Starting today, October 30th, and continuing until Sunday, November 2nd, is the annual comic book and gaming convention Lucca Comics & Games. Launched in 1966, during the years this event has grown both in size and importance. Starting off in one of the many small squares of Lucca’s centre, the festival was ‘relegated’ in the 1980s to a sports centre outside the town’s magnificent medieval walls.
Since 2006, for its 40th anniversary, Lucca Comics & Games has moved back to the city centre with its hundreds of stands and pavilions distributed in various squares known as the exposition area. Spreading all over the city are also the areas dedicated to exhibitions, shows, re-enactments and games. Last year, for the 2013 edition, the event saw over 210,000 visitors (264,454 people including press, guests and organization) consequently becoming the second most popular comic fair in Europe, after Angoulême Comics Festival in France, and the third in the world, with Comiket in Tokyo, Japan in the first place.
This year there are three anniversaries to celebrate at Lucca Comics. Exactly 80 years ago in 1934 Donald Duck, Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician first appeared on paper. On one side a quick-tempered, star-crossed hero on the other two superheroes who started off the Golden Age of comic strips. And these are just some of the subjects that will be discussed in the many conventions to be held these four days together with international guests. But Lucca Comics & Games is also exhibitions, cinema, board games, videogames, the Gran Guinigi Awards for eight different categories and the Project Contest for new talents in the world of comic strips. But the list could go on.
Not to be forgotten are the colourful and picturesque protagonists of this large, boisterous festival: the Cosplayers. People come from over the country, and farther, dressed up as cartoons and characters from their favourite comic books and movies. Ignorant spectators walk around town surrounded by these surreal characters wearing costumes, and sometimes VERY detailed accessories, and find themselves immediately catapulted into a world of fantasy… or nightmare.
For those wishing to participate in future International Festivals of Comics, Animation, Illustration and Games we suggest renting an accommodation outside the walls of Lucca since it becomes quite chaotic, especially during the weekend. At just 7 km from Lucca is the beautiful 13th-century Romanesque church of Santo Stefano. Nearby, on the hillside, is a charming stone holiday home for six with swimming pool surrounded by olive groves which enjoys a lovely view over the valley. Here guests can enjoy a peaceful stay at a short distance from one of the most beautiful towns of Tuscany.