Ask Morgana 097: Milo Manara

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mm9 sidebarMaurilio Manara (1945-) is an Italian comic-book illustrator – well, isn’t just about everyonemm4 sidebar who produces erotic material a ‘comic-book illustrator’ these days? Manara’s women are leggy and full-mouthed, stereotypically curved, quasi-American but wholly European. they appear caught in ecstasy, alone, or with a male or female lover, or maybe trapped in some public scenario. Sometimes, as with the illustrations of nuns below, religious and sexual ecstasy might have a porous boundary, as a nun with eyes fluttering closed licks the knee of an icon – a crucifix, to be exact (not shown). Sometimes, as with the idealised Native American woman, the ecstasy seems to be at the touch of nature, as Keewatin, the North Wind, blows about her buckskin, her hair, and fallen leaves. Manara’s style is unmistakable, even if an illustration were to appear without his ‘MA NA RA’ chop in the corner.

I used the word ‘stereotypical’ above, and I can already hear voices asking “Are all these ‘erotic artists’ merely pornographers whom you have dignified with a euphemism?” Well what if they are? Pornography is often in the eye of the beholder, and I am the first person to admit that it is often impossible to know where to draw the line. To my mind the definitions ebb and flow, and I do not have a window into the minds of the artists nor the consumers. I do know the level(s) on which I view and react to any artist’s work. I am completely prepared to be amused, or appreciative, or turned on. But then you knew that anyway.

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Images reproduced under ‘fair use’ provisions.

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