Lucca Comics & Games: ‘I’m not a CEO, I’m a Dungeon Master’ | Films | Entertainment


If you aren’t in the know, Lucca Comics and Games 2023 is about to kick off next week in Lucca, Italy.

For an entire week, the fortress town in Italy will be taken over by countless nerd culture brands, companies, and experiences to celebrate the fandom.

From Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to PlayStation, Star Wars, Riot – and beyond. During this time, the town will become the hotbed for more than 800,000 geeks from around the world.

And this year it’s star-studded, as well. DC Universe star Joe Manganiello is attending as the convention’s partner, and so, too, is Sir Ian Livingstone; gaming’s forefather.

But right at the top of the chain is Emanuele Vietina: King of the Nerds.

The Italian native has been putting on Lucca Comics and Games for years, but his passion for the annual experience began when he was just a child.

Speaking exclusively to, Emanuele looked back: “I came into Lucca hand-in-hand with my mother.”

At just eight-years-old, the wide-eyed fan visited Lucca for the first time and had his destiny changed for good.

He went on to volunteer at the gates of the Lucca, and now runs the whole event. And this year is particularly special for Emanuele – and the attendees of Lucca Comics and Games.

Originally two festivals (Lucca Comics & Lucca Games), this year’s event marks 30 years since the inception of Lucca Games. It also shares a 30th anniversary with the exceedingly popular trading card game, Magic the Gathering, and indeed one of Emanuele’s favourite video games of all time: Myst.

But Emanuele was quick to stamp out any thoughts of Lucca being just a place for companies to shout about their successes. “We don’t call Lucca Comics and Games a show or festival. We call it a community event. Because our first mission is to take care and love our communities.”

Emanuele practices what he preaches, as well. He still games (“I play a Middle-Earth board game every week”) and is very involved with the comic book world. So he knows how important Lucca Comics and Games is to the people who actually attend and engage in these spaces. “The deepest motivation for us,” he smiled. “Is to give back to show our gratitude.”

While speaking to Emanuele it was obvious that he truly loves his job. Sure, he gets to deal with lots of games and comics in his day-to-day work, but there’s surely a lot of admin that goes along with it.

Still, he doesn’t see it that way. Instead, he looks at organising a global event a bit like… playing Dungeons & Dragons.

“I am the director of the festival,” he said. “But, I feel in myself I am a Dungeon Master.

“I don’t really like… I’m not a director, I’m just preparing a quest for people in this beautiful town. We are passionate guys who want to organise this show, this convention, that the community would like to attend.”

Lucca Comics and Games 2023 begins November 1, 2023. Get tickets here. 


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