In the history of comic books, Marvel superheroes represented a major innovation compared to traditional superhero comics such as Superman, with stories characterized by higher ‘realism’ in terms of setting and psychology and misfit superheroes having to grapple with everyday problems. Spider-Man was, arguably, the best embodiment of this new type of comics hero. He was also the first ‘flawed’ adolescent superhero, with typical teenage problems and an ironic and flippant language that was in tune with the times and deeply resonated with its target readers (Muszynski, 2016). Translated into Italian in 1970 as ‘L’Uomo Ragno’, Spider-Man’s language represents a particular challenge for translators, both from a linguistic and a cultural perspective. Considering the different contexts and the problems inherent in the translation of comics as a genre (Kaindl, 1999; Borodo, 2015; Zanettin, 2018a, 2018b), this paper examines the way in which the American Spider-Man became l’Uomo Ragno, focusing in particular on the rendering of its verbal features and the repackaging of the comic books into a product suitable for a new audience.
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