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What makes hundreds of thousands of people to meet in the city of Lucca every year to celebrate the passion for gaming, comics, manga, animation cinema, TV series, fantasy fiction? Probably the fact that "happiness is only real when shared", as stated by the main character of the film “Into the Wild”, paraphrasing Tolstoy.

In a world where technology pushes us more and more to self-worship and detachment from others, the value of sharing experiences finds a powerful and vital form of expression in pop culture. This is why Lucca Comics & Games, aware of this need for connection, has chosen TOGETHER as the main theme for the 2023 edition.

This is an invitation to rediscover the value of community and the sharing of one’s passions, in an adventurous journey that is not different from the one accomplished by our favourite comics, TV series and board games characters. Moreover, in contemporary narratives, the sense of community is the core that gives life to extraordinary works. Every comics work is often the result of the combined talent of authors, cartoonists, screenwriters, letterers and colourists, who work together to create a story that will have our hearts. And what about cinema or video games, collective arts in which directors, game designers, actors, concept artists and many other professionals dance as one to create new magic on our screens? Aristotle had already understood that Man is a social animal. Not only Sean Penn or Tolstoy, but also Ash Ketchum told us that fun, happiness and passion are better when shared. In the fourth film of Pokémon, he boldly states: “I am known as a fun lover…but to share it! So, the pleasure doubles, indeed triples!”

In a world defined by the way in which the vertical gaze of a selfie forces us to look obsessively in a mirror where there is no place for others, Lucca Comics & Gamesis proposed as a vision of necessary and regenerating community. Especially, a “community of communities”, an oasis where fans from all around the world come together to share their different passions in an inclusive and welcoming environment. A chance to break the barriers of virtual isolation and take our social potential back.

We asked to represent this idea of “Together” to two talented twin brothers: the cartoonist Asaf Hanuka and the illustrator Tomer Hanuka. Their image captures the essence of the theme in a unique and suggestive way; the characters portrayed represent the multiple tribes that animate the vast festival community. The making of this work and both their individual and in pairs works, will be shown in a double exhibition at Palazzo Ducale.

“Together”, with the aim of arriving at a personal destination (to get there), to reunite (to gather), maintaining at the same time your own personal way of being. In this sense, the image becomes an ode to the multiple ways of sharing passions and happiness, while celebrating diversity as a source of wealth for the community. Because, as Albus Silente says: “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

We are excited to welcome you to Lucca Comics & Games 2023, where we will all be together with our differences, to create unforgettable memories. Get ready for an experience that connects generations, cultures and passions, because only together we can make the unexpected possible.

The authors of the poster and the interpretation of the theme

Tomer and Asaf Hanuka, a tribe of two. Any screenwriter knows that a superhero is nothing without an adequate “origin story”. It takes the random bite of an improbable radioactive spider to give birth to Spider-Man, the death of his parents to create Batman and the end of an entire planet for Superman. And often, great powers are not just followed by great responsibilities, but also by invincible vulnerabilities: Daredevil’s blindness, Tony Stark’s sick heart or Clark Kent’s dorky appearance.

In Tomer and Asaf Hanuka’s “origin story”, there is a country rich in beauty and history, but affected by tensions and wars: Israel. The twin brothers grow up, using their own words, as a “tribe of two people” and discover their superpower thanks to a random encounter with a handful of comics famous characters. Radioactive spiders are not needed: Marvel comics pages, Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga concepts and Jean “Moebius” Giraud’s ineffable clear line is enough to push them towards comics and illustration. They do it with personal stories and different times; Asaf working in his country of origin and publishing for the European market and Tomer seeking his fortune in the United States and finding it also thanks to the covers realised for the New Yorker, the ideal goal for every illustrator.

 During the years, each of them follows his own different path, but the twins do not lose their constant touch, collaborating in comics (The Divine, on texts by Boaz Lavie), in concept art for animation (AWaltz with Bashir, by Ari Folman) and in personal artistic projects (The Moodies). Their superpower is drawing and their style is the consequence of thousands of influences from the present, based on the apparent simplicity of the Franco-Belgian clear line combined with the digital sensitivity that mixes video game art, anime and references to the avant-garde movements of the 20th century. Both of them are very prolific and eclectic, able to switch seamlessly from the imaginary worlds of popular entertainment to the tense representation of reality. 

Maybe because, using Asaf’s words, they were “born in a country at war” and both of them agree that the colourful and pop style fits well with a hidden feel of tensions and neurosis. Asaf bases his entire comic book The Realist on the dreamlike and powerful representation of his own discomforts, creating a style that will allow him to tell the absurdities of Roberto Saviano’s life in I’m still alive, a project that will soon become an animated film, co-produced by MAD Entertainment and Lucky Red. Tomer develops a style in which the acid chromatisms and the characters, who avoid rigorously looking at the camera, are mixed with the reckless love for classic films. He accumulates a lot of prizes thanks to his Marquis de Sade’s covers for Penguin, his posters dedicated to Stanley Kubrick and the previously mentioned covers for the New Yorker. He creates compositions always at the limit of legibility, mixing virtuosity with reticence, thanks to a very recognizable and personal palette. Being that personal, it is an easy prey for neural networks, which aspire to emulate his distinguishing feature.

And of course, without any result: because Tomer’s art, just like Asaf’s, is permeated by a painful humanity, a tension between opposite desires that make us capable of sharing our emotions with others. A perfect example is the image that they have realised for the Lucca Comics & Games 2023 poster. Regarding the theme “Together” and the easy risk to realise an apparent ode of the Roman expression “volemose bene” (let’s love each other), they have decided to propose a composition that has the symbolic richness of a tarot card. An Asian dragon, who appears as a light line from the sky, moves towards the towers of Lucca, enveloped in luxuriant plants and decorated for a festive occasion, and its body creates the infinity symbol to represent the vastness of stories and passions shared by travellers. It represents the art of drawing, the common passion that connects all festival visitors, represented as a group of heterogeneous characters. Tomer says: “There are so many ways of being together.Sometimes you can even be together with others by being apart, alone with yourself". On the edge between the figurative representation and the abstract shades, between the simplicity of the reality and the complexity of the thought, Asaf and Tomer’s work represents as best as it can the ability to tell the complexity of the Reality, reached by illustration and comics. These are Arts that just a couple of years ago were considered “minor” but, thanks to their ability to communicate and engage the community, they have found an extraordinary way to become a means to understand the world we live in, to orient our life and to guide, each of us in our own video game, towards a destination that exists only if we all think about it together.

Making of...

Asaf Hanuka

Author of the Poster together with his brother Tomer.

Comics writer and cartoonist, his autobiographical strip “The Realist” has been translated into more than 14 languages and has won many international awards, such as the prestigious Eisner Awards (USA) and the Gran Guinigi in 2015 (Lucca, Italy).

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Tomer Hanuka

Author of the Poster together with his brother Asaf.

Among the best-selling artists of the New York Times, he is a multi-award-winning illustrator. He worked on the Oscar-nominated animated documentary “Waltz with Bashir” and he illustrated covers for the New Yorker and National Geographic.

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Lucca Comics & Games flag values

One flag for the five colours that represent the spirit of the festival.

Red - Community: it has always been the Japan area colour and it also includes all the activities related to the Community spirit, like Music and Cosplay.

Yellow ochre - Discovery: the Games colour. It has represented the endless discoveries about playfulness or about ourselves, that games and video games offer.

Light blue - Inclusion: it has always been the Comics colour. Among our disciplines, comic is the one that includes two languages: graphic sign and written language.

Light green - Gratitude: the area Junior colour. This is the most important value that we want to pass on to the new generation of passion seekers: youngsters.

Dark green - Respect: it is the back colour of the Flag, of the city under the tower, the colour upon which the other four rest, the value upon which everything rests.

Graphic design and font

A new font for the 2023 symbol image.

In the Hanuka brothers poster, it appears a multicoloured striped banner, that for this event has become the symbol of its heterogeneous community. It is the banner of values of Lucca, the “Values flag”. However, more than to the struggles for inclusiveness (in this case also of different passions and media), it refers to the digital vintage graphic and its classic multicoloured striped brands that represented the chromatic power of the first personal computers and video game system. Atari and Activision, VHS tapes and first personal computers like Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64, but also the first version of the brand Apple; the rainbow multicoloured strip is the nostalgic symbol of the pioneering period of digital and pop culture that marked a generation.

This is the reason why in the festival communication, this multicoloured strip has become a real flag of Lucca Comics & Games, where each coloured strip represents one of the reference universes and one of the values of its community. Starting with the ideas of the claim and the artwork of Hanuka brothers, we wanted to introduce a vision of Lucca as “nerd pride” to fans. This vision, through self-mockery and sentimentality, wants to underline the emotional connection that links us to the great stories of storytelling in images of the recent past.

The graphic design, realised by the festival director of art Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini, goes with a digital font realised ad hoc together with Francesco Canovaro from the digital foundry Zetafonts.

It is called Unigeo, and in its different versions it embodies the vintage spirit of the first Atari video games on cartridge graphics, with a wink to the Mexico 68 logo optical shapes.

We believe in #Community #Inclusion #Respect #Discovery #Gratitude