The annual Angouleme Festival, or Festival International de la Bande Dessinee, as it's properly known, kicked off in Angouleme, France this week. Guests include a worldwide assortment of comics creators; some of the names North American comic fans might recognize are Eric Powell, James Kochalka, Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Simone Bianchi, Gabrielle Dell'Otto and Adrian Tomine, just to name a few.
I love Angouleme. I really do. It's one of my favorite comics' festivals, and unlike any other I know of. The simple fact that it takes over an entire French town makes it unique in and of itself. A whole town! You step off the train and you can't help but feel the love that's bestowed upon our beloved graphic story-telling medium over the course of these next five days.
Walking into Gare Montparnasse in Paris to catch the TGV to Angouleme is just like walking into JFK to board aplane to San Diego Comic Con... it's a who's who of European comic creators. I was there with Olivier Jalabert from Soleil and we ran into all kinds of folks heading to the con; Olivier Vatine, Nic Kermidas, Theirry from Delcourt, and even Eric Powell, who I'd surprisingly never met before. The party started there as beers were bought and the train was boarded.
He also notes the popularity of Secret Invasion shirts at the Panini booth:
Buy fifty Euros worth of product from Panini and they throw in this damn cool Secret Invasion t-shirt for free! And judging by the amount of green I've been seeing around the show today, Panini's selling a lot of Marvel product!
Tom Spurgeon notes a few news stories to follow this weekend: the economy, of course, and whether it will affect attendance; a general strike by civil servants in France that may affect travel to the festival; and controversy over what to show at a South African comics exhibit. The Comics Reporter is also running reports from Bart Beaty during the show; so far two of them have appeared:
If crowds are down due to the strike, you'd never know it. Readers are out in force and we're waiting to see if readers will turn into buyers. Consensus from publishers and retailers in many countries is that the downturn isn't being felt "at the moment."
Apparently Beaty is calling in these reports; I'd hate to see the phone bill come Monday. For more Angouleme fun, check out YouTube for a host of videos from the festival (in French, of course)