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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Black Paths (SelfMadeHero), by David B.

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In 1919, the Italian futurist poet, novelist, screenwriter and aviator Gabriele D'Annunzio marshaled a private army and seized the Adriatic seaport of Fiume. In the confusion of post-World War I Europe, D'Annunzio was able to rule the city for nearly a year. In the latest graphic novel by David B., author of the enlightening Best of Enemies on the long history of U.S. intervention in the Middle East, D'Annunzio's reign is depicted as an art experiment gone mad, and many of the illustrations suggest Hieronymus Bosch at the Dada Cafe. D'Annunzio feverishly dreamed of Utopia but his most enduring influence was to fertilize the imagination of Mussolini. Black Paths is a fascinating study of the strange convergence of anarchy, fascism and art a century ago.