Belgium: a land full of comic books
BRUSSELS – Almost two-thirds of the books bought in Belgium are comic books, according to a study published on Wednesday.Wow! And according to this related item:
La Derniere Heure reported that Wallonia’s culture minister Fadila Laanan had commissioned a survey into the state of reading in the French-speaking community.
It found EUR 232 million was being spent on books in French, with 62 percent on 'bande dessine' tales about Tintin and other comic characters.
Publishing houses in Wallonia and Brussels raked in EUR 227 million in 2003 alone.
"Youngsters started to draw comics wanting to become famous one day. That's why there are so many comic artists here," De Graeve says.Of course, France is a major competitor in this field:
About 80 percent of comic books printed in Belgium are exported, so Belgians are used to the fact that many of their authors are recognised and respected internationally.
Angoulême highlights the fact that France has become one of Belgium's main competitors in the field of quality comics.I've got a few Asterix books at home, that's the comic book from France I've been most attached to. But look at that, how in contrast to the United States, in Europe, children have much more of an interest in comic books/strips than across the Atlantic. My guess? Because, simply put, parents are encouraging them to read. If parents in the US were to do the same, and encourage reading, starting with anything that is available that's suitable for children, then maybe a case could be made to make the flagship Marvel and DC comics kid/family friendly again!
"France is becoming more important in comics. You see more young artists being published there than in Belgium. But if you bear in mind that France is a big country and Belgium a small one, I think there is still relatively more creativity in Belgium," De Graeve says.
Comic book dedication is one thing where Europe is way ahead of America on. That's why, in the US, we have a lot of catching up to do.
If you understand French, you can visit La Maison de la Bande Dessinée, Brussels BD Tour, and The Angoulême Festival.
Labels: Europe and Asia