New museum dedicated to the art of comics opens in Italy

The inauguration of PAFF! International Museum of Comic Art
The inauguration of PAFF! International Museum of Comic Art Copyright @Gino Nardo/Gino Nardo
Copyright @Gino Nardo/Gino Nardo
By Katy Dartford
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PAFF! International Museum of Comic Art's new permanent exhibition is the first of its kind in Italy, putting a spotlight on the interaction between comics, cinema, painting, fashion, design and several other fields.


Works by the most famous comic artists of all time, including sketches, scripts and costumes used in films based on comics, have gone on display in a new permanent exhibition in Italy.

PAFF! International Museum of Comic Art has opened its doors at PAFF! (Palazzo Arti Fumetto Friuli) in Pordenone in the northeast of the country to celebrate the history and creative power of comics.

The museum is the only one in the world dedicated to comics which focuses on comparing original pages with reproductions, newspapers, albums and books.

@Gino Nardo/Gino Nardo
PAFF! International Museum of Comic Art@Gino Nardo/Gino Nardo

The interactive, multimedia exhibition features hundreds of works, including set designs and videos from 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.

@Gino Nardo/Gino Nardo
PAFF! International Museum of Comic Art@Gino Nardo/Gino Nardo

Also on display is a statue of the Joker by Adrian Tranquilli and a presentation of proto-comics created by Davide Toffolo. This includes illustrated stories such as those decorating Rome's Trajan Column or drawings in nineteenth-century publications, which came before the birth of the comics industry.

Curator Luca Raffaelli has organised the exhibition around the different formats in which comic art has been read, experienced and loved all around the globe for more than 100 years.

It shows comic art's beginnings in the Sunday pages of colour supplements of American newspapers, through to strips and books. In Italy, newspapers, such as Corriere dei Piccoli, led to the strips of Tex, while in Japan there are Tankōbon, the small books used to publish popular manga.

The exhibition demonstrates the interaction between comics and other disciplines, such as cinema, painting, fashion, design, the avant-garde, theatre and literature, and in fields such as education and entertainment. 

It also presents all the different stages of the publishing process.

PAFF! International Museum of Comic Art is the first of its kind in Italy. Based at PAFF!, a Venetian-style villa dating to 1850, the innovative cultural hubhas been promoting and hosting national and international temporary exhibitions featuring the great masters of comic art from around the globe since 2018.

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