The European Comics Festival opened Friday in Bucharest with a spotlight on the medium's revival in Eastern Europe after decades in the wilderness under communism.
"In every totalitarian regime, comic strips were reserved to children, and only a handful of 'authorised' novels were adapted for adults," said Jean Auquier, director of the Belgian Comic Strip Centre, in Bucharest for the festival.
"But since the fall of the communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe, the long tradition that had existed before for the comic strip is being revived," Auquier told AFP.
Fifteen Eastern European artists are featured at the festival alongside Belgian, Portuguese, Greek and French exhibitors in a trendy industrial building transformed into a contemporary art space in downtown Bucharest.
Among them are Masa Borckovcova, Marketa Hajska and Vojtech Masek of the Czech Republic, who produced a unique trilogy on the life and culture of the Roma minority in their country, folding anthropology and social work into the comic strip medium.
Romanian artists such as Mircea Pop, Cristian Prandea, Maria Surducan and Sorina Vazelina have used comic strips to raise awareness about environmental degradation of the Adriatic coast in a project called "Bitta Generation".
Famous comic strip authors such as Belgian Dominique Goblet and Edmond Baudoin of France will attend the festival, which runs until November 20.