Lucca, Italy. On the final rush, this year’s edition of Lucca Comics and Games 2014 set a new record: 240,000 visitors in 4 days (October 30-November 2, 2014). Like every year there were so many appointments that overload and partly upset the small Tuscan town populated from every angle by a rushing river of people fascinated by the world of comics, cosplay and entertainment. This edition was made more fascinating by the excellent sunny and hot weather that allowed cosplayers to roam freely with their most complex and voluminous costumes and parading through the streets and over the beautiful sixteenth century walls around the city. It is a charming setting that never ceases to amaze.
In addition, favorable weather conditions have allowed the Zombie Walk at Lucca Comics & Games: Zombie walk event attended by a large number of featured “on stage” fight scenes between the survivors and the infected. Among the guests from all over the world we can cite the showcase
with the famous Argentine comic artist Enrique Breccia who has revealed that during his childhood his father, the great “maestro” Alberto Breccia, has never allowed him to read comic books and that for him it was impossible to see the father at work because Alberto Breccia was not working at home, but by a detached studio.
The Talented Breccia Jr though not encouraged to emulate his father, grew up, and worked with him at the realization of the life of Che Guevara. The original drawings of the comic – he said – were seized and destroyed by the Government of the Junta, except for the table of Guevara’s death, framed and kept on show in the living room of the minister of internal affairs.
The press café was one of the most fascinating of the festival, due to the presence of Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton, two giants of comics that have not been saved by some caustic questions from journalists invited. Crumb marked firmly that he would not want to speak about or even hear of Fritz the Cat,because that is a story that ended in 1972 and no longer makes sense to discuss it. Shelton gave a very interesting answer when he was asked if he knows and appreciates any Italian author. Shelton spoke of Mattioli and his comic Squeak the Mouse.
Shelton appreciated Mattioli’s character design and history and he told us that was Art Spiegelman that tried to bring this comic overseas, but that the court ordered to not publish that comic in the U.S. The funny thing – told Shelton – is that Squeak the Mouse was the first comic banned on U.S. sixty years after Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the x-rated novel of D. H. Lawrence.
Those who think that Lucca Comics is just game for game’s sake are wrong. In addition to the many historical reconstructions that of Lucca Games provides with its models and miniatures.
This year’s guest of the “Game” section of the event was Nicolas Guérin, level designer of Assassin’s Creed Unity.
He spoke about the level modeling of Revolutionary Paris, place of the last chapter of the famous video game saga. A Paris very detailed, affirms Guerin, despite the issues and problems encountered as it is now the largest city designed as a level area of a video game. Guerin’s work led to the reconstruction of the late eighteenth-century Paris with almost maniac details of doors and windows taken from photographs and on-site surveys to create realistic but not so much a real faithful copy of the city. The intent was instead to call out the true atmosphere of those places. And the atmosphere is the heart of the game; we have observed that the representation scales of the buildings are larger in the central areas of the game and then become smaller (ranging from 1:1 of the Notre-Dame and Paris centre to 1:4 for the outlying areas) as we move to the suburbs. Despite this, Guerin stated that everything that the player will see on the screen, from the palace’s largest high down to the smallest tunnel in remote corner of the city, will be completely free roaming. A remarkable work of investigation and study to try to make the game accessible, playable and historically appropriate.
Last but not least, we interviewed the artist Keiko Ichiguchi about her comic book Memoires of Iris, a tender fresco, specially created to appeal younger readers and let them discover the wonderful heritage preserved in the Stibbert Museum in Florence.
The comic is published by 001 Editions of Keiko Ichiguchi’s Keiko, – thanks for the patience in answering our questions – explained that her comic was specifically aimed to children, so she did not use specialist terms to describe the Japanese sword and its parts. The design and delicate flowing of narration develops in the eyes of the reader and unravel the halls of the museum between glimpses of the Sengoku Era by the Museum’s collection of armor and historic weapons. The Stibbert Museum was not unfamiliar to Ichiguchi, for she used its collections as reference for a comic about Giovanni dalle bande Nere, a Reinassance’s Italian soldier-of-fortune (also mentioned in this comic) and Keiko was well aware of the bibliography about him.
For this work, however, she was allowed to visit and see the “forbidden” Japanese section of the Museum’s storage and pieces, that were usually closed to the main public, in order to take a photographic record sufficient to be used for the production of the comic. Despite talking about war weapons, Memoires of Iris does not explore the theme of violence and war – Keiko is undoubtedly refractory to that topic; otherwise passed the meaning that objects, their history, their past, could be full of feelings that humans have placed there; objects as armors and swords, dolls or other craftmans’ products are not just tools, toys or weapons, but true companions of everyday life, in good or terrible times.
The story: two people are in search of a mysterious sword: Wanny and a lost child. Wanny is a very eccentric man, the character is a real person counterpart. A particular: the hair of the lost child grows in proportion to the approaching of the final discovery. Keiko reveals that hair are particularly important in Japanese culture and that their length is a feature of the divine and magical creatures. Also the appearance of the boy is changing depending on what Wanny is learning touching various objects during their search in the museum. Doubts and questions that will be revealed in a moving finale perhaps not too surprising. Thanks to Keiko for her graceful and delicate images. For the interview with Keiko I must also thank the professionalism and dutifully Valentino Sergi this year in the use of the 001 editions.
Now the magic of Lucca Comics and Games is finished, as well as its endless lines, crowded streets and pavilions. But such a magic and desire to dream will lead us til the next year’s edition.
All pictures are by Furio Detti under a Creative Commons license