Political Comics. Graphic Journalism and social activism

Updated by Gianluca Costantini on May 2014, 1:30 p.m. ET

The adventure of Political Comics began casually in 2004 with a series of drawings entitled El indio and posted online on this site, I could not expect what would happen then, this small series radically changed my work as designer.


This short series talk about characters who appeared in small news on some websites or newspapers, there was an image of the military Pat Tillman, one of the journalist killed Rowell Endrinal, one of the artist Ousmane Ndiaye Dago, another of the NPD candidate Holger Apfel, and many others. The drawings were immediately posted on the U.S. site Cloud King and just from this first contact I knew what would be the future of these images: the sharing in the virtual world. Then also by Enfuse Magazine.


Immediately the time for the exhibitions arrives, first of all Anni di guerra network nostrano (“Years of War: local network”) at Library 47th floor of Rome, with an introduction text of Lello Voce (for the occasion was made a video entitled El indio) and at the Museo della Battaglia del Senio of Alfonsine in the exposition Gemini Muse where I realized a series about the Gothic Line, collected in the catalogue published by the Associazione Mirada with an introduction of Sabina Ghinassi. I was invited to take part in the collective Luogo Comune 2004 during the Unity Day in Bologna; for the occasion, Elettra Stamboulis wrote a text.


In 2004 I also made two comic pages about Marzabotto for the initiative Bologna Capitol of Comic. The whole series El Indio was collected in a comic book by the Centre Andrea Pazienza in the collection PicColibri edited by Grabriele Ferrero. One of the pictures was published in the anthology Comix against Global War for the Sherwood Comix Festival.

It was published also a great article in the magazine Carta Cantieri Sociali by Pablo Echaurren named L'arte di riuscire a fare il reporter di guerra (“The art of being a war reporter”).


In the same year I published the picture on the seizure of Indymedia servers in the UK by FBI agents, in the magazine Il Mucchio Selvaggio and from that moment began my collaboration with them starts.


I published also the series Vademecum di stile fascista on the fifth issue of inguineMAH!gazine published by Coniglio Editore.


A collaboration with the weekly pubblication Ravenna & Dintorni began almost by chance, thanks to a journalist of my hometown, Andrea Colombari a collaboration that still goes on. The first drawing was on Ettore Muti.

The second series that I realized for the project Political Comics was 48 hours on Yahoo! News published on the website of Political Comics opened for this occasion. The series tried to sum up the news of Yahoo!, short news that used to disappear and change continuously. The drawings describe mainly the war in Iraq, the protests and a funeral in Gaza, and an accident in Thailand.


One of the reasons why I started to "investigate the reality" with drawing was the reading and viewing of the book "War to the war. 1914-1918: everyday scenes of horror

by Ernst Friedrich, the founder of the Anti-War Museum in Berlin. I was struck by his work and his life.


Between 2004 and 2005, I realized the series on Annalena Tonelli republished here on Voci Globali. The most important exhibition dedicated to the project was organized at the Festival Crack! Fumetti dirompenti in 2005 (Forte Prenestino, Rome) in company with Aleksandar Zograf.

It was a very productive year in which I deepened the issues of the ex-Yugoslavia, the conflict Palestine-Israel and the Afghanistan. I also began to get interested in the historical and current political situation of Italy, with drawings and stories about Giuseppe di Vittorio, Leo Longanesi, Primo Levi, Clementina Cantoni ecc...


An illustration of Political Comics came out on the number eight of the magazine Garabattage in Spain and the designed story of Marzabotto in 2004 in the magazine edited by Aleksandar Zograf "Kuhnja" in Serbia. Whereas a picture of the series El Indio became the cover of the book Resistenza60  (Fernandel edition).


In 2006 Political Comics began to be international and two important exhibitions were organized in Athens and Lisbon. The first was made by Babel magazine in its exhibition space in Athens.

Now the topics discussed increase, becoming global: Algeria, Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, Cuba, Chechnya, India, Pakistan, Bosna and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Turkey, Finland …


At the same time at Bedeteca de Lisboa (Cidade do Lobito, Olivais, Lisbon) there is the inauguration of the exhibition Political Comics curated by Marcos Farrajota. in which my pictures are exhibited for the first time in Portugal. For the occasion I realized a silkscreen in collaboration with Mike Goes West.


In the same days in Lisbon was also opened the exhibition inguine@Lx Mafia Italiana to the Crew Hassan Cooperativa Cultural CR where are exposed other images from the project Political Comics.

In the meantime, is given a small exhibition titled III Meeting of independent artists at the Link Associated of Bologna, and in this exhibition there are also Maurizio Ribichini e Diavù. In this year it begins also my collaboration, that continues for some years, with the magazine Volontari per lo sviluppo,  (“Volunteers for development”), and for the magazine inguineMAH!gazine a comic book written by Allan Antliff, is published, while in Bucharest on Anthology HardcomicSeex comes out the full series El indio come out.

The story "Gaz Promise" written by Elettra Stamboulis is published simultaneously in Greece in number 237 of Babel magazine and by U.S. magazine World War 3 illustrated.


In 2007 Political Comics took part in the International Comics Festival Bilbolbul

of Bologna organized by Hamelin association and in the collective exhibition 030Illustrators at Hublad Editions space in Milan.


Political Comics also work on the on-line project Al voto Al voto edited by Ale pop.

Gaz Promise, testi Elettra Stamboulis disegni Gianluca Costantini


In 2007 I published "Diario di un qualunquista" (Diary of an indifferent) containing the political drawings come out from 2004 to 2006, with the publisher Fernandel. The book is available on Amazon and other online retailers. It has received many reviews including those by Francesco Boille, David Vecchiato, Vittore Baroni, Manuel Graziani, Alessandra Monica, Federica Angelini Listen to the interview to Radio Città del Capo. More information on Google Books.


Inside there's a text of Daniele Brolli.

Some drawings are published in the magazines: Pizzino, FATTI -Zero Euro Freepress, inguineMAH!gazine, M annex of L'Unità.


In 2008 the Cultural Centre Elektrika Gallery organized the exhibition Channeldraw in Pancevo near Belgrado in Serbia, curated by Aleksandar Zograf within the festival GRRR! PROGRAM.


The exhibition Blood in Algeria is organized for Miomao Gallery it's a series of drawings that I have dedicated to the civil war of the '60. It was published a catalogue with an introductory text written by Tahar Lamri.

Sangue in Algeria | Work in progress Book

The exhibition Channeldraw makes a stop in Sarajevo too, within the project Cartoline dall'Italia alla Bosnia (“Postcard from Italy to Bosnia”) at the Modern Art Gallery of Bosnia-Herzegovina edited by Associazione Mirada and Adriatico Mediterraneo of Ancona.

In the same year some drawings become part of the touring exhibition Children no more, and some dates at Museo del Territorio (Alberobello), Fiera del Levante in Bari, Biennale d'Arte Contemporanea of Triggiano, at the City Gallery SpazioGiovani of Bari, Palazzo Farnese of Piacenza, Palazzo di città Salone dei Marmi di Salerno.

Aleksandra Zograf writes about Political comics on the number 914 of Vreme

while continues the collaboration with the newspaper Pancevac, with the publication of some comic strips from El indio.


Two important workshops engage me, the first at the Academy of fine Arts in Sarajevo and the second at the Fine Arts in Bucharest.

In 2009, a small exhibition is organized at the C.S.O. Folletto25603 Abbiategrasso near Milan.

Paul Gravett asks me to realize a comic story based on some texts written by Elettra Stamboulis for the anthology Ctrl.lt.Shift Unmasks Corruption and for Comica Festival of London, l

he story will be on the L'Aquila earthquake. The exhibition was staged at the Lazarides Gallery.

In the exhibition: Adele Austin & Woodrow Phoenix (UK) Aleksandar Zograf (Serbia) Asia Alfasi (Libya / UK) Ben Dickson & Warren Pleece (UK) Bryan Talbot (UK) Cole Johnson (USA) Dan Goldman (USA) Daniel Merlin Goodbrey (UK) - online comic only Dave McKean (UK) Dylan Horrocks (New Zealand) Elettra Stamboulis & Gianluca Costantini (Italy) Ferry Gouw (UK) Floodworks (Ethan Ede / Adam Rosenlund) (USA) Fredrik Stromberg & Jan Bielecki (Sweden) Jason Masters (South Africa) Josue Menjivar (El Salvador / Canada) Laura Oldfield Ford (UK) - cover Lee O’Connor & Pat Mills (UK) Lightspeed Champion & Luke Pearson (UK) Patrick Dean (USA) Paul O’Connell & Marcus Bleasdale (UK) Sean Michael Wilson & Michiru Morikawa (Japan / UK) Vishwajyoti Ghosh (India) VV Brown, David Allain & Emma Price (UK)


Many drawings concerning Russia are exposed to Boomfest Festival in St. Petersburg - Griboyedov chanel emb.while Channeldraw come back to Bologna (SUBject, Spazio Capodilucca, Centro Sociale Occupato Bruno), then to Trento (into the event "indiTrottura").


During my exhibition in the Salon du dessin contemporain at Carreau du Temple 

I realize Daily Iraq; this series will be collected in the catalogue edited by Viola Giacometti and created by LibriAparte of Bergamo, with a text by Elettra Stamboulis titled Dionysus in Iraq.


Cartoline da Pancevo (“Postacard from Panacevo”) is published in the magazine Internazionale while Terre di Mezzo publishes the tale 8km, where the Zaher's story is told by Francesca Grisot here. Zaher's poems were translated by Hamed Mohamad Karim and Francesca Grisot.

The experiences of workshops continue to ALBA Academy of Fine Arts in Beirut e and at NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan with the lesson titled Activism o Artivism. While at theUniversity of Republic of San Marino and the IUAV in Venice I give the lesson titled Reminder of a revolt graphics by Omar Volpinari.


In 2009 I was invited to give a lecture in Linz, Channeldraw - The future of comics is in the dialogue among the disciplines, at the Ars Electronica Center meeting organized by Gottfried Gusenbauer.

In 2010 a personal exhibition entitled Political Comics was dedicated to me at Museo De Humor Grafico Diogenes Taborda in Buenos Aires.

I take part to the collective exhibition Where Is My Vote? Posters for the Green Movement in Iran at the School of Visual Art of New York and at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University.

El indio's images

El indio's contents: Ifor/Sfor, Pat Tillman, Rowel Endrinal, Emmanuel Murangina, Ousmane Ndiaye Dago, Samphors Tweety Mao, Deportato U.S.A., Holger Apfel, Mercato di Bouakè, Bacino di Merlebach, Uldis Berzins, Quotidiani riformisti, Asaad Kadhim, MoveOn.org, Ken Mehlmam, Moschea di Al Aqsa, James Miller, Ahmed Yassin.

48 hours on Yahoo! News

48 hours on Yahoo! News contents: Gaza Strip, John Kerry, Iraq,

Green zone Baghdad, Jebaliya, Aqsa Mosque, Ariel Sharon, Hamsa, Rafah, Thai-Muslim.

Editing of NAHYEBAU CTPNM (Serbia)

In 2005, the drawings of Political Comics were exhibited in the editorial office of NAHYEBAU CTPNM in Pancevo in Serbia.


Political Comics 2005

Full Archive 2005 here here

Comics' silence is intolerable

The italian cartoonist talks about his drawings and the political messages that they contains. By Asteropi Lazaridou (BHMA 25/4/2006)

Political Comics in Athens


Political Comics from March 27 to April 12, Library

Babel – space expo, opening March 27, 2006,

Babel Lontou 1 – Athens

Political Comics 2006

Full archive 2006 here

Political Comics | Bedeteca de Lisboa, 2006

Al voto al voto, 2006

Silkscreen realized with Mike Goes West in Lisbon

Political Comics | Crew Hassan, Lisbona, 2006

Channeldraw, Pancevo (Serbia), 2008

Channeldraw, Sarajevo, 2008

Romania National University of Arts, Bucharest

Channeldraw at C.S.O. Folletto25603, 2009

Lazarides Gallery, Londra, 2009

Blood in Algeria, Komikazen 2009

At the Festival Komikazen in the exhibition All'ombra di Peter Pan with Dave McKean, Peter Kuper e Paolo Bacilieri, the series Blood in Algeria is exposed again.

Boomfest, San Pietroburgo, 2009

SUBject, Bologna, 2009

C.S.O. Bruno, Trento, 2009

Daily Iraq, 2009

Reminder of a revolt graphics, 2009

Political Comics, Buenos Aires, 2011

Where Is My Vote?, New York e Boston, 2010

Some drawings in Le Murate di Firenze, 2010

In collaboration with the magazine FFF Firenze Fast Forward it was organized a live performance at the Centro Arte Contemporanea Le Murate in Florence.

The artpress Magazine publishes a work of mine War Pollution in Palestine on the occasion of the exposition at the stand of Miomao Gallery at Salon du dessin contemporain al Carrousel du Louvre in Paris.

The GIUDA edizioni publisher print a comic book about the series G8NOVA

with a short text written by Elettra Stamboulis. The tales will be used to illustrate the story of Marco PhilopatRoma K.O. Genova 2010 posted on the website Piovono Pietre.

War Pollution in Palestine, Louvre, Parigi, 2010

La storia di Cheikh Mansour e altre mitolgie del Caucaso (“The story of Cheikh Mansour and other myths from Caucaso”) written by Elettra Stamboulis was published on Le monde Diplomatique in coopertation Homecooking Books in France. Along with M. Vandermueulen, Grégory Jarry,  Juhyun Choi, Lisa Mandel, Fabrice Neaud, Victor Gurrey, Joe Dog, Jochen Gerner, Mazen Kerbay, Joanna Hellgren, Madmeg, Morvandiau, Maximillien Le Roy.

In the same year, in Italy, it will be published from the magazine Animals, Coniglio Editore.

G8NOVA Hier Stehe Ich – Ich Kann Nicht Anders

It's a politic and poetic paper-necropolis, the mapping of the anarchist movement with the cemetery of Genoa in the background.

In 2010 it starts the partnership with the Greek magazine MOV, where it is published the tale 8km La storia di Zaher. At the same time the story is published in the French portal CafèBabel. The story on Giuseppe Di Vittorio is published on Mamma! And some illustrations are published on the Loop Magazine.


During the Bilbolbul Festival of Bologna I introduce along with Elettra Stamboulis the artist Shirin Neshat for the preview of her movie Donne senza uomini (“Women without men”) at the Cineteca of Bologna.


The picture OBAMA Middle East Speech is exhibited in the Biennale di Venezia and in the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Sala Nervi in Turin.

The work Station is exposed to Saifi Urban Gardens of Beirut with the project Dual Sense/Tarik Mouzdawej, for the occasion I made some drawings with the cartoonist Barrack Rima.


At the Gallery CC de Werft a Geel in Belgium, I took part in the collective A Paper Trail werken op papier curated by Annelies Nagels and Hélène Vandenberghe in the exhibition: Fred Bervoets, Joseph Beuys, Michaël Borremans, Sofia Boubolis, Marcel Broodthaers, Troels Carlsen, Martha Colburn, Gianluca Constantini, Marcel Dzama, Jan Fabre, Kim Gordon, Céline Guichard, Keith Haring, Kati Heck, Herman Kamphuis, Gideon Kiefer, Johan Kleinjan, Jacques Lizène, Capitaine Lonchamps, Jonathan Meese, Benjamin Monti, Adam Nidzgorski, Panamarenko, Dieter Roth, Kurt Ryslavy, Nedko Solakov, Solichin, Toon Tersas, Dennis Tyfus, Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven, Philippe Vandenberg.

With Shirin Neshat, Bologna, 2010

The image of La storia di Cheikh Mansour e altre mitolgie del Caucaso are exhibited at the Chic Dessins in Paris with the Miomao Gallery and the Festival Périscopage al Orangerie du Thabor in Rennes.

In 2011 I start the collaboration with the publisher BeccoGiallo, with whom I publish the graphic novel Julian Assange Dall'etica Hacker a Wikileaks (“Julian Assange from Hacker's ethics to Wikileaks”) written by Dario Morgante. The book is available on

Amazon and other online retailers. He has received many reviews, including those of

Andrea Fanti, A. Beretta, D. Carmignani, Massimo Galletti, Luca Raffaelli, Francesco Mascagni, P. G. Cardone, R.A. Appetiti.You can also watch theBook Trailer

It 'a reading project on Twitter #AssangeWikileaks. It was presented at the Journalism Festival of Perugia link.


A lot of exhibition on this book are staged, for example the exhibition at the Galleria La Subbia of Pietrasanta in the Festival DOCartoon, at Palazzo Sforza di Cotignola.

A book's preview is being published in the journal Emergency and E il Mensile, while

Internazionale publishes Cartoline da Beirut ("Postcards from Beirut").

Station, 2011

Périscopage, Rennes, 2011

Julian Assange, Pietrasanta, 2011

We Will Not Stay in Silence, Specchia, 2011

It was organized an exhibition of Political Comics titled We Will Not Stay in Silence al Festival del Cinema del reale (Specchia).

Political Comics arrives in Monaco to the Rationaltheater, with the exhibition Comicunderground and come back to Buenos Aires for the Collective La Guerra (“War”), at the Museo De Humor Grafico Diogenes Taborda.


Andrea Fanti for "La lettura", annex to the Corriere della Sera, talks about political comics.


In 2012 the first chapter of Julian Assangedall'etica hacker a Wikileaks is published on the number 43 of World War 3 Illustrated in the United States. I also start a collaboration with the magazine L'Antitempo, from Milan.

At the Festival del Giornalismo di Perugia it was organized a meeting on Julian Assange with Dario Morgante and the journalist Giovanni Ziccardi.


In 2012 I work with the website ilPost directed by Luca Sofri, with the realization of comic stories about: elections in Senegal, Hamas, Yemen, Rossella Urru, the new age of Senegal, Vittorio Arrigoni, al-Khawaja's hunger strike, the coup in Guinea Bissau, Mahmound Shokraye, Hasan al-Banna, Boko Haram...


The biggest exhibition on Political Comics  was organized in 2013, edited by Chiara Ronchini entitled Mangiare sandwich di realtà. ("Eating sandwich of reality"). An installation at Caos Centro Arti Opificio Siri of Terni is realized as part of the exhibition.


On the occasion of the Festival di Internazionale in Ferrara, 

it was organized a day named Sussurri e grida nella democrazia digitale (“Whispers and shouts in the digital democracy”) at the Zuni Arte. It was organized a workshop with the students of the Artistic High School and the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna and different meetings were organized about hacker ethics and security in web information, with Antonino Caffo, Alessandro Bottoni, Paolo Holzi, U10 (Michele Aquila e Valeria di Rosa), Elettra Stamboulis, Matteo Stefanelli. This meeting showed also some drawings from the book on Julian Assange, edited by BeccoGiallo.


In support of the self-builders of Filetto and their struggle, it is created the event Disegnare la nostra casa (“Drawing our home”) in the construction site of Filetto.


On May 9, the Italian journal L'Unità publishes an article written by Renato Pallavicini, titled Costantini: fumetto politica e bellezza,  (“Costantini: comic, politic and beauty”), while the magazine Panorama.it publishes La Prima Twitter Fiction Illustrata, an article on the project Twitter/Assange, written by Nicola D'Agostino. Mucchio Selvaggio in the same period publishes a long article/interview realized by Andrea Provinciali: Fumetto e impegno politico.  (“Comic and politic commitment”).


On July 9, I explain the use and the history of the mask used in V for Vendetta, inspired by Guy Fawkes at the TV program "Foglio volante" curated by Enrico Bianda on RSI Radio Televisione svizzera. Listen


In 2013 Julian Assange. De la ética hacelr a WikiLeaks is printed for the Spanish publisher Luces de Gàlibo, while the German magazine Wendepunk.t Zeitschrift für eine Neue Zeit publishes some illustration from the series OccupyGezi.


The magazine Internazionale publishes Cartoline dalla Tunisia (“Postcard from Tunisia”), about Chokri Belaid's murder.

Mangiare sandwich di realtà, Terni, 2013

il Post, 2012 / 2014

Workshop Sussurri e grida, Ferrara, 2013

Building site of Filetto, 2013

At the La Triennale di Milano  during the exhibition Milano&oltre una visione in movimento, a round-table discussion is organised by www.connectingcultures.info


Storie instabili - Ragionamenti inediti sul valore creativo dell'instabilità meeting by Filippo Romano and Antonio Ottomanelli. With: Gaetano Berni liveinslum, Gianluca Costantini Political Comics | Giuda Edizioni, Massimo Dorini educatore | i sommozzatori della terra, Roberto Francavilla Lusofonista | Prof. Associato Università degli studi di Genova, Marinella Scalvi Sociologa.


In 2014 I was invited by DOX Centre for Contemporary Art Poupětova 1, Prague 7 (Czech) www.dox.cz to take part to the collective exhibition The Poster in the Clash of Ideologies 1914 – 2014 and to the Festival Human RightNights at the Cineteca di Bologna.


I realize for the Festival del Giornalismo di Perugia the project Portraits of journalists, a drawing map of the international journalism.

Festival Human Right Nights, Bologna, 2014

Portraits of journalists, Perugia, 2014

To see all portraits click here

OccupyGezi, 2013/2014

Political Comics cooperates with: Four for Africa, Risha Project (Egitto), Ponte Radio, Place of War (Inghilterra), Fratelli dell'uomo, Drawing the Court (Russia), Greenpeace (Canada), World War 3 Illustrated (USA), Internazionale, La lettura, Graffiti76% Quadrinhos (Brasile), Le Monde Diplomatique (Francia), Slow Food, Terre di Mezzo, MOV Magazine (Grecia), Wendepunk (Germania), RSI Rete Due (Svizzera), CafèBabel (Francia), Il post, Voci Globali, Global Voices (USA), Trasparenza e legalità, ToonPool, Vidas de Papel (Spagna).

Last series realized

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