Star of Blood: The Forgotten History of Wallestein the Monster

Authors: Twycross, A.

Start date: 11 July 2016

Wallestein the Monster, which appeared on Italian newsstands during the 1970’s and 80’s, was one of a number of adult pocket digests from publisher Edifumetto that offered readers a heady mix of gothic horror, fantasy, sex and violence. It focussed on the exploits of a handsome and enigmatic aristocrat, Jimmy Wallestein, whose desire to avenge his murdered father was personified by a monstrously deformed, sadistically violent alter ego, in whose guise Wallestein enacted terrible retribution upon the criminal classes. Thematically and structurally, Wallestein the Monster owes a debt to a number of classic texts, including The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Sherlock Holmes and Batman, whilst the bold and highly saturated covers, from the likes of Alesandro Biffignandi and Emanuel Taglietti, recall the Italian horror cinema of Mario Bava and Dario Argento. Wallestein’s is a world in which the gothic and the contemporary collide. Ruined castles, deserted cemeteries and grotesque monsters coexist with a world of fast cars, guns and glamour. The stories revel in depictions of extreme sex and violence, filtered through the symbols and structures of the gothic imagination. Wallestein himself emerges not only as a visceral embodiment of brutal justice, but as the personification of base human desires, freed of all societal, physical and sexual constraints.

This paper will discuss the history, symbols and structure of Wallestein the Monster, as well as other examples of Italian fumetti, including Sukia, Ulula, Zora the Vampire, and Candida the Marchesa. It will also examine the surprising links that existed in the 1970’s between Italian sex and horror digests and the British comics market.

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