Comics Corner

Comics and graphic novels are one of publishing’s fastest growing markets, and BCBF has dedicated a special Comics Corner to this thriving sector: a dedicated exhibition area with showcases and meeting tables available to publishers. In 2024, Comics Corner will welcome more than 50 comic book publishers and country collectives from 20 countries and regions.

The Corner is designed to offer both BCBF Exhibitors – who will be offered special prices – and publishers not exhibiting at the trade show, their own space in this area exclusively dedicated to comic books. BCBF’s spotlight on comics will also include a broad raft of events, one of which is the BolognaRagazzi Comics Award, and there will be  meetings looking at the comic-book publishing internationally. 

Comic books also have a special section on the Global Rights Exchange, BCBF’s digital copyright trading platform.

BolognaRagazzi Awards - Comics:

BCBF’s spotlight on comics will also include a broad raft of events, one of which is the BolognaRagazzi Comics Award, and there will be meetings looking at the comic book publishing internationally.
Among the topics of last year: webtoon, manga, young adult comics and comic magazines for childrens. What’s next?

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BCBF’s commitment to identifying and promoting the development of comics and graphic novels, among the most dynamic and innovative sectors in contemporary publishing, as well as the fastest growing, continues with the Comics Corner, the exhibition area for specialist publishers, produced with the support of ITA-the Italian Trade Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Every year the initiative reveals new insights and perspectives, identified by the Fair and brought to the discussion spaces inside the halls of the BolognaFiere Exhibition Centre at each new edition. This year’s new features include the focus on the most interesting national industries, the success of Italian comics in the USA and comics for the very young.

Insights into national publishing scenarios will range from Slovenia to Canada, via Southeast Asia. Curated by the Hamelin Association, “Great Stories from a Small Country: Slovenian Comics Today” (8 April, Authors Café, 1.30-2.20 pm) provides a focus on Slovenia, 2024 Country Guest of Honour, which for some years has been one of the most original and surprising laboratories of European independent comics. “Independent Comics from Southeast Asia” (10 April, Authors Café, 3.30-4.20 pm) leads an in-depth look at the Asian comics scene – beyond manga and webtoons – with four independent publishers from Singapore and the Philippines discussing original production and the opportunities for the Western market. Finally, “On a Journey through Canadian Comics” (10 April, Authors Café, 11.30am - 12.20pm), curated by Accademia Drosselmeier-Kids Comics, will navigate a voyage through the Canadian comics scene together with Peggy Burns (Publisher Drawn & Quarterly, Canada), Frederic Gauthier (Publisher/Co-Founder La Pastèque, Canada) and Valerie Picard (Publisher and Creative Director Monsieur ED, Canada).

And from regional focuses to cases of successful “exports”: curated by Associazione Hamelin, “The Italian Factor in Comics: Building a Career in the US” (9 April, Authors Café, 1.30-2.00pm. 20) will explore opportunities for young Italian illustrators seeking a career overseas, and how it is possible to end up working for some of the biggest US publications. There will be a focus on the experiences of three young artists who, having started out in Bologna, are now making names for themselves in the US: Bianca Bagnarelli (cartoonist and illustrator, Italy), Matteo Berton (illustrator, Italy), Sarah Mazzetti (cartoonist and illustrator, Italy), and with contributions from Arabelle Liepold (Executive Director, Society of Illustrators, USA) and Maria Russo.

The programme continues with a focus on the role of women in the comics industry, with “Melancholic, Sarcastic, Brilliant and Tenderly Cruel...Female Protagonists in Comics Dominate the Scene” (10 April, Authors Café, 10.30-11.20 am), curated by Accademia Drosselmeier-Kids Comics and featuring Giulia Rizzo (Vice-editor in chief, Terre di Mezzo, Italy), Caterina Ramonda (translator, Becco Giallo, Italy), Della Passarelli (Editor in chief, Sinnos, Italy) and Grazia Gotti (Accademia Drosselmeier-Kids Comics, Italy).

Finally, there will be an overview of the publishing industry and the new opportunities in the sector, with a special focus on the latest innovations represented by comics for very young children. “Absolute beginners. Comics conquer young readers” (10 April, Authors Café, 1.30-2.20pm), organised by Comicon, Alir and Accademia Drosselmeier, will see Matteo Stefanelli (Creative Director of Comicon and Director of Fumettologica, Italy) and Imma Napodano (Founder of Bibi Libreria dei Ragazzi in Naples and part of the Kids Comics working group of Alir, Italy) present the new trend in world publishing represented by Comics for beginner readers, chaired by Grazia Gotti. Even as the sector is experiencing significant growth, it is still essential to support the careers of authors whose work can stand the test of time and outlive passing trends in publishing. With this in mind, “First Times: Scouting in Contemporary Comics” (9 April, Authors Café, 3.30-4.20 pm) will see three publishing houses discuss their scouting policies. Lastly, curated by Associazione Hamelin in collaboration with Sarbacane, “How to Make Comics for Young Adults” (10 April, Authors Café, 9.30-10.20am) will explore how to choose and publish graphic novels capable of speaking directly to teenagers and how to attract young readers. Max de Radiguès (Cartoonist and editorial director Sarbacane, France), Isabel Minhós Martins (Writer and co-founder Planeta Tangerina, Portugal) and Simona Binni (Cartoonist and editorial director Tunué, Italy) will discuss the topic. 

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