Lives in comics: Loris Cantarelli tells Spider-man

Lives in comics: Loris Cantarelli tells Spider-man
Try to imagine a world without the Internet. Indeed, without computers or mobile phones, with only two national television channels and a handful of very unlucky local TVs. I know, it's difficult… my 11-year-old grandson can't handle it, and in fact he's right. But if you manage to do it, you might even get to imagine what happened in reality after all: considering that the board games did not cost very little and the decent video games in practice were only the paid ones in the cabinets of bars or arcades ... the game it's done, and you have the big picture.

For the company of a little boy in our country during the seventies, curious about everything and sociable but not too much, there were only books and comics left. In pre-1978 Italy - the real year for which there was a "before" and an "after", for my generation: that of the decisive arrival of color TV (including private and foreign networks) and cartoons animated Japanese (from Grendizer onwards) - there was very little that could beat superheroes, and for me there was very little that could beat Spider-Man (as we called Spider-Man in the last millennium, when the minimum was to know Italian and not English).

Loris Cantarelli talks about his long friendship with Spider-Man

Our "(super) hero next door" was above all a deeply fell into everyday life and everyday difficulties: he went to school and had to relate to friends and classmates outside and inside the school walls, how could you not empathize with him?

He also lived in a big city, that is to say the experience shared by the majority of the inhabitants of the Earth since the nineteenth century: but for a Milanese in Milan the experience was almost natural. Every day he saw him intent on relating in school events, while perhaps he was thinking of something else: another not just aspect, in which we could all easily recognize ourselves.

Practically in each of his adventures the always complicated initial relationships of friendship and the first crushes were staged, and even those are implications where it is very difficult to "be born learned".

How it required the ineluctable dynamic of the secret identity, Peter was continually forced to live with the almost indissoluble binomial consisting of maintaining an enormous responsibility - "From great powers comes great responsibility" is a phrase that now even some politicians quote, but we know it for 50 years - together with the imposition of almost unsustainable sacrifices in one's actions, including that of staying, and then leaving, but continue to love the dearest people ... with all possible and imaginable combinations and permutations (and the kids are young, not stupid : we understood it very well).

Another aspect far from secondary in the fascination that worked like a magnet, for Peter Parker as for Spider-Man things were (almost always re) well but only at the end, after a hard struggle and sometimes not even then: there was no lack of continuous errors that in everyone's life show how infallible no one is (and least of all a superhero: the real "Wonder" was there).

Going beyond the events orchestrated by Stan Lee and the other screenwriters of the early decades and looking more at the technical level (even if at the time it was more a matter of instinct), I remember perfectly how much the drawings struck me, which not only for those onesies - evidently made of very thin material ... - they showed off the captivating anatomies of both male and female characters.

The great names in the history of Spider-man

And then there was the composition of the tables: within a few years - also because the Italian books combined more than one original story at a time, burning the stages and timing - they were able to quickly move from a more traditional system to more free and creative settings ive, above all thanks to a game of fields, reverse shots and shots that at times could even ignore the scanning of the cartoons and the table ... also because at that time the Arrampicamuri managed to pass through the hands of great artists, one after the other, of the caliber of Steve Ditko (one who went down in history for having graphically designed Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, so to speak), John Romita father (so sinuous and versatile that he was then commissioned by Marvel to take care of all his promotional images), Gil Kane and Ross Andru.

Not to mention the Pantheon of (un) credible and fascinating characters that you could happen to meet both in the field of the so-called "good" and "bad", one and the other more or less picturesque but basically not too dissimilar to each other, moreover rarely Manichean even when improbable or clearly out of his mind (without victimization or cheap sociology: but even a child understands when a dulto risks reaching psychological breaking points and can go so far as to "squeeze").

Of course, it is impossible not to mention the apex of involvement - which still puts chills today - experienced with the tragic and beloved figures of the girlfriend Gwen Stacy and her father police captain, in particular the spectacular death of him (who at the point of death makes it clear to Tessiragnatele that he does not consider him a criminal, but above all that he knows his secret identity) and even that of her : a truly unthinkable event that shocked everyone, so much so that it marked the "end of innocence" of the entire genre of superhero comics and that, due to the way it occurs, will torment Peter and us readers for life ... with that damned “Snap! " barely (re) legible but very concrete!

In all this, reading and rereading those stories there were continuous links with contemporary life, student unrest and drug problems included, which spoke to those who read more than many examples (including tv) contemporaries.

Last but not least, both during the metropolitan battles of Spider-Man (to defuse and distract from fear, but also to make opponents nervous and induce them to take some false step) and in everyday life by Peter Parker (to console and tone down, but also to avoid too many whining to the reader) irony reigned supreme, as the only way to face the dramas of life: another teaching that is always valid, yesterday as today.

I don't believe much in destiny, even if my readings took place mainly through the reprints L'Uomo Ragno Gigante of the Editoriale Corno, because Spider-Man reached Italian soil in April 1970, a few months before me: you see destiny, in fact.

It has been almost half a century since the first time the Spider and I crossed paths but, once I got caught, his mixture of humor and tragedy never let me go ... " and shipwreck is sweet to me in this sea ".

LORIS CANTARELLI is the editorial director of the critical and information monthly" Fumo di China ", on which he began writing since 1995. He has participated in about thirty collective volumes and exhibition catalogs and collaborates with industry festivals (especially Cartoon Club with the Riminicomix division), magazines and multimedia projects such as the Niente Da Dire community with various initiatives and the IUSVE Cube Radio in which it participates in the radio column Outpost 31 on comics and pop culture.

You can appreciate the true spirit of Spider-Man by reading The Story of My Life

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