that look at how young people, and of course women of all ages, communicate. I'm a fan of Jessica Abel for her dialogues, of Posy Simmonds for her multimodal graphic novels and of course I love the work of David Robertson because of his elegant, almost abstract way of drawing and his impressive creativity.

This comic strip is representing myself when I began studying linguistic creativity and I was wondering if comics could be of any use to understand how language creativity works.

(Click on comic strip for larger image)

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