Fumetti (or photo novels) are a genre of comics illustrated with photographs rather than drawings . Fumetti are popular in Spain and Latin America, where they are called fotonovelas, and have also gained popularity in France.

Fumetti were not well known in North America until the advent of webcomics. However, they were common in British girls' magazines such as Jackie (magazine). The term comes from the Italian word for all comics, "fumetto".


In the Italian language, fumetti are all comics, not just photo novels. Italians call photo-illustrated comics fotoromanzi. Fumetti are popular in Spain and Latin America, where they are called fotonovelas, and have also gained popularity in France.

Fumetti were never particularly successful in North America, with the exception of a few humorous ones, which were used often and well-received in National Lampoon magazine, where they were known as "photo funnies".

In the United States, there were fumetti adaptations of several popular films of the late 1970s, including Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Rocky II, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. The adaptations were usually abridged and were composed of stills from the motion pictures. However, with the advent of video, these adaptations no longer had a market, and they had disappeared by the early 1980s.

More recently, webcomics have brought fumetti to more Americans, with photocomics such as Night Zero, A Softer World, and Alien Loves Predator gaining attention in the webcomics community. In 2007, the Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards gave the first award for "Outstanding Photographic Comic", denoting a new acceptance of the genre. There are a number of fumetti newspaper strips in the UK and the form was popular in girls comics in the 1980s. Boys comics of the early 1980s such as Load Runner and the relaunched Eagle also experimented with fumetti but without much success. When the Eagle was revamped, fumetti strips such as Doomlord continued as more traditional illustrated strips.


Fumetti comes in several traditional formats. A Softer World is in traditional comic strip form - three panels with commentary. Skidmore Bluffs is a similar format but is usually just one panel. Alien Loves Predator , Reprographics , and Twisted Kaiju Theater are continuous comics updated regularly with a definite punchline for each page. Union of Heroes is an ongoing comic about superheroes. Transparent Life and The Anomalies are short story form comics. Night Zero is a post-apocalyptic zombie comic that publishes full comic pages like a traditional print comic thrice weekly.

Many fumetti artists use toys and action figures in their webcomics. Instead of photographing human actors, such artists place and pose toys for their "actors". The most commonly used toys are usually action figures such as Stikfas, Godzilla, Lego, GI Joe, Transformers, et al. Toy fumetti artists have developed three distinct styles to address the worlds in which the toys exist: toy dioramas, toys as toys, and toys personified.

The toys are a substitute for real people – although sometimes they might make tongue-in-cheek jokes about their status as toys. The artist creates miniature sets, props, and furnishings to create the world. These are usually scratchbuilt from clay, papier-mâché, and other craft supplies. Manufactured toy or doll pieces might also be used. The dioramas range from abstract battlefields (such as that used in Stuck), to simple apartments and locales (Depth-of-Field), to extensive dungeons, caverns and wilderness (Perils of the Bold). Some comics (Paradise Bar & Grill) include pre-made dioramas and scale playsets alongside custom built environments. Not all toy fumetti artists create practical dioramas. Some use digital environments (Ask Dr. Eldritch).

Many webcomics follow the adventures of toys in the human world. The toys know they are toys, and interact with human props and furnishings (but only infrequently with real people). Such comics are usually set in the artist's living room or workplace, occasionally venturing out on field trips to parks and other outside environments. Notable examples of this style include Nukeland Cinema and Misplaced Other webcomics use toys as stand-ins for real people, digitally placing the toys as life-size participants in real-world locations and situations (for example, Alien Loves Predator and Twisted Kaiju Theater).



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