CULTURE

Vavel beckons comics lovers

Every September, comics lovers from around Greece come together at the annual Vavel Comics Festival held in the Technopolis complex at Gazi. This year, the festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary, enjoying a reputation for high-quality displays that draw the crowds. The festival will run from September 22 to 26 and will have, apart from the displays of comics art, concerts, street theater performances, animated film screenings and a visual tribute to Vavel magazine’s 25 years of circulation. The focus of the program this year is a tribute to all the Greek comics artists, older and younger, who have shown their support for the festival over its 10 years of existence, giving the audience a chance to revisit their favorite artists. Another renowned Greek artist, Elena Navrozidou, will also present an installation titled «Idolatry.» The result of several years’ work, it is a large-scale construction of two theme rooms, one in the style of the Baroque and the other with a Byzantine feel. The history of comics is the theme of the exhibition that will be on display by the Fondo Enrico Gregotti, which will be bringing to Athens unique material from the eponymous collection that Gregotti bequeathed to the University of Bologna. The exhibition will feature 240 original pages by 79 significant comics artists which comprise an illustrated history of the genre from 1910 to the 1980s. Among the featured works are exceptionally rare originals by pioneering American artists Alex Raymond, Chester Gould, Milton Caniff, Al Capp and Winsor McCay with classic heroes Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, Krazy Kat, Phantom, Tarzan, Rip Kirby, Cocco Bill and Valentina. The festival further includes a separate tribute to Stephan Blanquet. The retrospective on the groundbreaking French artist will highlight the particular style that established him as one of the foremost creators on the alternative comics scene. Other solo shows at the festival are on Copi – an artist who left an indelible mark on the comics scene in the 1970s – and Germany’s Ralf Konig. Last, but not least, 13 visual artists are presenting original works inspired by the Joy Division song «Love Will Tear Us Apart.»