PAFF! (Palazzo Arti Fumetto Friuli) broadens its horizons, becoming the International Museum of Comic Art.
This innovative cultural hub based in Pordenone organizes, promotes and hosts national and international
temporary exhibitions featuring the great masters of comic art from around the globe. Today, with support from the Ministry of Culture, it will inaugurate a new permanent collection, boasting a multimedia library and, by the end of the year, an archive with climate-controlled storage. In its new form, the Venue will enhance an already impressive offering. With the support of the Regional Authority of Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Municipality of Pordenone, Paff! has been combining culture, training, education, learning, research and entertainment through the communicative format of comics since 2018.
Artistic Direction of Giulio De Vita
Under the artistic direction of its founder, Giulio De Vita, PAFF! International Museum of Comic Art is one of a kind in Italy, with organizations similar in concept and size found only in European capitals such as Paris and Brussels.
The Artistic Director has appointed curator Luca Raffaelli (comic expert and historian) to manage the permanent collection. This utilizes a multimedia, interactive experience, enabling visitors to admire roughly 200 original pages by the most famous comic artists of all time, as well as over 500 sketches, scripts, historic and rare publications, costumes used in films based on comics, set designs and video content from all around the world, collected through purchases, loans and donations.
“Opening of the Museum adds another star to the constellation of exhibitions, educational and trainingGiulio De Vita, Chairman and Artistic Director of PAFF! International Museum of Comic Art
initiatives organized by PAFF!, which in just four years has established itself as a European leader in the
cultural landscape and an internationally relevant museum.”
PAFF! Exhibitions and Its Artists
Located within the 2200 square meters of exhibition spaces at PAFF!, the collection is distributed across one floor of the museum. It is divided into nine different sections and includes original pages by numerous masters and outstanding artists such as Carl Barks, Milton Caniff, Giorgio Cavazzano, Will Eisner, Floyd Gottfredson, Chester Gould, Benito Jacovitti, Magnus, Milo Manara, George McManus, Andrea Pazienza, Hugo Pratt, Alex Raymond, Charles M. Schulz and Art Spiegelman. A sculpture by Ivan Tranquilli will also be on display, while Davide Toffolo has created a board for the museum introducing “proto-comics”, illustrated stories (for example those decorating Trajan’s Column or drawings in nineteenth-century publications), which came before the birth and success of the comics industry.
Raffaelli has provided an original approach to the structure of the museum visit, rooted in the different formats in which comic art, over more than 100 years of history, has been read, experienced and loved all around the globe, based on the cultures, economic conditions and social habits of readers. Thus we encounter first the birth of the Sunday pages in color supplements of American newspapers, and later strips and comic books. Meanwhile, in Italy we find the newspaper format (like that used for Corriere dei Piccoli) and the strips of Tex, which then led to the success of the eponymous format; and in France volumes called albùm, and Japan Tankōbon, small books used to publish popular manga.
“The exhibition and museum as conceived by Giulio De Vita and Paff! is unique and innovative, presentingLuca Raffaelli, curator of the PAFF! permanent collection International Museum of Comic Art
comics as a complete format for communication, yet one capable of interacting with the other arts. There
will be plenty of original works and, as demonstrated by the list of prestigious authors, these are of the
highest level. But visitors will be able to admire them after first viewing their reproductions.”
PAFF! and the Dedication to Comic Art
PAFF! is therefore the only museum in the world dedicated to comics with a primary focus on comparing original pages with reproductions, newspapers, albums and books in which comics live. This emphasizes the surprising formats adopted for the publication of some works, and demonstrates interaction between comics and other disciplines (cinema, painting, fashion, design, the avant-garde, theatre and literature) and fields (education and entertainment). It also clarifies better than ever before the relationship between comics and the communications industry, enabling audiences of different cultures, ages and origins to explore new themes and languages.
The majority of comics are created for a specific publishing context, which dictates the space and time available to tell a story. But events and success can change everything. A good example of this is the Sunday comic Flash Gordon, in a large and eye-catching color version, then reduced to a black-and-white pocket format. Another is L’eternauta, a science-fiction comic first created in horizontal “Argentine format” in the fifties (renowned for having foretold the tragedy of Los Desaparecidos), which became a success in Italy in the vertical Lanciostory format twenty years later.
And then there is Maus by Spiegelman, which began life as a supplement in an underground magazine and a
distribution of just a few thousand copies, before becoming one of the most famous graphic novels globally,
winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1992.
The permanent collection presents original pages in all the different stages of the publishing process, clarifying better than ever before the relationship between comics and the communications industry, thus opening up a new perspective on this art form for audiences of different cultures, ages and origins, also in terms of the relationship with other artistic disciplines and their languages. The multimedia component of the Museum is also particularly rich and skillfully curated, including 56 touch screens, Wi-Fi connection with a dedicated server for interactive monitors, neckbands and latest-generation tablets offering visitors a truly unique interactive experience of comic art.
By the end of 2023, the International Museum of Comic Art will also boast an archive with climate-controlled
storage for original pages, drawings and publications in the Museum’s collection. The archive will be equipped with a precision high-energy-efficiency system to keep the environment at a constant temperature of 18°C, with no greater than 45% relative humidity.