25 November 2016

Report from Lucca Comics & Games

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the long delay... No updates here for a while. Well, it's not because I've been slacking off! Well, ok, maybe just a little. Those four books I was to make... so, it turned out differently. Because of external decisions made beyond my power, two of them are postponed to next year:

Sword Princess, the RPG book in the world of Amaltea, was supposed to be released before X-mas this year, but as I kinda suspected it would not happend. Which is not a bad thing! The co-author I have on this book , Tomas at Swedish RPG games publisher Saga Games, really want this RPG to become as awesome as it can be, so he's taking his time with the writing. I'm so happy for that! The new release is planned for April 2017!

Mermaid Minna, the watercolor comic I was to make with Swedish publisher Rabén & Sjögren, will be released in Fall of 2017 instead of Spring that year. This lets me have more time to think over the story and perfect it, and not rush the artwork either! So it was a much needed time bonus.

Since September, I have had a lot of other things on my mind instead. Some of them are more personal, and I wish to keep them to my self for a little while longer but hope to make them official in a not so distant future, depending on... erh... things.
But I also had a crazy vacation/work trip (aren't all my vactions work related somehow? Hm...) to Italy in the end of October!

Me and Emil went to Pisa!

Or rather, we went to Lucca Comics & Games in Lucca, right next to Pisa, but stayed at a nice hotel in Pisa, which ment this famous crazy building was on our daily path to the train station to and from Lucca.

Lucca Comics & Games is the biggest comics and games related festival in all of Europe, if you count size and amout of visitors (over 270 000!!). The whole city center, surrounded by a high medievial wall, is turned into a popcultural festival for all ages, like a huge fortress for the nerds! 
The beautiful mix of old historical buildings and cosplayers, elaborate architecture and big rollups with popular characters was like stepping into paradise for someone like me.

In San Michele Square, Fox Entertainment had a huge tent and this magestic tree was a promo for one of the upcoming movies.

Tents filled with comics next to old chapels, churches and impressive towers. The Panini tent contained comics by the most prominent comic publisher in the country, Panini Comics. Italy is actually the fourth biggest comics market in the world, behind Japan, France and the US.
Apparently we got very lucky with the weather, everybody we talked to said it usually rains during Lucca Comics, but this year all days was 20-25°C = ice cream weather! And the Italians sure knows how to make ice cream!! Yum!🍨

Both big and small have their place at Lucca Comics! One of the smaller churches in the city contained the "Self Area", a market for the independent and smaller artist collectives and projects, much like a much fancier Artist Alley.

Inside the church, the jaw-dropping ceiling and walls in combination with the like wise jaw-dropping talent of the artists made me almost faint!!

Thanks to my helpful and amazing friend Davide Della Via, former editor and artist at Doraetos Manga where my Sword Princess Amaltea is published in Italian, I got to meet some really great people. Among others, he introduced me to Jessica Marino, the creator of Antithesis, a selfpublished comic who won prizes in the Italian Indie Comic Award, IICA, this year. Such impressive, much wow!

More super talented artists, and super friendly too! Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna and Elena (Ofride) whom all sold their selfpublished comics in the "Self Area". I had to buy one of each!

Beautiful and inspiring watercolor artwork by Ofride.

Other smart and cool self press designs: fanzines in a book box!

In another area close to the "Self Area" was the "Meet the editors"-building. This is something I also wrote about in my report from Angoulême 2015, a thing we don't have in Sweden but that I really think would be beneficial to both the artists and the publishers. In Lucca, they did things a bit different than in Angoulême. Instead of having to queue for hours, the artists could submit their portfolio (a set number of pages depending on which publisher) before a certain time, and was assigned a number each. After the editors had reviewed the submissions, they chose which artists to book a meeting with and posted the list with their numbers on the wall you see next to the door. The big group of people in front of the door is aspiring artists, waiting for the list to be put up and hoping their number will be on that list. Oh, the tension!

This is from inside one of the big comic tents. Booths of publishers or specific famous artist in labyrith-like formations!

Just like in Angoulême, the tents are raised over actual city squares, which means you see statues and street lights inside, haha. And SO much people. Everywhere!

This is inside the Games tent, right outside the city gates. It was too huge to fit in any square inside, lol.

One of the booths in the Games tent was solely dedicated to a live artist studio, where super talented and famous fantasy artists could work on a piece of artwork for hours, in front of the visitors. Such a cool idea, but it must also be stressfull for the poor artists. You got to have nerves of steel!

All over Lucca city center, the shops had rented out their space to merchandise pop-up stores, with anime figurines, action figures, t-shirts and comic related memorabilia. This was truly like stepping into my fantasy dream city, haha!

In the corner of the North-East part of town, inside the city wall, was this cool alternative festival called Borda! Fest. The tables was less expensive and thus gave a chance to artists and collectives who would not normally have a chance to sell at Lucca Comics. Such a nice initiative!

Litteraly the whole city center was affected by the festival. This is the table covers of one of the pizzerias next to the comic tents, a collaboration with one of the publishers.
Oh, and the pizzas~ One of the pleasures with this festival sure is the fantastic food of Italy, I love it!

Cosplayers, re-enacters, alternative fashionistas and steam-punkers all moxed well at the festival, and these unpaid dressed up visitors became part of the attraction, getting stopped and let people photograph them every second meter.

While enjoying another ice cream, we stumbled upon a Steam Punk meet-up at one of the squares.
As part of the festival, several of the buildings was turned into exhibition halls. The main festival exhibition featured some of the invited artists of the festival. One of the artists was Kamimura from Japan. His beautiful brush strokes was so inspiring!

One of the national artists was Zerocalcare, a phenomenon by himself as you can see. Next to his exhibited artwork, mostly from his books but also some from his webcomic that gave him his break-though, hangs this board with statistics on his works. He has made 7 books, which each has sold 70 000 - 90 000 copies (!!) and the longes signing session he has had was over 13 hours (!!!). Phew!

The other Italian artsit is Casty, a immensely popular Mickey Mouse artist. Mickey Mouse, or Topolino as he is called in Italy, is actually home made in Italy, by and for the Italian market, with consent by Disney.

A Frank Cho exhibition, as he was one of the innvited artists.

Also Joan Cornellà from Spain, who's become famous for his morbid humour. His exhibition was behind a black curtain, for several reasons...

Last but not least, Zerocalcare's punky illustration for this year's festival, hung in a grandious golden frame.

And this is some of the books I managed to carry back home with me:

Anima by Chiara Zuliani
Lumina by Emanuele Tenderini and Linda Cavallini
Samurai 2.0 (artbook anthology) 
Hadez by Ilaria Catalani and Silvia Tidei
Antithesis by Jessica Marino
Grimoire (anthology)
Nilihue by Ofride

Agenzia Alfa by Massimo Dall'Oglio
Miss Hall 1 by Giulia Adragna
La Fine Dell'Estate by Giulio Macaione
Rock 'n' Punch Riders by Daniele Rudioni
Rogheneach 1 by Myriam Savini
Ale & Cucca 1 by Elisabetta Cifone
Somnia 3 by Liza E. Anzen and Federica Di Meo
Martin Mystère
Il Rompicapo Del Contadino by Sam Alden
Romabot by Fabrizio De Fabritiis and Daniele Rudoni
The Story Of Naja by Davide Della Via
Nine Stones by Iayafly

I was so impressed by what the italian comic market has to offer. This marked is seriously underestimated in Sweden, in my opinion, and especially when it comes to the younger newer artists. I would love to have some of them in Swedish one day, and will happily show the copies I have to editors in Sweden if any of them are reading this.

After the trip to Lucca, Emil and I went to Novara and Milan with Daniele Rudioni, who is one of the teachers in comic art at the school ACME di Novara and Milan. I held two lectures, one in each city, about my comics, my tools (inking) and the Swedish comic marked in general. They where both well attended with about 20-60 at each event. So fun!

All in all, this trip was just like my previous trips to NY, Angoulême, Tokyo (etc.) very inspiring and helpful for me in my career and creativity. I totally recommend all you artists out there to regularly go to a big International event outside of your own market, because it makes you understand the global comic market so much better. It's also a wonderful opportunity to network with people that do what you do but in another country. I'm so glad I got to meet and hang out with so many nice, helpful, inviting and friendly people. HUGE thank you to Daniele Rudioni, Davide Della Via, Salvatore Pascarella, Federica Di Meo, Dilly and everyone else that I got to meet and hang out with at Lucca and in Novara. Thank YOU!!

✿ Thank you for reading! ✿