The greatest comics and games festival in Europe (in Lucca!) was blessed this year by wall-to-wall sunshine and the opening up of new spaces which gave this real-fun event a more spread-out and less crowded feeling.
I’ve already described how the festival started out from a negligible event in a sports hall back in 1966 to become the international fixture it’s now, in my post at https://longoio.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/a-question-of-style/.
This year the theme of the festival was ‘sì, viaggiare’ – yes, travel – both with conventional transport and with one’s mind, I presume!
We arrived at just before midday to immerse ourselves in the contemporary make-believe of this mediaeval fantasy city.
Sandra came dressed as ‘Spider cat’. If you haven’t come across a spider cat don’t be surprised: it’s a new creation courtesy of Sandra’s fertile imagination. The idea came to her not only from Spiderman but also from Italian ‘Topo ragno’ which translates as ‘spider mouse’ but which in fact refers to the shrew, so belittled by Shakespeare et al. The main characteristics of a spider cat are its ability to combine the best features of cats – intelligence, ability to have more than one life, craftiness and an affectionate nature – and of spiders – ability to move quickly, fine craft in making webs, capacity to see many things at the same time and complete disregard of gravity.
Spinning silkiest webs,
enmeshed in enchanted strand
you leap into Space
I came dressed as a descendant of Genghis Khan, thanks to my trip to Outer Mongolia in 2008. Our outfits proved a not negligible draw and, if we’d asked for royalties for photographs that were taken of us we’ve be rather well-off by now!
Lucca comics and games is, of course, a brilliant people-watching event and costumes were very varied indeed ranging from children’s fables to science fiction characters and from Japanese manga to western classic tales.
The stalls selling everything from collectors’ item comics to the latest video-games were incredibly extensive and, also very well-attended!
What were our highlights? First, the weather, principally because last time we were at the festival in 2013 it was a miserably drizzling day. Second, the people and participants who were, as ever, courteous and bent on having good clean fun. Third, the special events. We selected a manga drawing class in the Japanese village in the new gardens opened behind the beautifully converted monastery of Saint Francis (see our post at https://longoio.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/magisterial-monastery/ when we were present at its inauguration). Our teacher, who runs courses in the Academy of Manga art, was excellent and even enabled me not only to reach the correct proportions in drawing humans but also introduced us to drawing characters in action.
There were lessons in Japanese, quiz shows and much else. I realise we’d barely scratched the surface of this event but better to select a few things well than many just superficially!
There were several exhibitions of Japanese photography and paintings.
I was particularly intreagued by the one on cafe maids:
Among other areas there was even an opportunity to enter the Tardis!
I wouldn’t mind getting one of these for Christmas:
The exhibition highlights, as usual, were in the imposing Palazzo Ducale facing Piazza Napoleone where three very interesting displays were on show.
The first presented the work of the French artist Bonvi and his comic strips based on a somewhat politically uncorrect Nazi soldier during the last conflict. It was a French slant on something that became the essence of that long-running British sitcom ‘Allo, ‘allo.
The second exhibition was more serious and displayed the work of Emmanuele Luzzati with the theme of Jewishness in faery tales. The depictions of Jewish festivals were particularly poignant and the 3-D cut-out drawings were most effective.
The third exhibiton concentrated on Napoleon and Waterloo:
At this stage darkness had descended upon the fun and games at Lucca’s big annual event and, at the end of a long day, our legs were beginning to feel it. After a delicious cassata at that fabulous ice-cream shop in piazza Cittadella (the piazza in which the house where Puccini was born is situated) we wended our way to our car which, thanks to the clever intrigues of immigrant parking bay finders, we’d managed to park amazingly near one of the city gates. So ended yet another totally memorable Lucca Comics and Games for this year. See you there next year?