The Hero’s Journey of Teo Paolicelli

What is the best thing that I love about my work? What I love about comics and cinema it’s that they connect people. When it’s done right and you’re lucky, it’s a lot like building a house. That house will be inhabited by all different people, it will help to create and maintain relationships. All of a sudden, you’ll realize it’s not a house anymore, it links to other buildings, communities. It’s just swell. It’s a way to talk and grow together.

What is my idea of happiness? I’m simple in my needs: work and dine with the people I love, with the family I build every day. To know they’re safe and work together through problems. It’s such a blessing. I don’t take it for granted, because it happens so rarely. Maybe one day it will be a daily blessing. A big house would be nice, a bit like how the Muppets live.

What is my greatest fear? Suffocation, in every sense of the word. I’ve lived it up close for a long time, no more. If you feel you are in that situation, please seek help. Believe me: passion, hard work, love and growth is what we need in this world. Never believe otherwise.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I’m a workaholic. Actually, I’m a lazybones in a family of workaholics, which still is pretty damn workaholic. I need people around to find the strength to stop.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? Damn, so many. The truth is that there are so many people who fill the world with love through their art. Some of those cuties: David Lynch, Luca Guadagnino, Walter Fasano, Paolo Sorrentino, David Fincher, David Kajganich, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Moffat, Quentin Tarantino, Typex, Scott McCloud, Bruno Cannucciari, Silver, Woody Allen, David Mazzucchelli, Leo Ortolani, Lin Manuel Miranda, Xavier Dolan, Hiromu Arakawa, Alan Moore and last but not least the “Bialetti little man”. Love the guy. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone.

What is my greatest extravagance? I talk weird. Zapatagnaϋ to you.

On what occasion would I lie? I lie all the time. Sorry to be that guy, but invention is a form of lying, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t speak the truth. Let’s be creative.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Typing. Love typing in my own free time, but I just despise it when it comes to working. Damn those lazy fingertips. I’m a fast writer, otherwise.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? When you can feel the energy pumping from the page/screen and filling the room with excitement and love. If feels like you’re about to die with happiness.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I wish I was able to work and live on the move, like on train and planes. I’m getting better, but usually I just shut off every time I’m on one. It’s like being tied up on a hospital bed, I just want it to be over, it suffocates me.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I believe in professionalism and never miss a deadline. I’m also quite adaptable and fast. I know funny jokes about nuns.

Where would I most like to live? Not a clue. Hopefully, somewhere with the people I love that is not too expensive and provides good food, bookshops, flea markets and cinemas. Turin is very nice in that regard, but I’m not sure.

What is my most treasured possession? Paper things, mostly. Letters from my beloved, data archive and notebooks.

What is my most marked characteristic? I’m investigative and observant. On that note: where were you on the night between the 15th and the 16th?

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? This is tough. Also, because I live between Matera (my hometown), Rome and Turin. In Matera, I just love the Malve barbaric cemetery. You can feel so much there, it’s so warm and peaceful.

What books influenced my life and how? “Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus” by legend Mary Shelley, for sure. I think it’s a book which deals so much with emotional energy and pain in such a wise and mature way. Also, the Sturmtruppen strips by Bonvi and the Peanuts by Schultz. Never patronize your reader, trust his intelligence.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Strawberry Fields Forever, by The Beatles. It’s a panacea, and so full of wisdom and respect. Love it.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? That would be the Doctor from British tv series “Doctor Who”. I always had difficulties relating to heroes, they always seemed to lack something. With Doctor Who my life really took a turn for the better. Pretending to be smart and getting away with it? Check. Two hearts? Check. Odd fashion choices? Check.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? Mary Shelley is the one. The wisest of all romantics, I always say.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? Ask me tomorrow and I’ll change my answer, but today it would be Suspiria by Luca Guadagnino. If you’re after something lighter, Sherlock Jr. by Buster Keaton. Sorry for the multiple choices, I’m such a brat.

What role plays art in my life and work? It’s everything. It recharges you when you need it, it gives flavour and aspiration to everyday life. I dig it.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me? I’ll shamelessly rip off one of my favourite quotes from writer Steven Moffat: “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”.

Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would I love to meet in 2020?  I’m going to aim high on this. I would really really love a chance to work with director Luca Guadagnino, I think he’s the one who more closely resembles my taste and aspirations in modern cinema. As for publishing companies, I’ve always admired the work made by Bao Publishing, Eris Edizioni and the new Linus editorial staff, which I believe are the best chance we’ve got to bring new readers into a fresh, ambitious way of looking at comics, and I’d love to contribute to that. I also really dig the ambition of modern Image Comics and Fantagraphics Books.

What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on? A lot it’s going on under the counter, but it’s all very hush-hush, I’m afraid. The thing I’m most excited about is the new book I’ve made with BandaBendata, SUNDAY SUMMER STORIES; now in preorder. I’ve written a lot of it and worked on the editing for the guys, and I’m so damn proud of what we’ve done. I can’t wait to work on the next one! (link:

Where can you see me or my work in 2020? Again, lots of secret stuff is underway, but you can follow my work on my Instagram page @teoeustass and our BandaBendata page, @bandabendata.

Which creative heroes should Peter invite to tell their story?  I have to mention my comic colleagues from BandaBendata, in the form of Alma Velletri, Filo Carletti, Daniele Presicce, Danilo DAB Barbarinaldi and Shannice Alogaga. I’d also love to work again with my writing partner and best friend Raffaele Tarantino, the incredibly generous Ilenia Trano and Lorenzo Miola. They’re absolutely amazing cuties and a joy to work with.

How can you contact me? You can contact me at and on Instagram and Facebook at @teoeustass

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