Spotlight on Lee Falk - Participation in the comic conventions

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A comic (book) convention or "comic con" is an event held for focusing on comic culture. At the event fans can meet creators, experts.

It can be considered that the first of such events took place in 1965 (February 21 to March 2 / officially named "International Exhibition of Comics") in the Italian city of Bordighera, near the French frontier. From 1966, it was annually held Lucca, Tuscany Province and known as the "Lucca Exhibition".

In the U.S.A., the more important comic convention is now the "San Diego Comic-Con International", California, which was founded in 1970.

Lee Falk has participated to the following events (see too the following page: Spotlight on Lee Falk - Timeline):

  • 1. 1965 (February/March): the first “International Exhibition of Comics” in Bordighera, Italy (February 21 and 22)
  • 2. 1968 (July 4-7): "International Convention of Comic Book Art" in New-York
  • 3. 1970 (November 25): presence at the "Congresso Internacional de Histórias em Quadrinhos" in Sào Paulo, Brazil.
  • 4. 1971 (October/November): "7th Lucca Comics Conference" (wins “The Yellow Kid Award”)
  • 5. 1984 (October/November): "16th Lucca Comics Conference" (receives “The Yellow Kid Award”)
  • 6. 1989 (June/July): wins the “Inkpot Award” at the "San Diego International Comic Conference".
  • 7. 1990 (May 19): invited to the "Barcelona International Comic Fair".
  • 8. 1994 (May): invited to the "Kansas City ComicCon".

1965 : “International Exhibition of Comics” in Bordighera (Italy)

The event ("1° Salone Internazionale dei Comics") was the first international exhibition devoted to comics, animation and illustration. It was founded by Romano Calisi, with Umberto Eco and Claudio Bertieri and was organized by the "Pedagogical Institute of the University of Rome" with the help of the "Center for Sociology of Mass Communications" and the "Italian Comic Press Archive".

The exhibition took place in Bordighera (in the Ligurian Province of Imperia) from February 21 to March 2, 1965; the first two days (February 21 and 22, 1965 were consacred to conferences and the following days to general visitors, a part of them being nostalgics of the pre-war "golden age of comics". The event, revealing a big public interest for the comics, was such a sucess that it was immortalized on the cover of the American news magazine "Life" by an Al Capp's cartoon.

Among various comics creators, writers and artists like Lee Falk, Al Capp ("Li'l Abner", "Fearless Fosdick") René Goscinny ("Lucky Luke", "Astérix", "Iznogoud"), Jean-Claude Forest ("Barbarella"), Alfred Andriola ("Kerry Drake") were invited. The composition of the steering committee was as following: Rino Albertarelli (president), Romano Calisi (director), Francis Lacassin and Alan Resnais (vice presidents), Claudio Bertieri, Vittorina Bortoli Calisi, Lanfranco Colombo, Luigi Crocenzi, Luigi di Gianni, Pino Donizetti, Umberto Eco, Luis Gasca, Jacques Lob, Roberto Radicati, Pierre Strinati, Nicole Tercinet.

From the following year, the exhibition left Bordighera and moved to Lucca for becoming the "international Lucca Comics exhibition".


1968 : "International Convention of Comic Book Art" in New-York

The first edition of "International Convention of Comic Book Art" was held on July 4 to 7, 1968: Statler Hilton Hotel, 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue, New-York, and was co-produced with SCARP, the short-lived "Society for Comic Art Research and Preservation, Inc". (nb: The hotel was acquired by the "Hotels Statler Company" in 1948 and renamed the "New York Statler Hotel", operated as "The Statler Hilton", then as the "New York Penta", until it reverted to the "Hotel Pennsylvania". It was the fourth largest hotel with 1.704 rooms. In April 2021, plans were announced to demolish the hotel to make way for a future new skyscraper).

Guests of honor at that first 1968 convention were Stan Lee and Burne Hogarth. Lee Falk was was one of the key figures invited to talk about comics. In the following years, the convention held annually New York City, New York, over Independence Day weekend from 1968 through 1983, except for 1977, when it was held in Philadelphia, and 1978 to 1979, as editions of the convention were held in both New York and Philadelphia.


1970 : "Congresso Internacional de Histórias em Quadrinhos", Sào Paulo (Brazil)

"Congresso Internacional de Histórias em Quadrinhos" ("International Congress of Comics") took place at the "São Paulo Museum of Art" (MASP) in November and December 1970 with two distinct parts, 1°: one comics exhibition devoted to international as well as national artists and creators, "Exosição Internacional de Histórias em Quadrinhos" from November 23 to December 15, 1970 and 2°: some debate meetings, "Congresso Internacional de Histórias em Quadrinhos" from November 23 to 26, 1970. These events were organized by the "Panamerican School of Arts", in conjunction with the "São Paulo City Hall".

Lee Falk was present as a guest for a conference-debate followed by a round-table on November 25, 1970 (2 pm and 4 pm).

Amongst other guests to the Congress were Burne Hogarth ("Tarzan"), Jean Claude Forrest ("Barbarella"), Robert Gigi ("Scarlett Dream") and Alberto Breccia ("Mort Cinder"). Comics specialists such as Rinaldo Traini (Italy), Claude Moliterni (France), David Pascal (Usa) also held round tables.


1971 : "Lucca Comics Conference"

The "7th International Exhibition of Comics" ("Salone Internazional dei comics") was held in Lucca from October 29 to November 15, 1971 for the comics exhibitions with a section devoted to meetings for with authors and publishers from October 29 to November 1, 1971. The main organizers were Rinaldo Traini (Italy), Pierre Couperie and Claude Moliterni (France).

The meetings (conference debates with authors and called "tavola rotonda" = round tables) had Emilio Freixas (famous Spanish comics artist), Lee Falk and Tarzan's artist Burne Hogarth as participants.

Several awards were voted in homage to the comics classics; Lee Falk received the "Yellow-Kid Award" dedicated to the best foreign author. The "Yellow-Kid Award" ("Premio Yellow-Kid" in Italian) is one of the earliest comic book distinctions in the world. It has been annualy given, from 1970 to 1992 at the Lucca "Salone Internazionale dei Comics", then from 1994 to 2005 at the "Cartoon Convention di Roma" for rewarding comics creators. The name of the award refers to the "Yellow Kid", a famous comic strip character created by American Richard F. Outcault at the end of the 19th century.


1984 : "Lucca Comics Conference"

The 16th "Salone Internazionale dei Comics, del cinema e dell'illustrazione" was held in Lucca from October 28 to November 4, 1984;

During this 1984 comics fair, Lee Falk received his second "Yellow-Kid Award" (first in 1971, see above) for "a life devoted to comics".

== Note: 4 color images of Lee Falk at the 1984 fair can be found in the "Marcello Mencarini Archives" site / web adress: [1] (from inner search page).


1989 : "San Diego ComicCon"

An Inkpot Award, recognizing his contribution to the comics domain, has been given to Lee Falk during the "20th Annual San Diego Comic-Con" - attendance of the whole Comic-Con events of 11.000 people... - held from August 3 to 6, 1989.

  • About "San Diego Comic-Con", see Wikipedia [2]
  • For complete lst of "Inkpot Award" recipients, see [3].


1989 : "VI Salón Internacional del Cómic / Ciudad de Oviedo"

The 6th."Salón Internacional del Cómic "Ciudad de Oviedo" ("International Comic Fair of the City of Oviedo" / Oviedo being the capital city of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain) - held from November 20 to December 30, 1989 - was a comics event organized by the Municipal Culture Foundation of the Oviedo City Council. At this Salon, one of the guest of honor was Lee Falk and he participated to conferences and round tables organized for the event. He was one of the winners of a "Haxtur Award" which attempt to recognize the best works in comics field.

To note that during the 1986 edition (3rd Salon) one exhibition was also held for the 50 Years of The Phantom, other classic work of Lee Falk.


1990 : "Barcelona International Comic Fair"

The "8th Barcelona International Comic Fair" ("8è Salón Internacional del Còmic de Barcelona"), also named "Salón Internacional del Cómic del Principado de Asturias" ("International Comic Fair of the Principality of Asturias") was held in Barcelona from May 17 to 20, 1990 with a speech of Lee Falk on Saturday 19 in the presence of other invited authors (Joe Kubert, Will Eisner).


1994 : "Kansas City ComicCon"

The "Kansas City Comicon" was held in November 1994 in the "Jack Reardon Civic Center" in Kansas City, KS. Lee Falk was the "Guest of Honor" at the Comic Con Banquet. A video of his speech can be found on "YouTube", see: [4] (video from "The Phantom" "YouTube" site: [5].