Bulletin: Author Goes Mad, Gives Away Books

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.

9 comments on “Bulletin: Author Goes Mad, Gives Away Books

  1. Is it madness, though? The zip files give you the text, though in Italian, and an indication of what these thousands of illustrations look like, though the resolution is such that you can’t really see them that well. It has all really whetted my appetite for this book: full size, discernable pictures and in English. Brilliant promotion, in my opinion.

    F Flood

  2. Seriously speaking: thanks to Allan for the very kind (and very funny) words. You’ll find a similiarly enthusiasic appreciation of Stripper’s Guide at page 688, col 3 (Vol 11). It’s in Italian as everything else, and I’ll just translate the sentence “la più importante opera di reference mai
    pubblicata sul fumetto americano in syndication”, “The most important reference work ever conceived on American syndicated comics”. A short entry dedicated to Stripper’s Guide Blog is at page 704, Col 1.
    Please download the book’s frint and back endpapers, where Allan’s very important contribution to “Eccoci ancora qui!” is credited.
    To Eddie Campbell —Hi Eddie, maybe you remember me when we both were “Honor Guests” at the Rome Comicon, together with Lupin III’s Monkey Punch – I took you to that messy restaurant where the dinner was held, “L’Ardito”. Eccoci ancora qui is sold, but it is very expensive (385 Euros!!!) as the first printing was only of 100 copies, with a (already rare) reprint of the extremely rare “The Yellow Kid in McFadden’s Flats” (download the color presentation at
    and other special gadgets. My advice: wait for the (not so) cheap edition in a single book. Anyway, for the Rockgellers and Berlusconis, connect to
    Best, Alfredo

  3. Alfredo!

    ah, that was you. It all goes past in a blur. But I must say that my wife and I enjoyed the dinner very much (My mother-in-law was of Italian descent), and don’t recall the place being too messy at all.

    best to you


    and to Allan, I had a little trouble with Blogger myself today, but it came right. Am missing my shot of Zoozoo.

  4. As far as I know it is not available in print or electronically. For a work of such great importance it is a shame that it is unavailable. I think somewhere I heard that the print edition was only 100 copies, so the chance of finding one on the secondary market seems pretty slim.

    I tried to buy a copy when it came out — I think they were something like $300 each — and was unsuccessful at securing one. I imagine they were all preordered by European libraries and collectors.

    Interestingly Worldcat shows just a single copy, at the National Library in Rome. Even OSU didn't manage to snag a copy!


  5. Thank you, Allan, and I completely agree. Let me introduce myself: I'm Kevin Scott, one of those academics who, later in life, have turned my research toward what I enjoy. (https://uwf.edu/cassh/departments/english/faculty/kevin-scott.html) I'm currently working on a piece on Gene Byrnes that will show up first as an article but which I expect will be a book. In the longer term, I am gathering materials for a book on the early decades of the strip with a focus on how issues of class and economics survived the transition from the more adult approach that characterized strips through the teens as the form moved toward a more family-oriented gloss. (My take is that they remained fairly dark, under the surface.) That said, I want to thank you for the site. As I have immersed myself, I have been surprised by the thinness of the research–so much of it being for a mixed audience including popular, nostalgia readership. Your site, however, feels to me like the single most important work of scholarship on the strips. I picked up your Encyclopedia, and it is just mandatory. So, again, thanks. My life is richer for it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *