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I Fumetti di Mao

THE “COMIC” WAS NEVER less comic. It is a profound (although historically explicable) paradox that the word “comic” attaches to the phenomenon known as the comic strip only in English-speaking countries, where strips have long been the least comic of all. But if we expand the meaning of the term to encompass not only the funny but also what is intended to be broadly recreational, “comic” is no misnomer in the West. Those American strips which are the least outwardly comic in style and content, and which appear to take themselves so very seriously, are conceived and consumed as escapist entertainment. But we should look behind the guise of fantasy which they wear. United States adventure comics are not in the least innocent of political values, which are often of a fiercely reactionary kind.1

Critics outside the United States, whether they view such comics as corruptive or simply diversionary,

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