12th Kraków Comic Book Festival
Friday, March 24, 2023 - Sunday, March 26, 2023
At the last weekend of March, we gather once again at the Kraków Comic Book Festival celebrating the writers, artists and readers of the genre. It’s the 12th edition of the event.
This is the largest event in southern Poland aimed at all lovers of picture stories - small, large, those who read and those still just watching pictures. The program includes meetings with artists from the country and the world. Such artists will come, such as: Zanzim, Paul Gravett, Ruslana Koropetska, Vira Kordoba, Ludmiła Samuś, Unka Odya, Katarzyna Witerscheim, Marcin Surma, Piotr Nowacki, Rafał Skarżycki or Jarosław Wojtasiński. There will be panel discussions with artists on topics such as: the situation of comics in Ukraine, Polish autobiographical comics, cult series from the People's Republic of Poland, how to publish independent comics and how to create webcomics.
Lectures are always very popular among participants; this year's festival program will also be full of interesting presentations, including a lecture by Pawel Dybala on the work of a manga translator, Julian Jelinski, who runs the popular Youtube channel Brody from Space, on the history of Supergirl and the latest DC cinematic universe, Rafal Olejko will talk about how to start the adventure of professional figure photography, and a reviewer, translator and youtuber publishing under the pseudonym Sztywny Patyk will explain how comic books are changing the style of film. Attendees will also be treated to a series of comic book workshops and a cosplay workshop.
Growing numbers of women are breaking into the Polish comics market, achieving successes at home and abroad. Maria Rostocka’s comic strip The End of July received a nomination and Marzena Sowa’s graphic novel The Little Escape was awarded a prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Published this February, the powerful anthology Abortion Herstories is sure to win some of the greatest European accolades. The contributors Anna Karolina Kaczmarczyk, Katarzyna Niemczyk, Aleksandra Herzyk (winner of Kraków Book of the Month in March 2023!) and Unka Odya publish short- and longform pieces online and in legacy media, reaching audiences including readers who don’t usually read comics. The festival includes the launch of Katarzyna Falauke’s autobiographical album – a culmination of a residential exchange programme between UNESCO Cities of Literature Kraków and Angoulême. We will also see a retrospective exhibition of works by Anna Krztoń, summarising the last ten years of her career, and an outdoor presentation of Katarzyna Witerscheim’s cycle Queer Folk.
Ruslana Koropetska, editor-in-chief of “Ukrainian Assembly Comix” published in L’viv, has been living in Kraków since October 2022. Kraków is also regularly visited by Bohdan Kordoba, founder of “UA Comix”, and Vira Kordoba – comic artist and designer of posters for L’viv UNESCO City of Literature. In January, the Ukrainian artists attended the 50th Angoulême International Comics Festival, stopping off in Kraków on the way. Extensive collaboration between these circles results with new projects, such as a joint presentation at last year’s International Book Fair in Kraków and the upcoming exhibition of comics by Ukrainian women at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, curated by Artur Wabik from the Comic Book Museum Foundation.
The comic book market in Ukraine has suffered a collapse, encouraging authors and publishers to seek new readers in Poland. “We are interested in selling rights to translations of our comics, and introducing publications in Ukrainian to the Polish market,” says Koropetska. The Egmont Polska publishing house has adopted a similar strategy, having published a bilingual edition of the popular Ukrainian comic book Victory. It’s clear that the large Ukrainian diaspora in Poland is becoming an increasingly attractive audience, which is in turn recognised by growing numbers of publishers. The festival also presents a launch of the Polish edition of the graphic novel Voroshilovgrad adapted by Artur Wabik and Marcin Surma from a novel by Serhiy Zhadan. The title was originally published in Ukraine in 2012, and it has finally been translated into Polish.
Following meetings with Ukrainian authors, the event also welcomes guests from the UK and France. The British scholar and co-founder of the Comica London Festival Paul Gravett talks about his latest book on the life and work of Tove Jansson. Zanzim, author of illustrations for Women of the Island and the bestselling and multi-award winning Men’s Skin (Kultura Gniewu), will be signing his albums. There will also be creative workshops, comic-themed guided tours, cosplays and an auction featuring festival premieres. During the festival, a literary bench dedicated to the pioneer of Polish picture narration Artur Bartels will be unveiled on Planty Park. We will also learn the names of this year’s residents of Kraków and Angoulême UNESCO Cities of Literature.
The festival will also feature the opening of four exhibitions, including an exhibition marking the 20th anniversary of the comic strip "Tymek and the Master" by Tomasz Leśniak and Rafał Skarżycki, and a retrospective exhibition summarizing Anna Krztoń's 10 years of creative work. Comic book walks and an exchange full of drawing albums, notebooks, posters, postcards and gadgets await the participants! The festival will also be visited by cosplayers - everyone is encouraged to participate in their own costume, and the culmination of the costumed attractions will be a cosplay show. There will be something for everyone: superheroes, manga, webtoons, zines, figurines, costumes.
The event is organized by the Krakow Comic Book Association and the Krakow Festival Office. The event is being held as part of the Krakow Women's Month organized by the Office of the City of Krakow. Partners of the event are: Museum of Comics, Bunkier Sztuki, French Institute in Krakow and Southern Conventions. All festival activities are free of charge, admission is free.
A detailed festival program is available at this link
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