There will certainly be Zerocalcare, in a book on Italian intellectuals of the new millennium, that someone will write sooner or later (the first to be greatly surprised will be him).
It is a prediction that one can dare for at least two reasons. First: he has created a new, unusually close relationship with his readers. He replies to emails and chats, gives original drawings to those who ask for them, just queuing up, and at the beginning he published his stories for free too. Among other contemporary Italian intellectuals there is nothing comparable, and there are no precedents.
Second: inside his stories there is a strong relationship with the past, although he addresses an audience that one imagines, usually without ties to the XXth century’s tradition, immobilized in a self-sufficient present. Continuously characters and objects take on different appearances, taken from a colorful pop repertoire, contaminated with a political, militant imagination.
Those who read Zerocalcare know it: these metamorphoses are very amusing apparitions, and on them is based in large part the story – tesserae of a mosaic less naive, less weightless than what is declared by the author, more or less explicitly.
So, in a story of 2015, the very young Zero finds himself fighting for fun with a Gramsci-puppet, which Lady Cocca gave him. Produced in the American Masters of the universe series Mattel, it speaks when you scratch his belly. “I hate the indifferent”, he says with a little voice: Calcare calls him four-eyed, Gramsci puppet answers quoting Harry Potter. Of all the great thinker’s quotes, this is perhaps the least predictable.