Held annually early in the autumn over the past 12 years, the Vavel International Comics Festival, which rates as one of the capital’s most successful and popular events, will be held well ahead of its customary period this year. Organizers have announced that the festival, now 12 years old, will take place between June 14 and 17 at the Technopolis complex in the downtown Gazi district. The change of date was prompted by the upcoming Athens Biennale, to be held at the same venue in the autumn. Date changes aside, this summer’s comics festival will once again feature a schedule loaded with worthy offerings. They include a tribute to the celebrated French cartoonist Phillipe Drouillet and two in-depth seminars focused on the art behind comic-making and script techniques. These events will be held in collaboration with the Aegean University. As has become customary at the festival, outdoor concerts and theatrical performances have been included on this year’s agenda, on a daily basis. One of France’s best known cartoonists, Drouillet’s work has been widely translated around the world. The tribute to Drouillet, a multifaceted artist and the recipient of the French state’s prestigious Commandeur des Arts et Lettres award, will also include definitive excerpts from his entire body of work, which includes paintings, sculpture, furniture design, digital processing, as well as the artist’s props for major-budget films, such as «Star Wars,» «The Ring» and «The Name of the Rose.» Another highlight on the festival’s agenda will be a retrospective on the Hungarian artist Ferenc Pinter. Born in 1931, the aging artist remains active today. Pinter, who left Hungary following the failed revolution in 1956 and settled in Italy, is world-renowned for his cover-art adorning classic literary works as well as illustrations. «The Neighbors are Laughing,» a satirical project by six Turkish artists, jabs at the neighboring country’s political and social reality of today with both harsh and fun-loving humor. A recent prize-winner in Italy, cartoonist Paolo Cossi, whose work is smartly designed with plots that bring to life Italian tradition, will also feature at the Athens festival. The makers of Bittercomix, a pioneering South African comic, will also be presented at the Athens festival. «Urban Myths,» featuring the work of more than 35 Greek cartoonists, will represent the festival’s core. Also included on the festival’s agenda is a short-film festival with screenings of over 30 award-winning projects. Entrance to the festival will be free.