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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » October 14, 2009
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Comic Book Fans Descend on £ód¼
October 14, 2009 By Dariusz Pietrzak   
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The 20th International Comic Book Festival was held at the £ód¼ Culture Center Oct. 2-4. The festival is one of the biggest comics pow-wows in Central and Eastern Europe. Comics buffs, along with those keen to hear the latest news (of which there is a lot at the festival) and meet the doyens of European comics, turn out in droves every year.

Some of the biggest names have taken part in the festival in the past, including Jean Giraud a.k.a. Moebius, Milo Manara, Stan Sakai, and Marvano. Regulars include Grzegorz Rosiński, and Zbigniew "Kas" Kasprzak, the man behind the Yans and Halloween Blues series. The doyens of Polish comics are thick on the ground too, such as Tadeusz Baranowski, Tytus creator Henryk Chmielewski, Bohdan Butenko, Bogus³aw Polch and Janusz Christa.

Among those on hand to talk about comic book art at the meet-the-authors sessions this year were Rosiński, who was promoting an exclusive series of comics known as Skarga utraconych ziem (The Lamentation of Lost Lands), Kasprzak and his wife Graæyna, much better known as comics colorist "Graza," and Marvano. The line for autographs was a long one.

Denis Kitchen flew in from the United States. Kitchen published the comics of the late, great Will Eisner (1917-2005), one of the major contributors to comic book art and whose original sketches are on display at the Central Museum of Textiles in £ód¼. Kitchen spoke passionately about Eisner, an artist who was there at the birth of many American superheroes (including Superman and Batman) and whose last comics were created only three days before his death.

The festival is, however, about exhibitions and there were at least a dozen. Kasprzak's work is on display alongside Eisner's at the Central Museum of Textiles. An exhibition of Poland's leading children's book illustrators and another displaying the results of the annual short-form comics competition (up to eight pages) are all on display at the £ód¼ Culture Center.

The jury awarded the Grand Prix at this year's festival to Grzegorz Janusz (storyline) and Jacek Fr±¶ (illustration) for their Ostra Biel (Sharp Whiteness) comics.
The festival is also a venue for premiering albums and self-respecting comic book publishers showed off new titles from their star authors. Collectors left the three-day festival with their rucksacks bulging with comics from their favorite artists.

The exhibitions at the £ód¼ Culture Center (18 Traugutta St.) and the Central Museum of Textiles (282 Piotrkowska St.) are open until the end of October.
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