Angoulême International Comics Festival in France - with Tintin, Asterix and Art Spiegelman!

Franco-belgian comicTintin is in a jar, photo by Curio & Co. 

A week of French food, French wine, and French comics – Vive la bande dessinée!

You would hardly think the small town of Angoulême could hold such a big festival.  But the Angoulême International Comics Festival is big.  With 21 exhibition areas, the 4-day event drew over 200,000 comic fans from all over the world.  The festival is the largest in Europe, and one of the largest in the world. 

And with such a high profile, the festival brings in some amazing artists.  The guest of honor for this 39th festival was world-renowned comics author, Art Spiegelman, winner of the 1992 Pulitzer for his graphic novel ‘Maus’.  He received the festival’s Grand Prize, making him only the second American in the festival’s history to receive the award, (after Robert Crumb in 1999).  The festival included a retrospective of his work, along with a special exhibition of his personal comics collection.

And there was a lot of amazing work to take in. 

The Flemish Literature Fund knows how to make a splash.  The institution, which promotes Flemish authors in Belgium and abroad, had the best booth at Angoulême.  For the last four years, they have been presenting original graphic novels and translated work from Flemish authors in the form of a Belgian café, the ‘Café BD Chez les flamands’.  The attention to detail in the design and set up of the café was remarkable – you really thought that you wandered from a tent into an old café somewhere in Antwerp.  And the books, of course, were beautiful.

But the book we saw everyone carrying was American Barbarian by Tom Scioli, published by Chris Pitzer at AdHouse Books.  Tom and Chris are the nicest guys and we were happy to meet them (and even happier to bring our own copy of the book home).  It’s nice to see a publisher taking so much care with their books.

Curio & Co. had a terrific time in France at the 39th annual Angoulême International Comics Festival.  See you next year Angoulême!