More than four hundred thousand people: this is the final count of this last amazing edition of Lucca Comics and Games, the annual comic book and gaming convention that takes place every year in Tuscany. And every year Pagine Ebraiche presents in Lucca its special pages, called Comics&Jews, devoted to the relationship between the world of comics and Jewish culture. On the opening day Guido Vitale, the editor in chief of the newspaper of Italian Jewry has given a panoramic of the pages, and discussed its contents with Giovanni Russo – director of the comics section of the festival – and Emilio Varrà, responsible of BilBOlBul, Bologna Comics Festival.
This year the focus of Comics&Jews is on the international scene, with many artists that havo not found an Italian publisher, yet. Among them Liana Fink and her A Bintel Brief , that owes more than its name to a beloved feature in one of New York’s old Yiddish newspapers, The Jewish Daily Forward, (a.k.a. The Forverts). The art of Hannes Binder, in Pogrom in Lichtenstein. Jener Furchtbare 5. April 1933, the quotations from the political Israeli discourse used by Boaz Kadman for her super hero Ilanit and Anya Ulinich’s Magic Barrel in the pages precede the sad story of Stefan Zweig. Roz Chast, well known author for the New Yorker, is the author of Can’t we talk about something more pleasant? in her book has managed to tell the sad story of the last years of her parents with an amazing grace, and the capacity of making the reader laugh, nevertheless. The names of Asaf Avidan and Marvano, from Israel and Belgium, with the courageous book by Shay Charka based on some memorable pages by Shmuel Yosef Agnon and Umpah-pah by Goscinny and Uderzo, complete the edition 2014 of Comics & Jews, distributed in Lucca with Pagine Ebraiche in hundreds of copies at the information point, ticket counter, at the entrance of the exibition and at the Lucca Junior Palace. Many different places around the city because even if the first edition of the festival took place in a small square in the center of Lucca, since than the appointment has grown in size and importance over the years, and it is now composed by numerous tents and pavilions that occupy many different squares within the medieval walls.
But also many historical buildings host events, and the Palazzo Ducale is home to the main exhibitions. It is traditional that the winner of the Gran Guinigi, the main prize, will be protagonist of the main exhibit, so Rutu Modan, the great Israeli artist who won in 2013 with The property, has spent a few days in Lucca. Two pages of Comics & Jews were dedicated to her, and to Michel Kichka, the Israeli comic artist who has also been her teacher in Bezalel.
And DafDaf, the Jewish magazine for kids that is part of Pagine Ebraiche has organized a workshop with Rutu Modan, on her latest children book, that involved the schools and took place on the second day of the festival.
Lucca Comics and Games, the second most popular comic fair in Europe (after the Angouleme Comics festival that takes place at the end of January in France) and the third in the world (the first is the Comiket in Tokio) has seen this year an ever growing success of its five sections – Comics, Games, Junior, Music& Cosplay e Movie – that in the four days have brought in town over nine hundred journalists for its five hundred events. The news organization of the spaces, novelty of this year, seem to have worked quite well, and it’s now already time to start preparing for next year, waiting to know how Lucca Comics and Games will be able to surprise its huge public.