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War and Superheroes, the main highlights of 32nd International Comic Fair in Barcelona

This year the Barcelona International Comic Fair celebrated its 32nd edition by looking back at the golden age of superhero comics and the wars that shaped History. Organizers FICOMIC increased this year´s event space from 19,000 to 32,000 square meters, which resulted in attendance figures of 106,000 throughout all four days and an increase in sales of comics and other products. The Fair Director, Carles Santamaría, stated that “weare satisfied with the high participation of the audience in an edition that has beaten its record for space”. The festival was once again characterized by the presence of well-known names of the comic universe, such as Spanish artists Paco Roca and Francisco Ibañez, Canadian Ramón K. Perez and Maltese Joe Sacco.

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21 May 2014 09:43 PM

by

Simão Chambel

Barcelona (CNA). – This year the Barcelona International Comic Fair celebrated its 32nd edition by looking back at the golden age of superhero comics and the conflicts that built the history of humankind. Organizers FICOMIC increased this year´s event space from 19,000 to 32,000 square meters, which resulted in attendance figures of 106,000 throughout all four days of the Festival and an increase in sales of comics and other products. The Director of the Fair, Carles Santamaría, stated that ‘weare satisfied with the high participation of the audience in an edition that has beaten its record for space”. The festival was once again characterized by the presence of well-known names of the comic universe. Among these authors the most sought after in the signing sessions were Spanish artists Paco Roca and Francisco Ibañez, Canadian Ramón K. Perez and the Maltese artist Joe Sacco.


The 32nd edition of the Barcelona International Comic Fair has stood out from previous editions thanks to the number of visits and sales of comic books and other entertainment products. Any comic fan would have been delighted to walk out onto the 32,000 square meter space that constitutes the Barcelona International Comic Fair, at Fira Montjuic, one of the most important trade fair institutions in Europe. But as well as staying true to the formula of success of previous editions, this 32nd edition of the fair was all about the enhancement of culture itself. With adornments, representations and exhibitors everywhere, we are reminded the Comic Fair enhances our capacity to travel to multiple universes to end up rethinking our own.

Comics in war

In the first pavilion of Fira Montjuic we could find one of this year´s biggest highlights, the ‘Comics in war’ exhibition created by Catalan critic, editor and comic book author Tony Guiral. The exhibition was outstanding for assembling 554 original drawings that contemplate some of the most important episodes of this genre in different conflicts, starting from the very beginning with ancient civilizations and finishing with a touching portrayal of the Spanish Civil War.

To complement the works of artists like Leopoldo Sánchez, Mariano de la Torre, Athos Cozzi, among others, there was a unique set design that included civil war and World War II vehicles as well as different characters like soldiers or aviators that played lead roles in various conflicts of the 20th century.

Living the Comic Universe

This year was also special for the commemorations of popular superhero franchises such as the 75 years of ‘Marvel Comics’ and ‘Batman’, the 40 years of ‘Wolverine’ and the 85 years of ‘Popeye’. In this exhibition, the focus on the contributions of Spanish authors to the popular franchises, in comics that are appreciated throughout the world, was especially noteworthy.

‘Por el derecho de sonreír’, which translates as ‘For the right to smile’, and ‘Autobiographical Vignettes’ were other exhibitions where visitors could see famous journalistic cartoons revolving around popular political, economic or social issues in Spain and Catalonia as well as a unique literary genre, the autobiography, and how it is carried through to the world of comics. The artists that came first in last year’s edition of the Fair, Purita Campos, Miguelanxo Prado and Oriol Hernández, also hit the limelight with their own exhibitions.

Besides the exhibitions, visitors could participate in informative conferences, workshops or activities driven by entertainment brands as well as getting their favorite stories signed by their respective authors. In fact, the atmosphere created between readers and authors was memorable for granting enough space and time for participants to share their opinions and their appreciation for comics in general. Among the present artists, some of the most sought after were Spanish Paco Roca, recognized for his work ‘Los surcos del azar’, Canadian Ramón K. Pérez, known for his ‘Tale of Sand’, Maltese Joe Sacco, acknowledged for his books about the Israeli-Palestinian relationships, North-American Brian Azzarello, famous for his crime series ‘100 Bullets’, and Spanish Francisco Ibañez, creator of different humoristic series.

Nonetheless, one of the main events of the International Comic Fair are the visitors themselves. By representing their fantasies and passions, in different and charismatic costumes, they attract photographers and create a special atmosphere, absolutely necessary to the experience of living out this universe, since this down to creativity and from buildings stories from small foundations.

Awards

As for this years awards, the Best Spanish Author´s Work went to Paco Roca for his story ‘Los surcos del azar’ and the Grand Prize of the Fair was awarded to Miguel Gallardo, creator of the ‘Makoki’ series and a bunch of autobiographical comics. Japanese Osamu Tezuka, otherwise known as ‘Father of the Manga’, won the Best Foreign Work for his ‘Book of Human Insects’ while Spanish artist Clara Soriano was awarded with the ‘Revelation Author’ award. ‘Arròz Negre’ also the winner for ‘Best Fanzine’ and ‘Papel Estrujado’, by comic artist Nadar, received the ‘Public´s Award’.

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  • A stand at the 2014 Comic Book Fair in Barcelona (by S. Chambel)

  • Francisco Ibañez signing autographs (by S. Chambel)

  • Attendees at the 2014 Comic Book Fair in Barcelona (by S. Chambel)

  • Comic in War exhibition at Barcelona's 2014 Comic Book Fair (by S. Chambel)

  • A stand at the 2014 Comic Book Fair in Barcelona (by S. Chambel)
  • Francisco Ibañez signing autographs (by S. Chambel)
  • Attendees at the 2014 Comic Book Fair in Barcelona (by S. Chambel)
  • Comic in War exhibition at Barcelona's 2014 Comic Book Fair (by S. Chambel)