‘Together’ at the 2023 Lucca Comics & Games

The official poster of the 2023 Lucca Comics & Games Comic-Con
The official poster of the 2023 Lucca Comics & Games Comic-Con

November 1 –  5: LUCCA COMICS & GAMES.  The Robinson Arena in San Giovanni, Lucca.

Comics, anime, video games, cosplay and more: Lucca Comics caters to a diverse audience. Whether you’re there for the art, there to see your favorite author, or there to show off your new costume, Lucca has something for every interest in this specific area, including movies, TV shows and table-top games. This year’s theme is “TOGETHER.”

Lucca Comics will host a plethora of well-known special guests; out of 300, 45 are international. They will arrive from the United States, Japan, Spain, France, South Korea, China, Canada, England, Argentina, Israel, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Belgium. In addition, 61 publishing houses will be represented during the convention.  Visitors may attend meetings, book signings, talks, previews, and exclusive events.

The Japanese manga/Korean manhwa industry have invited such illustrious names as Naoki Urasawa, Hiro Mashima, Mingwa, Masaaki Ninomiya, and other leading figures in the scene. Naoki Urasawa alone has totaled over 140 million sales of his manga,  all over the world in addition to creating iconic series such as Monster and 20th Century Boys. Usamaru Furuya, Kan Takahama, Shintaro Kago, and Eldo Yoshimizu will also be at Lucca Comics to meet with readers.

Visitors from the international comics industry include Garth Ennis, Jim Lee, Don Rosa, Amélie Fléchais, Craig Thompson, Howard Chaykin, Tony Valente, among many others. Garth Ennis has earned fame also thanks to his 2006 work The Boys, which was later picked up by Amazon and adapted into a hit television series of the same name. English-speaking guests in the field of comics include Bryan Talbot, Declan Shalvey, Jesse Jacobs, and the duo Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura. Europe, especially France and Belgium, will have a large presence as well: Jordi Lafebre, David Rubin, Goran Sudžuka, Martin Panchaud, Elizabeth Pich, and the duo Bastien Vivès and Martin Quenehen.

Some of the most prominent Italian invitees are Gipi, Milo Manara, Leo Ortolani, Zerocalcare, Sio (and the entire Gigaciao group), Pera Toons, Silvia Ziche, Paolo Bacilieri, Igort, Fumettibrutti, Werther Dell’Edera, Barbara Baraldi, and Simone Bianchi. In addition to the Dino Battaglia exhibition in the Servi church, there will be the opportunity to explore through the works of the late AkaB, the pen name of Gabriele Di Benedetto, who was posthumously awarded the title Master of Comics in 2022.

The convention will host several lectures, the first of which will feature Garth Ennis, Joe Kelly and Howard Chaykin, who will talk on writing in America (November 1 at 2:30 pm at the Auditorium del Suffragio).  A conference on the 60th anniversary of the X-Men and Avengers is scheduled on November 3 at noon. Three hours later, the talk “Il scratcho del comico” will be given by Fumettibrutti, LaTram, Rita Petruccioli, and Elizabeth Pich. Milanese publisher Sergio Bonelli Editore will give a presentation on November 4 at 11:30 am. Self-produced, alternative, and underground comics will be spotlighted at the Agorà Civic Library thanks to Inuit bookshop and the Tuono Pettinato Foundation. There will be 32 exhibitors and a series of relevant talks.

Six exhibitions in total will be dedicated to games and fantasy. One will be dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkein, creator of Lord of the Rings, an important figure in the fantasy genre. An exhibition is dedicated to the renowned card game Magic: The Gathering in Palazzo Arnolfini, as well as a Magic Alley in Lucca Games that will host 18 renowned artists. The documentary Magic: The Gathering “Igniting the Spark” will also premiere in Italy for the first time. From November 2 to 4, Tomas Härenstam, creator of the role-playing games Blade Runner, Alien, Dragonbane, Tales from the Loop, Twilight: 2000, Forbidden Lands and many others, will attend the festival.

Streaming service Netflix will be at this year’s convention, 0ffering previews in a series of immersive spaces. Upcoming show All the Light We Cannot See directed by Shawn Levy (Stranger Things, Deadpool 3), written by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders), and based on a book by Anthony Doerr, will be previewed. SUBURRÆTERNA, a show set in the Suburra crime drama universe, will also be previewed. Amazon’s Prime Video will have guests from their upcoming shows, including Italian actor, comedian, director, presenter, and baseball player Fabio De Luigi. Five Nights at Freddy’s by Emma Tammi, based on the immensely popular video game by Scott Cawthon, will be presented at Lucca with a special screening. Toei Animation Europe will hold a celebratory event dedicated to fans of Japanese animation, with stands pertaining to series such as One Piece.

An Italian tournament of the massively popular video game VALORANT will be hosted at Riot Stadium (Pala Tagliate) and is only open to students. Visitors may also have the opportunity to see content creators face off against each other in League of Legends. In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of League of Legends and the VALORANT community, Riot Stadium invites fans to dress up for the Riot Games Cosplay Contest. Sega fans will be delighted to hear that for five days, the Casermetta San Paolino will focus on Sonic the Hedgehog. Nintendo will also have a stand in Piazza Bernardini. A Japan Live event will be held to immerse visitors in the country’s diverse and distinctive culture. The highly anticipated European Cosplay Gathering will occur on November 4 at 2 pm; the Lucca Cosplay Contest is scheduled on November 5 at the same hour.

In early October, Lucca Comics & Games started the Lucca Comics & Games Community Awards, where a favorite movie, TV series, videogame, fantasy book, comic, manga, game, and character of the year will be voted on. This new initiative has been incubating for a long time, according to the company. The vote will be open until 11:59 pm on October 29.  Voters may express up to three preferences per category at communityawards.luccacomicsandgames.com.   (Daniel J. Capobianco)

The complete list of guests, stands, shows, and other information may be found on the website.