The last Łódź Comics Festival I attended was in 2012 when I met Dave McKean and interviewed him. In 5 years the festival really outgrow itself and was also moved from the culture house to the big Atlas Arena on the edge of the city. Although we could say it didn’t just grow in size but in terms of the quantity of the guests as well. They even brew their own beer specifically for the convention which this year was a pineapple milkshake pale ale and it was really good. They even installed street food trucks in between the two festival buildings which was a really nice touch and another idea completely absent in 2012.
Once you expand to a bigger place and to a bigger audience you need bigger guests. You could say it doesn’t really get bigger than Dave McKean or Moebius a few years before that in 2008 but as an organizer you need to think outside the box. So this year they simply invited Jim Lee as co-publisher of DC Comics and everybody went crazy. Unfortunately there was a mishap in my interview process with Jim Lee and I got left out but I will definitely try it again at PragueCon if they let me. Jim was really kind to his fans even though he was mainly invited as a publisher promoting DC Comics and their new lines of books. He even did big sketches on paper which he then gave away to fans using a special lottery system with the wristbands’ serial numbers.
Another amazing guest was French artist Achdé who is the current regular artist on Lucky Luke and we had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing him at VIECC Vienna Comic Con in 2016. He is always a pleasure to chat with and as we have fairly common ground on photography it is always an entertaining one as well. After Jim Lee and festival regular Polish artist Grzegorz Rosiński he had the biggest lines of fans who wanted to meet him and maybe even get a nice sketch in their collections.
Howard Chaykin, American writer-artist was another one of the popular guests. His work on superhero comics but especially on Black Kiss and his newest series promoted at the show The Divided States of Hysteria is another example of his uncensored fictional reality.
The festival’s poster and whole design was based on Ulises Fariñas’s art made specifically for the show and it was a real beauty. Ulises made fame with art on Judge Dredd: Mega City Two and later with his co-written Judge Dredd series and Blessed Earth. He also drew Star Wars: Where’s the Wookie? Vol. 1 & 2 in their entirety. I personally was really excited to meet him as I consider him one of the best up-and-coming writer-artist nowadays. Needless to say he did not disappoint, he’s totally crazy, in a healthy way of course. The autograph and sketch obtaining process with the ticketing system is always a bit of sheer luck and determination, especially with Jim Lee but I think the organizers found an almost perfect way of managing queues and the interested fans.
Exceptionally meticulous artist David Roach from the UK along with Bartosz Nowicki organized a beautiful exhibition of original art, the Great British Comic Art exhibition we teased back then which was unbelievable. The venue and the whole atmosphere was very impressive as well and you could smell the love on the art selection as well. We had the pleasure of taking a kind of private tour with David and Bartosz and took lots of photos and even videos we’ll share where David talks about almost every piece of art on the walls.
Please take a look at some other photos we took at the festival here:
And here we present photos from the exhibition with David Roach appearing in some of them: