The Napoli Comicon has probably the most spectacular location of any comics convention in the world, it’s an old castle, Castel Sant’Elmo at the top of a hill overlooking the city, the bay, and Mount Vesuvius. I didn’t really get a good overall shot of the whole thing, but here’s the entrance:
…and here’s a view of one corner of the pentagonal (I think) building:
The cavernous hallways were lined with booths selling the usual comicon wares. The only noticeably Italian aspect of the con was the strong presence of homegrown weekly pulp comics like Diabolik and Dylan Dog:
Jessica with Omar Martini, our Italian publisher, at the Black Velvet booth.
Omar took the night train down from Bologna the night before the con bearing hot-off-the -press, ink-smelly copies of La Perdida and Esercizi di Stile. Here’s the cover design, it’s based on Charlie Orr’s UK edition cover:
Wares on sale at the Black Velvet booth:The wall facing the Black Velvet booth featured a small exhibit of original pages from our two books:The Italian rock magazine XL sponsored a diversion-packed room of “underground” comics, painted dolls, and large cut-outs by the cutting edge of Italian comics. Here is Jessica getting her butt kicked by a Francesca Ghermandi drawing:
And here is the charming creator of said butt-kicking drawing:Here’s Jessica with up-and-coming comics star Andrea Bruno [now red eye corrected! –MM], whose excellent new book Brodo de Niente (“Nothing Broth”) was debuted at the show by Canicola and will surely be making waves here soon (it’s one of their innovative “subtitled” editions):
I also caught up with the rest of the Canicola gang–Liliana and Edo and Giacomo Nanni, mainly. I didn’t meet all that many new artists but I did meet the one artist I was hoping to meet: Marco Corona, who does the excellent Reflections in the Ignatz series. (No photo, sorry. It’s too bad because he’s a very colorful character, the class clown of the Italian indie scene. He accepted an award wearing a fake beard and speaking in a falsetto.) Reflections ends with issue three and Marco is considering what he will do next in between traveling, tattooing and doing illustration gigs.
I didn’t get photos of many of the bigger stars who were there, although Go Nagai had his assistant take a picture of us with him at the opening reception. Jean Giraud was charming and very approachable; we chatted a few times but I never got a good photo op. Jacques de Loustal was there but I never got around to meeting him–there will be another opportunity. We were reunited with some of our friends and acquaintances from Angoulême, including Joann Sfar, who I sketched sketching in his diary:
By way of explanation of the drawing: on Friday night we had a big artists/editors dinner at a famous Neapolitan restaurant called Umberto. They had prepared a menu inspired by the “Blu” theme of this year’s con (see the Bilal poster below). The oddest bit was a portion of extruded blue paste that looked like Play-Doh or AquaFresh (it turned out to be dyed mashed potato). Someone at the table–I think it was Joann–decided it must be pâte à schtroumpf: smurf paste.
Incidentally, while researching links for this post I found a photo-packed comicon blog of uncertain origin (it’s not clear to me if it’s an official con blog or if it was done independently). In any case it has lots of photos (including an odd photo of me and Jessica taken at least a year ago–does anybody recognize where (in the US) we are?) and descriptions of the panel discussions (titled “Mumble, Mumble” this year, to the confusion of much of the Italian audience), exhibits, and award winners. Check it out to get a broader view of the comicon.