The Salone Internazionale dei Comics (which translates to the ‘International Exhibition of Comics’) was first held in Bordighera, Italy. The exhibition was held from the 21st of February, thru till the 2nd of March, 1965 and is considered to be the oldest comic festival in Europe. The first 2 days of the exhibition was reserved to scheduled creator events, with the remainder of the event open to the public, with comics and art on show.
The International Exhibition of Comics was founded by Romano Calisi, a professor at the University of Rome, with the assistance of Claudio Bertieri (an Italian film, advertising and comic critic), who then involved other enthusiasts including Umberto Eco (an Italian Semiologist, Philosopher, Writer, Translator, Academic, Bibliophile and Medievalist).
It received support from a variety of organizations at the time, including the ‘Pedagogical Institute of the University of Rome’, the ‘Center for Sociology of Mass Communications’ and the ‘Italian Comic Press Archive’.
The International Exhibition of Comics moved to Lucca, Italy the following year in 1966, where it remained thru till 1992, and then moved to Rome, Italy from 1995 thru till 2005. In 2006, the event returned to Lucca under the title of Lucca Comics and Games where it continues to be an annual event to this day.
Several American, French and Italian comic industry creators attended the event in 1965, including Al Capp (Li’l Abner and Fearless Fosdick), René Goscinny (Lucky Luke, Astérix, Iznogoud), Jean-Claude Forest (Barbarella) and Alfred Andriola (Kerry Drake).
Lee Falk also attended the first International Exhibition of Comics in Bordighera, Italy, which made both local and international press.
Time Magazine featured an article on the event, dated the 5th of March, 1965. The front and back of this edition can be seen below.
The article found within this edition is titled, ‘The Modern Mona Lisa’, on page 41. The article features an image of Lee Falk at the exhibition, alongside French Film Director, Alain Resnais.
Life International Magazine
Life International Magazine featured the International Exhibition of Comics on the 14th of June, 1965, with an illustration by Al Capp published on the cover.
The article found within this edition is titled, ‘My Life As An Immortal Myth’.
The Phantom Comic #15
Phantom comic edition number 15, published by Gold Key in USA in 1965 makes mention of the International Exhibition of Comics.
The International Exhibition of Comics founder, Romano Calisi is seen below pictured with Lee Falk, with Mandrake the Magician seen in the background.