Friday, May 01, 2015

Sex and Horror: The Art of Emanuele Taglietti

Inspired by the art of Frank Frazetta and Averardo Ciriello, Emanuele Taglietti left an established career in Italian cinema to become a comic book cover artist. Throughout the 1970s-80s, he painted over 500 fumetti covers for the likes of Zora the Vampire, Vampirissimo, Playcolt, and Sukia.

This beautiful volume celebrates Taglietti's art, collecting some of his most brilliant, provocative, and erotic work. And it's definitely a must-have for fans of the era of pulp magazines, as well as for those interested in pop culture and illustration.

Horror and sex have been intertwined, to various degrees, across all mediums of popular culture--but were exploited to the extreme in what English-speakers generally refer to as fumetti magazines, or Italian pulp comic books. I've chosen a handful of images from Sex and Horror that are more subtle, and suitable, for a general audience. I highly recommend you purchase this book in order to better appreciate Taglietti's, err, body of work.

Sukia #9 ("Come Risorge una Vampira", 1978)
Sukia #8 ("Sangue e Orina", 1978)
Some of my favourites are, of course, his vampire paintings, many of which were featured on the covers of Sukia (published 1978-86). The author, Mark Alfrey, notes that Sukia Dragomic was one of the most popular vampire characters ever created, and she was based on Italian actress Ornella Muti. Sukia was a descendant of Count Dragomic, and although she drank blood to survive, she didn't have too many other 'classic' vampire powers. (Background information about these comics is included in the book, which is another great feature.)

Ulula #25 ("Schiavo del Sesso", 1983)

Taglietti's body of work also featured other creatures of the night. Another popular magazine, Ulula (published 1981-84), followed the adventures of Ulla von Hagen. After being hurt in a horrific car accident in the Black Forest, she receives a blood transfusion administered by her uncle; but because there's no human blood available, he injects her with that of a wolf. Ulla survives; but every full moon, she turns into a hideous female werewolf named Ulula.

Sukia #20 ("Avventura ad Acapulco", 1979)
Sukia #27 ("Chi ha Paura del Culo Mannaro", 1979)
The artist didn't limit himself to the realm of the supernatural; his work also graced the covers of many more mainstream titles. These included 44 Magnum, which featured a Tom Selleck (as Magnum, P.I.) look-alike; and Fox, which featured a Sylvester Stallone look-alike. Emanuele Taglietti is still an active painter and illustrator, and his blog (NSFW) features a lot of his past artwork.

Sex and Horror: The Art of Emanuele Taglietti
Korero Press, April 1, 2015 (160 pages)
ISBN-10: 095766494X
ISBN-13: 978-0957664944
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