Alfredo Castelli, Italian comics icon and cartooning history scholar, has been researching and writing his magnum opus, Here We Are Again, for the past decade. The work, which recounts the history of American comic strips in their formative period (up to 1919), was released with Italian text last year and an English translation is in the works.
In a strategy that has some fellow authors aghast Castelli recently announced that anyone who would like a copy of the Italian edition (text in Italian but the voluminous illustrations in their native English), which retails for about $300 US, may download it in PDF form for free. Castelli characterized the offer as “a late Christmas present” to comics fans.
Fellow researcher Allan Holtz, who contributed data to the book, said Here We Are Again “is absolutely the greatest contribution to the scholarship on American comic strip history yet published.” Regarding the giveaway Holtz commented that “Castelli has obviously spent far too much time breathing old newspaper fumes. Mad as a hatter, I’m afraid. He has been struck down by an affliction that all comic strip researchers dread. Every time you open a newspaper bound volume you can feel the brain cells dying. It’s a wonderful but highly addictive and harmful aroma.”
Castelli’s Here We Are Again is downloadable in a series of 12 zipped PDF files, each representing one chapter of the book, plus an English introduction. Those on slow internet connections are cautioned that these files are about 20 MB each:
Castelli says that the offer will expire on February 7 and the PDFs will no longer be available after that date.