EVENTS At Festivals and in the Press, Comics Meet the Jewish Culture

lucca-comicsBy Pagine Ebraiche Staff

The great Israeli cartoonist Asaf Hanuka and Italian writer Roberto Saviano are working together on a graphic novel about the Italian author’s story, which will be published in 2017. The news, after the anticipation by Pagine Ebraiche, has found a new confirmation by Giovanni Russo, head of Lucca Comics festival and by the director of the editorial staff of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) Guido Vitale. It has been one of the subjects of the presentation of the special section called Comics&Jews, that Pagine Ebraiche dedicates to the relationship between comics and Jewish culture and is edited by Ada Treves every year.

Now in its seventh edition, the special section was presented in the first day of the event, and as a further sign of the collaboration between UCEI’s newsroom and the two largest Italian festivals dedicated to comics, to present Comics&Jews was not only the head of the comics section of the festival in Lucca but also Emilio Varrà, responsible for Bilbolbul, the other large event dedicated to comics to be held in Bologna in late November.

Apart from a now well-established tradition, and mutual respect among professionals in the sector, the collaboration also recognizes the ability of Pagine Ebraiche to identify beforehand and present to the public authors that a few hours after the presentation have won the most coveted awards, the Grand Guinigi. Walter Chendi with “La porta di Sion” in 2010, Rutu Modan in 2013 and Asaf Hanuka last year. This year’s jury, chaired by Roberto Davide Papini and composed by Guido Martini, Stefano Prodiguerra, Teresa Radice and Fabio Visintin, awarded Albert Uderzo, Igort with the main prizes.

We publish here the introduction to the special section Comics&Jews.

Each season brings the mark of images

By Ada Treves

There is no need to look far away from Italy to realize how much the comics’ season is not to be considered concluded in the few weeks in November that are filled with the days of Lucca Comics and Games and Bilbolbul, in Bologna, the two events in Italy that offer the best of the world’s production. There is no time to forget the Italian festivals that is time to leave for Angoulême, the place that the famous Festival International de la Bande Dessiné has now turned into a real “Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de l’image” where in addition to the festival there are a museum, a specialized library and an amazing bookshop. Within a few weeks, it’s time to travel to Lucerne, where in the Spring, another international festival, takes place. And it was the main guest at the presentation of the sixth edition of Comics & Jews in 2015 in Lucca, Asaf Hanuka, who in Angouleme introduced Pagine Ebraiche to Koren Shadmi, the Israeli author who has moved to Brooklyn and was candidate this year, together with Abaddon, to the main prize in Lucca, the Grand Guinigi. And Koren Shadmi, met in Angoulême has the same French publisher, Ici Même, of Simon Schwartz, another author present in these pages. And then it cannot be just a coincidence the fact that Ici Même is also the French publisher of Paolo Bacilieri, another great author who is a long time friend and collaborator of Pagine Ebraiche, for which he drew the masthead of DafDaf, the Jewish magazine for kids.

In Lucerne, one of the great protagonists of 2016 edition was Lorenzo Mattotti, who on the day of the opening of the fiftieth edition of Lucca Comics will close to Udine, in the fabulous Villa Manin, for the inauguration of his exhibition… In Italy comics do not like big cities: they prefer to attract fans in places where you just because of them and not for the desire to visit another capital, or yet another museum. The same thing happens in France, in Angoulême, and in Switzerland, with because even though the tribe of enthusiasts and professionals is increasingly numerous, there remains the pleasure of knowing personally one another, and the pleasure of crossing each other again and again, even many times in the same day, as well as planning to meet again in the next festival. So the seventh special section Comics & Jews, dedicated as always to the relationship between comics and Jewish culture, presents the already famous authors, Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky Crumb, and Joann Sfar, but has chosen to devote a great space to authors certainly less known, at least in Italy but who deserve attention. Authors met or discovered thanks to the festivals and to the suggestions of those who choose cartoon as their main occupation.

It is to Giorgio Albertini and Grégory Panaccione, author and illustrator of the newly published “Chronosquad” that goes the first thank you, because as well as having recently given to the press a graphic novel already defined by critics as “a small wonder” they are always an essential guide to a world that is exciting and inconceivably complex. Their almost manic care for details is similar to that we found in the work of Simon Schwartz, a young German author not yet translated into Italian who in his in “Vita Obscura” recounted the extraordinary lives of characters with stories that are so outlandish that it’s hard to believe they are all true. And looking for a publisher there is Fausto Gelormini’s work, which tells the history of the Holocaust and the Eichmann’s trial. In Lucca among the candidates for the main award there were also Joe Kubert, with “Yossel”, and Walter Chendi with “Maledetta Balena” while Asaf Hanuka, whose third volume of “KO in Tel Aviv” has been recently published by Bao will not be present: he is busy on what will be the big news in 2017: a graphic novel, for Bao, that he will co-author with Roberto Saviano.