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Milo Manara: Pandora's Eyes (Part 3 of 3)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Milo Manara (Part 3)

Milo Manara is renowned as an auteur, writing and drawing the vast majority of his work, however he has collaborated with many other equally important writers and filmmakers over the decades including Spanish film director, Pedro Almodóvar on 1993's La Feu aux Entrailles (Fire in the Belly).

Manara's first graphic novel as an artist and writer was HP and Giuseppe Bergman, published in 1983. "HP" is Manara's friend, collaborator, and fellow Italian artist/writer legend, the late Hugo Pratt. Bergman had been created by Manara five years earlier (in 1978), for the French comics magazine A Suivre. The series became known for its combination of experimental narrative and explicit sex, and has been collected into six books thus far. Pratt and Manara went on to create another two books, Indian Summer and El Gaucho.


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Manara also worked with celebrated film director Federico Fellini (La Dolce Vita and ) on their graphic novel Trip to Tulum. Based on Fellini's unmade film script, the story is a tale of hallucinatory magic-realism. The pair went on to create The Voyage of G. Mastorna in 1992, which was only translated into English 20 years later.


Other notable collaborations included Alejandro Jodorowsky on The Borgias, Pierre Louys's Aphrodite, and Silverio Pisu's The Ape, a ribald adaptation of the classic Chinese text, Journey to the West.


It was a collaboration that won Manara his only Eisner award, in 2004, when he illustrated a chapter of Neil Gaiman's feted anthology, The Sandman: Endless Nights. This was Manara's second partnership with Gaiman, having previously illustrated a story about the Berlin Wall collapsing in 1990's anthology, Breakthrough. He worked on another American graphic novel, X-Women (2009), written by Chris Claremont, which proved that Manara remains as controversial as ever, inserting erotic subtexts into Marvel's superheroes, causing chagrin among certain fans. This recently caused a stir with his Spider-Woman cover.


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That same year Manara worked with Oscar-nominated Italian screenwriter Vincenzo Cerami (Life is Beautiful) on Pandora's Eyes, proving the artist was as confident a collaborator as ever, and this shows in the way he follows the writer's direction, while adding his own unique flair. Cerami's script is less erotic and more thriller-based tale, and this updated edition is coloured for the first time by fellow Italian creator Francesco Gaston, creating a sombre, muted palate that matches the story perfectly.


Whether collaborating with others, or pursing his own artistic vision, Manara has always brought a unique sensibility to his work, a vision that ensures he will forever remain in the pantheon of the world's greatest comics creators.

--Tim Pilcher

This concludes our three-part series on Milo Manara. Previous parts can be read by clicking:
Part One - Gullivera
Part Two - The Golden ass

The new color edition of Pandora's Eyes is available in stores on November 23, 2016.

Tags: Across the Pond