From the dark wood to the asphalt jungle: adaptation and appropriation in Detective Dante

  • Alessio Aletta University of Toronto
Keywords: Adaptation, comics, Roberto Recchioni, Lorenzo Bartoli, Dante Alighieri


Detective Dante (2005-2007) is a comicbook miniseries written by Lorenzo Bartoli and Roberto Recchioni. The eponymous hero, Henry Dante, is a violent policeman who, haunted by the ghost of his wife, moves from New York to the fictional ‘Paradise City’. The series, composed by 24 issues divided in three cycles (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso), is noticeably influenced by the Divine Comedy both in its general outline and in some single episodes; nevertheless, it ultimately tells an original story.

Through a close reading of the first issue as well as more general considerations about the series in its entirety, this paper investigates the intertextual relations between Detective Dante with the Divine Comedy.

In the context of Dantean comics, this series exhibits a number of unusual traits: its references are thematical and narratological, rather than graphic; it contaminates elements from the Commedia with a modern and noir setting, generating unique combinations; most importantly, it subverts the well-established hierarchy between literary source and comicbook adaptation.


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How to Cite
Aletta, A. (2020). From the dark wood to the asphalt jungle: adaptation and appropriation in Detective Dante. Between, 10(20), 267-299.