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Swiss festival illustrates the high art of comic books

Leading and aspiring comic artists from all over the world have converged in the Swiss city of Lucerne for the annual Fumetto Festival. We take a look back at the event’s highlights, as it draws to a close this weekend.

Many of the works showcased this year tackled unsettling or difficult subjects. Visitors were confronted with the fictional stories of monsters and vampires, while other equally gruesome artworks were anchored in real life, such as one of a murder with a beheading by guillotine.

The comic art festival has been running every year for nearly three decades. It draws an international crowd and is seen as one of the most important events in Europe to showcase such art.

The gathering started out in the early 1990s as a small, local event. At the time, it challenged a widespread misconception that comic books were mostly for children. Its success since has proven its founders right.

In its 28th edition, Fumetto has managed to hold on to its artistic independence with no financial ends. It attracts established and world-renowned comic artists, but also brings young talent from all over the world.

Over the course of nine days the festival occupied many of Lucerne’s art and culture venues, blurring the traditional distinction between fine art and comic book artwork. Workshops and lectures given by artists have also become a regular part of the festival.

One highlight this year was the exhibition by the 82-year-old Japanese artist Keiichi Tanaami. Another was a topical focus on India. Artists tackled difficult subjects like the caste system and violations of women’s rights.

This gallery draws together a small selection of the international artists who exhibited their work in 2019.