Back to Menu
Gary #03
Images Publication Text

Sukia is a comic book series created by Renzo Barbieri and originally published by the Milanese house Edifumetto from 1977 to 1986, yielding a total of one hundred fifty-three albums. Sukia belongs to what is known as 'erotic Italian fumetti', a phenomenon which enjoyed great success during the late seventies and early eighties, in the 20th century. This genre explored the base passions of the male audience through a volatile mix of sex and violence. The success was such that these publications began to be translated and published around the world. Specifically, Sukia cropped up in Belgium, France, Spain, and in Colombia, where it was then distributed throughout Latin America and the United States. The comic chronicled the adventures of a vampire member of the jet set (characterized physically in a recognizable way as Ornella Mutti) and her gay butler Gary. Together they traveled the world, uncovering the most unlikely mysteries, while keeping up an active sex life, which began a constant competition between Sukia and Gary. As a background story for their investigations, there was sex in the foreground. Sukia’s decline and disappearance as a publication came in the eighties with the arrival of porno on video, which, with its explicit content, substituted what Sukia left to the imagination. Thus Sukia gathered a cult following and became a collector’s item for a few, and was forgotten by the rest of its regular audience.

Francesc Ruiz’s project for the exhibition Arqueológica will 'resurrect' Gary, accompanying him on one last adventure that will take him to the different cities where Sukia was published, searching in this way for it roots and what remains of its legacy and presence there, as an anthropological study, where it compares the changes that society has undergone since its publication. The project consists of five new comics that Francesc Ruiz has created to bring the character and his adventures back to life. The plots of these comics will take place in each of the five cities where it was published and which constituted its worldwide distribution headquarters: Milan, Paris, Brussels, Barcelona and Bogotá. For this project, the artist resided previously in the five cities mentioned, and these new comics base their plot on direct experiences lived in the places where it was published, in a hunt for copies of Sukia in second hand shops, flea markets, private collections, distribution spaces and bookshops where Sukia was sold, and in interviews held with readers from that period, current fans, popular culture scholars, and even authors, by way of fieldwork: an archaeological project that reconstructs and seeks out the physical remains and memory that may have survived from this comic in a territory bounded by time and space.

— Excerpts from The Archaelology of Fumetti by Virginia Torrente —