Jargon for the Jaded


Monday, November 12, 2007

I find it extremely difficult to avoid coming off like Harry Naybors whenever I try to discuss things like comics terminology, but fortunately not everything about jargon is necessarily so deadly. It’s likely common knowledge to everyone else, but the origin of the term “fumetti” was new to me when I recently read it in a footnote from Tim Lucas‘s excellent-so-far biography of Mario Bava:

The word fumetti means “smokes” and it was coined for this medium of storytelling [comics told through photographs] because the Italians likened the word balloons used to convey dialogue to puffs of smoke.

Maybe I’m a sucker, but to me, that’s just a beautiful metaphor. In fact, it’s beautiful enough to make me want to become a fan of fumetti (as irrational as that chain of logic may be). Does anyone know of any photo-funnies that really work? I mean, that are worth reading more than once? In the meantime, I’ve got some old issues of National Lampoon and Weirdo to look through.

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5 Responses to “Jargon for the Jaded”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Lick My Jesus:

    Fumetti can be funny.

    Since I know a former cast member, I feel safe saying I doubt Lick My Jesus knows that they are fumetti.

  2. Jacob Covey says:

    I’ve wondered the same thing, Tim. I’m dying to see truly crafted fumetti. Though I haven’t dug into it much the whole concept of photo comics seems potentially mind-blowing.

    And, oddly, it may be that with Macintoshes now shipping with “Comics Life” as a standard program we could see a generation of people deeply exploring the format.

    Hopefully someone can post some good leads here.

  3. T Hodler says:

    Hey Jacob —

    I don’t know if the lack of people posting leads means there’s a lack of interest, or a lack of good fumetti.

    One I just remembered, though: Harvey Kurtzman apparently ran a lot of fumetti in Help!, and if anyone could make those things work, I bet he could. Unfortunately, the only photo-funny of his I’ve read is the John Cleese one included in the TCJ Library book. Maybe I’ll try to hunt down some issues.

  4. sr says:

    I liked that Cleese one — maybe fumetti works best with dolls, like Leisuretown?

  5. DerikB says:

    Your quote is a little misleading, as in Italy “fumetti” means comics in general not specifically photo-comics like it means here.

    But I don’t know of any decent ones.

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