Breaking into the industry

Lucca comicon and the power of many

Lucca Comics And Games is the greatest comic convention in Italy, with worldwide resonance and international special guests. Every year, workers of the comic industry fight to get exposure at this event, which occupies the whole city of Lucca!

Streets of Lucca during the comicon. Photo by Luccalive.com

Streets of Lucca during the comicon. Photo by Luccalive.com

In 2013 I didn’t plan to exhibit there, due to table costs and logistic issues. However, I planned to visit the comicon to greet old and new friends, editors and artists. So, not much expectations from this edition for me… until the power of many came in and wonderful things happened.

The power of many

Michele Zamboni from Comics Fu, a new portal for digital comics, emailed me a few days before Lucca comicon: the demo for my comic series Niki Batsprite was ready, what about celebrating it at the comicon?

I called my friends at Folletto del Mare / Move The Game. They distribute and resell board games, but love Niki Batsprite and sell my printed comics, too.
With support from both Comics Fu and Move The Game, in a few days I planned a new roll-up banner, flyers and marketed my sudden presence at the Lucca comicon.

Meanwhile, Massimo Bonfatti -a famous comic artist and very kind person- emailed me with contacts of a colleague and journalist at RadioAnimati, so I could arrange an interview.

These persons joining forces created a wave of surprising events I could never expect!
I still was without a booth or table whatsoever, but this lack led to amazing positive things.

The performance area

The performance area in Lucca comicon is a place where artists can paint publicly, enchanting visitors who pass by. On the last day, paintings are auctioned for charity.

Since I had no personal table, the Infopoint staff (Michele was one of them) and the Performance Area staff invited me to perform among with long established and famous artists.

The Performance Area in Lucca Comics Ang Games 2013. Photo by LoSchermo.it

The Performance Area in Lucca Comics And Games 2013. From left: Massimo Montigiani, Paolo Barbieri, Francesca Urbinati (me).

All artists were surprisingly nice and friendly to me, even big names like Marco Soresina and Maurizio Manzieri. I met again Stefano Moreno after 2 years and we had a good time drawing side by side.

I left aside my furry characters from Niki Batsprite to concentrate on more fantasy/general themes.


Some “work-in-progress” pictures:

Help your fate

About the radio interview with RadioANIMATI, we had to posticipate it for a whole day.
I was thinking that, well, things can’t go all smooth when you’re already getting much more than you expected, right?

The last day of Lucca comicon, Benedetto from RadioANIMATI showed up and told me he had an interview with Stephen Silver first. I agreed to tag along… after all, I was to meet the creator of Kim Possible and other amazing characters!
After his interview, I approached Stephen and asked him if I could meet him later at the NEMO Academy booth: I wished to show him my stuff and ask for suggestions and advices.
Talking with him was positive and relieving: he liked my comic and illustrations and confirmed that persistance is the way to go. Also, talking with Francesco Mariotti of NEMO Academy provided useful insights about improving further.

Finally, Benedetto managed to interview me… live! It turned out an awesome talking about how I created my comic, the spirit behind it and the importance to put all your efforts to succeed even if you’re not perfect.

After this, my business were over and I could roam around the comicon… but I decided to come back at the Infopoint in case a friend or reader shows up to greet me.
I was just back when the charity auction started and I was called on stage. As an author, I prefer to stay behind the scenes and I would never expect such attention on me!

Later, friends Davide Cencini and Rita Mira from Darkwing stopped by the Infopoint and we had a nice talk about future projects and comicon presence.

Conclusion

As I wrote above, I didn’t plan “to be there” at Lucca comicon. But many friends and persons around me made my presence way bigger than I could ever imagine!
This wonderful experience taught me two important lessons:

  1. You can -and must- show off yourself and all your skills, not only your finished comics or illustrations. It’s hard for shy artists to market themselves, but it’s definitely worth it.
  2. Joining forces with others can lead to much more miracles you can ever imagine.
The Folletto del Mare / Move The Game crew.

The Folletto del Mare / Move The Game crew.

Very special thanks to:
Michele Zamboni and Comics Fu; Andrea Ubertini, Francesca Titanya Bellatreccia and the Folletto del Mare / Move The Game crew; Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini; Cristina; Andrea; Costanza; Stefano Moroni; Marco Soresina; Maurizio Manzieri; Laura and Brian; Francesco Mariotti (NEMO Academy); Stephen Silver; Benedetto Gemma and RadioANIMATI; Massimo Bonfatti; Luca A. Volpino (Wild Boar Edizioni), Rita Mira and Davide Cencini (Darkwing) and all friends and visitors who gifted me a smile.