Sunday, December 13, 2015

Visiting the Guadalajara International Book Fair

By Matt Dembicki

I visited Mexico Nov. 30 through Dec. 4 thanks to the U.S. State Department, which invited me as a guest of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), the largest book fest in Latin American and second largest in the world, bringing some 750,000 visitors over its two weeks. Usually the first thing I do at book fairs is walk around the expo floor to get a feel for the show and gauge the interest in comics. Not surprisingly, Star Wars, Marvel Comics and manga dominated the comics presence. But I was pleasantly surprised to see some fairly high exposure for indie comics, including Peter Kuper's new graphic novel Ruins. There were several local comics shops and distributors at the show, as well as larger publishers and distributors featuring comics. Below are a few photos of those booths.

The American Library Association, which includes a comics artists alley at its annual show as well a good number of panel talks on comics, also had a booth at FIL. Part of its promotion included posters of Superman and Wonder Woman.

Much of my time in Guadalajara and later in the week Mexico City was spent doing presentations on using comics for certain topics/causes, from the environment and medical/health, to history and even food. I focused mainly on how I use comics to raise awareness about environmental issues. I also did several comics-making workshops, for young kids, college students and professional illustrators. Below are a few photos from those sessions, beginning with events at the kids section of FIL, and later going to local schools and even to the University of Guadalajara, which was also holding an annual cartoonist festival that week. 

Photos by me, U.S. State Department and the University of Guadalajara

1 comment:

Mike Rhode said...

Wow, very cool. Looks like an excellent trip, Matt.