34th Barcelona International Comic Fair closed successfully last Sunday with a record 118,000 visitors
A record 118,000 visitors attended Barcelona International Comic Fair, 5,000 more than in 2015. One of the main attractions of this edition was he 80th anniversary of Spanish comic book artist Francisco Ibáñez, who created the famous Mort & Phil. Another mayor exhibition, 'Comics on wheels', included some 200 originals works from around the world that showcased the relationship between two realms: comics and vehicles. Many professionals, comic fans and schoolchildren did not want to miss the opportunity to enjoy the opening of the event, which also drew together the video game industry and manga. Barcelona International Comic Fair was held from the May 6th until the 9th of May at Fira Barcelona Montjuïc venue.
Barcelona (CNA) - Barcelona International Comic Fair closed its doors this Sunday with a record 118,000 visitors, 5,000 more than in 2015. The event was held from the May 6th until the 9th of May at Fira Barcelona Montjuïc venue and was characterized by the presence of cars, motorcycles and bicycles. Everyone could see how characters in comics have transformed vehicles into key elements of their action-filled, comical or daily-life stories. 'Comics on wheels' included some 200 originals works from around the world that showcased the relationship between two realms: comics and vehicles. Another important main attraction was the 80th anniversary of Spanish comic book artist Francisco Ibáñez, who created the famous Mort & Phil. Many professionals, comic fans and schoolchildren did not want to miss the opportunity to enjoy the opening of the event, which also drew together the video game industry and manga.
Among the real vehicles, some famous cars in comic stood out like the Morgan Plus from Bale and Mortimer, the white Honda S800 from Spirou et Fantasio, the Ford Mustand from Sin City and the silver Delorean from Back to the Future, all surrounded by hundreds of people. In the other hand, Francisco Ibáñez came to Barcelona International Comic Fair opening to see the exposition in honor to his 80th anniversary. “I am very happy with the homage from my friends. It’s a great pleasure”, Ibáñez declared.
An international event
According to Antoni Guiral, the Director of Content of Barcelona International Comic Fair, the event has consolidated itself as one of the sector’s largest events in Europe after Angoulême International Comics Festival (France) and Lucca Comics & Games (Italy). “Our estimations were that 130,000 visitors would come to Fira Barcelona Montjuïc venue to visit Comic Fair”. In that case, it would be a new record after the last edition, which drew together 113,000 people.
The latest figures provided by FICOMIC show that 118,000 people visited the event over the four days. Even so, visits by school groups increased by 30%. “The most important thing is the happiness and satisfaction of visitors more than the figures“, Guiral added. The Director of Content also said “without no doubt whatsoever, Barcelona is the international capital of comics due to the number of publishers who are in the city, due to the many activities that take place throughout the year and due to the presence of Barcelona International Comic Fair”.
FICOMIC increased the budget for the last edition of Barcelona International Comic Fair with €786,500, 17.43% of which will be provided by the City Hall, the Catalan Government and the Spanish Culture Ministry. This increase has helped to attract more visitors and to make a better offer of activities.
Along these lines, the official presentation of Comic Fair wanted to stress the international role of the fair. The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, the Catalan Culture Minister, Santi Vila, the FICOMIC President, Patrici Tixis, and the director of the Comic Fair, Carles Santamaria, were present in the opening ceremony. All four agree Barcelona is an important reference in comic in the world. Colau assured the graphic novel is a popular art which “reaches every single home” and it has a social function because “it helps people and children to imagine”.
The presence of superheroines
“Elles tenen superpoders”, which translates as “They have superpowers”, was another important exposition in the 34th edition of International Comic Fair. The exhibition wanted to reclaim the female figure in the comic field showing 25 female characters. The first superheroine star in comics was Fantomah, created in 1940 by Hank Fletcher. Thereafter, the female characters have found their own space in the universe of comic and also female comic authors.
The varied activities which the event offered to the public this year have contributed to a great welcome. Comic book and toy stores, workshops, the video game area, restaurants… in short, all stands were full of schoolchildren, comic fans, costumed people and professional artists who came to Fira de Barcelona to show their work. Spanish Comic Authors Association was an example of that, which was present in the event in its own stand. “From the association, we organize expositions, workshops and talks with the objective of promote comic culture”, stated Ramón Pereira for CNA.
Comic groupies came to the fair due to the amount of different types of workshops: to learn how to draw, food, video game area, road safety workshop and also people who started to be interested in the comic field. Organizers FICOMIC tried to satisfy both curious professionals and amateurs. That is why FICOMIC increased this year’s event space from 32,000 to 45.000 square meters, which represented 25% more than 2015.
The presence of well-known names
An important characteristic of the event was the presence of recognized authors, illustrators and cartoonists from all over the world. In the first day comic authors like the Italians Lele Vianello, Claudio Stassi, Giovanni di Gregorio and Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri, the Spanish Luis Quiles and Iñaki Holgado and the British Doug Braithwaite came to Fira to sign their works and also to dedicate drawings to their fans.
The Italian author Frank Miller attended the Barcelona Comic Fair as a guest of honor on the Saturday, thanks to the collaboration of ECC Editions with FICOMIC. Loulogio, Sole Otero, Marion Fayolle, Koren Shadmi, Mike Carey, Zerocalcare, Brian Azzarello, Serge Bosmans, among others, were present at different stands too.