Komikilabea is back, with a varied program that combines discussions and entertainment
The program will address issues such as the situation of refugees, gender issues, and the limits of humor through conferences, debates, workshops, and exhibitions.
A Japanese dinner, a stroll through the key locations for the Basque-language comic in San Sebastián, and a party with live music and creation will all provide a fun atmosphere for the event.
Komikilabea will be held for the second time between the 8th and the 13th of November, with a comprehensive program that aims to gauge the pulse of today's comics and graphic novels. Organized by the Department of Culture of the Regional Government of Gipuzkoa, and in cooperation with Tabakalera, Donostia Kultura (Horror and Fantasy Film Festival, Literaktum, Intxaurrondo Culture Center), and Kutxa Kultur, the program will host activities such as presentations, workshops, film screenings, talks, exhibitions, a round-table discussion with a PechaKucha format, and even a culinary activity. The goal is to explore two varieties of the so-called ninth art: the first variety being related to fiction, focusing specifically on the fantasy genre, and the second variety being more in tune with reality and non-fiction, linked to critical thinking and in constant dialog with formats such as the essay and journalism.
Darío Adanti, Mai Egurza, Mauro Entrialgo, Sarah Glidden, Conxita Herrero, Mamen Moreu, Roger Mainwood, and Sara Morante will be some of the authors that will head up an extensive list of activities designed for all kinds of audiences.
A program for discussion and reflection
What is journalism? How are stories conveyed? When do memory and truth get mixed up? Why is reality distorted? These are some of the key issues raised by the American artist Sarah Glidden, considered one of non-fiction's most original voices at the moment, who will present her latest work, Rolling Blackouts (Salamandra Graphic, 2016), at Komikigunea on Friday the 10th at 7:00 PM. The graphic novel tells us about Glidden’s journey, with two reporter friends of hers and an ex-marine, through Turkey, Syria, and Iraq with the aim of discovering stories that illustrate the effects caused by war on the Near East in general, and on refugees in particular.
Another topic to be discussed will be that of the limits of humor. A recurring issue that, every once in a while, sets off new and greater sparks that –far from going dying out and disappearing in an era of political correctness, and considering rise of certain kinds of fanaticism– are spread with, in some cases, unpredictable results. Does humor have limits? If the answer is yes, what are they, who defines them, and why? That will be the topic of the PechaKucha presentation which will be held at Komikigunea on Saturday the 11th at 12:00, with special guests like Darío Adanti, Elizabeth Casillas, Mauro Entrialgo, Mamen Moreu, and Mikel Pagadizabal. Before giving way to a round table discussion that attendees may participate in, each special guest will have approximately 6 minutes and be allowed the support of 20 slides to define their position on different issues like the definition of humor, its evolution, censorship and self-censorship, and the limits imposed on creators as a result of the mere fact that they are women.
Additionally, going in a very different line and serving as a prelude to the Literaktum Festival, writer Jorge Carrión has invited two of the most prestigious literary illustrators of the moment, Sara Morante and Javier Olivares, to reflect on the rich and complex relationship between literature, illustration, and comics in a talk that will take place on Monday, November 13th at 7:30 PM at Komikigune. Likewise, the Intxaurrondo Culture Center proposes a talk about Persepolis, the classic by Marjane Satrapi, with Igor Leturia.
A program for entertainment
The official commencement of Komikilabea will take place on Thursday the 9th at Komikigunea, the place where, at 7:00 PM, the “Euskal Komikia Donostian” tour will start, aiming to prove that San Sebastián is the capital of the Basque-language comic. This will be a stroll through the city that will stop at each of the streets historically associated with the Basque comic (Txistu, Poxpolin, Pan-Pin, Habeko Mik, Ipurbeltz, Xabiroi, etc.) during which the researcher Mikel Begoña will act as master of ceremonies, with the accompaniment of the bertsolari (singer of traditional Basque verse) Unai Gaztelumendi and the artists Ainara Azpiazu “Axpi” and Joseba Larratxe “Josevisky,” who will do a live illustration of their stroll through the designated places. Komikigunea will also be the place where the stroll finishes.
Solitary Gourmet (Astiberri), by the late Jiro Taniguchi (1947-2017); Oishinbo, one of the top selling collections in the history of the Japanese comic; or, more recently, Mibu-El Bulli (edited by Norma) are just a few of the titles that prove the perfect marriage between gastronomy and manga and the enthusiasm that the Japanese have for their cuisine. An enthusiasm that has become a boom amongst us as well. Ramen, udon, sushi, yakisoba, tonkatsu, sashimi, and sake have ceased to be exotic words and have become common "ingredients" – not only in specialized restaurants but also in all kinds of establishments that have added this exciting cuisine to their menus.
Kanpai! Komikilabea aims to make a nod to this culture and pay homage to Jiro Taniguchi in a dinner designed by some of the chefs of the most emblematic Japanese restaurants of San Sebastián and with the cooperation of students from the Basque Culinary Center, which will be held on Friday the 10th at 9:00 PM in the Basque Gastronomy Association (“la Gastronómica"). The menu will be made up of six dishes and be limited to 45 people. Tickets may be purchased at www.komikilabea.com. The price of the dinner will be 25 euros and the tickets will go on sale November 2 at 10:00 AM.
The next day, Saturday the 11th, at 9:00 PM, Kutxa Kultur Kluba will host “GRRRL! Scribble Fest,” a live mixture of music and creation in which the main ingredients will be a mixing table, a table for drawing, poster board, markers, crayons, a DJ, and five illustrators and artists who will project their work live on a large screen. She (Eddie Mae) will set the beat and the rest of the girls (Ainara Azpiazu Axpi, Mai Egurza, Conxita Herrero, and Mamen Moreu) will be in charge of imagining, illustrating, and adding color to the party.
Also this year, film screenings, workshops, discussions, and exhibitions will play a key role within the Komikilabea programming. The 28th Annual Horror and Fantasy Film Festival will get its start just a little before Komikilabea with an animation cinema marathon that will take place October 30 from 5:00 PM onwards, being made up of a selection of short films, as well as the full-length film Mutafukaz, the adaptation for the silver screen of the successful comic book series created by Run (Guillaume Renard), said adaptation being under the direction of the author himself and Shojiro Nishimi. The cinema will also find a home at Tabakalera, as on the 11th at 7:00 PM there will be a screening of the short film Autobahn and the full-length film Ethel and Ernest, both directed by the famous animation director Roger Mainwood (who will present the session and will participate in a talk upon its completion). The movie Ethel and Ernest is based on the graphic novel by Raymond Briggs, winner of numerous awards.
Likewise at Tabakalera, Ubik has organized a series of workshops which will start on Wednesday the 8th at 5:30 PM with a workshop dedicated to the little ones (6-10 years) in which the body will be the tool used to make a comic; the fun will continue on Thursday with a workshop oriented towards character creation, in which schools (12-16 years) will participate, and the activities will conclude on Saturday with an intensive day led by the Catalan artist Conxita Herrero, who will do an introductory workshop on the creation of vignettes (over 18 years).
Lastly, three exhibitions round out the Komikilabea programming. On October 28, and as a further part of the week, the thirteenth “Euskadi Fantastikoa” will be inaugurated with a display based on the comic created by Ernest Sala – a comic which is based, in turn, on the popular novel The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo. Said display will be hosted by the Central Library (Alderdi Eder). The same day, the Activity Hall at the Municipal Library (San Jerónimo Street) will debut Ink of Dracula, an exhibition dedicated to one of the iconic characters of horror literature and cinema that includes the work of sixteen illustrators (Carla Berrocal, Natacha Bustos, Olga de Castro, Sara Bea Delgado, Genie Espinosa, Ana Galvañ, Susanna Martín, Raquel Meyers, Klari Moreno, Mamen Moreu, Mireia Pérez, Miriampersand, Ana Oncina, Ana Belén Rivero, Clara Soriano, and Sandra Uve), coordinated by the filmmaker and comic artist Borja Crespo and produced by Sitges – Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantàstic de Catalunya. Finally, the Intxaurrondo Culture Center will open, on November 9th at 6:00 PM, an exhibition about Gaza Amal: historietas de mujeres valientes en la franja de Gaza (Gaza Amal: Tales of Brave Women on the Gaza Strip), the comic by Susanna Martín, with the attendance of the author accompanied by representatives from UNRWA of the Basque Country.
Komikilabea is part of the legacy of San Sebastián – European Capital of Culture 2016.