Lucca Comics has been the nerve centre of comics in Italy since its inception and is the oldest part of the exhibition, an ever-expanding event that includes the whole art and business world of Italian comics amongst its exhibitors - publishers, writers, artists, distributors, retailers, collectors and antique dealers. In particular, a great many new publications are introduced during the Fair, proof that Lucca Comics is the real showcase of Italian comics, the one date not to be missed by anyone in the sector.
The programme is packed with events and activities taking place during the exhibition: conferences and discussions in the Meeting Rooms, screenings of animated films, workshops and seminaries, meetings with the public and live performances in the specially equipped Authors' Area; not to mention the endless series of events created almost spontaneously by the enthusiastic, participating audience - from Cosplay, the grand comic-character costume competition (the Italian version was first introduced in Lucca), to themed music shows. Inside the fair pavilions there are also exhibitions of works by great writers and artists or which focus on the most interesting themes in the relationship between comics and communication, a recurring theme of Lucca Comics.
The main setting for exhibitions, however, is the historic centre of Lucca, within splendid settings like San Romano, a magnificent baroque church restored as a concert hall and exhibition space, next door to the new Italian Museum of Comics. As well as exhibitions, there are also top international guests: over the years, the greats of the comics world has come to Lucca, from Will Eisner to Stan Lee, Neil Gaiman to Sidney Jordan, Jean Van Hamme to Juan Gimenez, and countless others from Italy and the four corners of the globe. Finally, the prizes awarded by Lucca Comics, the prestigious Gran Guinigis, set the seal on the best writers and artists and best comic book stories of the year.