The four volumes of Giovannissima! include many of the stories originally published in the Bitch in Heat series in the 1990s. Thus we see here in the first story, La poire (The Pear), a tidied-up version of one of her very first comic strips – and one of her best. The other two stories in this extract are Love, and Chambre 179.

In 2023 the Belgian journalist Charles-Louis Detournay interviewed Giovanna Cassoto; here are some of her responses to his detailed questions:

The complete Dynamite collection brings together twenty-four stories, which you have partially coloured while often leaving the characters in black and white. How has your graphic style evolved over the course of your career?

I have always drawn mainly in black and white, in order to favour nuances, adding notes of colour here and there. Only once did I decide to completely colour a story (Let’s Swing!), but that was an isolated experiment. However, it is true that on some occasions colour stories have been published.

What is your technique for making comics like these? Do you start by working with pencil to lay down your line and shading?

I only use graphite and markers; even for my colours I absolutely don’t use acrylic. I like to work in black and white, adding hints of colour here and there. I find that the use of black and white greatly favours the nuances, which is one of the particularities of my drawings.

Why is the use of photography so important in your work? To accentuate the realism and therefore the charm of your stories?

The use of photography is much more widespread than one might think among illustrators. The photograph is a valuable aid in the search for three-dimensionality and realism. However, I have never worked with or in a photography studio; I always created the scenarios and photographs at home.

These stories sometimes benefit from beautiful full-page frames where the quality of your work gains visibility. How do you divide the story: do you first create the storyboard of your story, then take photos of the selected postures, or do you take the photos first and then use them as inspiration?

The full-page creations were included because I like to pay attention to their composition, inspired by the enchanting drawings of Sergio Toppi. Regarding the development of the story, I always started by preparing a storyboard, then moving on to photos, then the final drawings.

It’s important to talk about what you’re saying in your stories. Do you play with popular culture and everyday life to better explore your readers’ fantasies?

No, I have never tried to deliberately include references to contemporary Italian life. When I draw, I refer exclusively to my own fantasies, and don’t think about the readers. The fantasies remain imaginary, however, and have no connection with what I experience in my private life.

What goal are you pursuing with your stories?

The goal is to share my desires with readers. I must be the first to vibrate, to feel excitement. At this point I’m not thinking at all about the emotions readers might be feeling, although I’m glad they like them as much as I do.

How do you review your stories in hindsight? Do you prefer some to others?

Of all the stories I have drawn, I prefer the ones I did with Pasquale Petrolo and with Franco Saudelli.

Italy can be proud of having talented erotic authors – Manara, Crepax, Saudelli, Serpieri, Magnus, Baldazzini, and many others. Do you think that erotic comics are better accepted in your own country?

I can’t speak for these authors. As for the readership, to be honest, it seems to me that erotic comics are much more popular in France than in Italy!

Other women are now creating erotic comics, like Katia Even in France or Elena Ominetti in Italy. Do you think more women should embrace eroticism?

I have to admit that I don’t really know these other artists. I don’t actually don’t read comics; I much prefer photography. For me comics are a  pretext for drawing human bodies. I have always worked without looking around me too much, and without wondering whether or not there was a diversity of points of view. Maybe I was too interested in my own!

What are your future plans? Are the comics definitely behind you?

Yes, for me comics are a thing of the past; they no longer interest me. For some time now I have devoted myself almost exclusively to watercolours.