** International Comic Book Festival in Angoulême **
The 40th edition of the International Comic Book Festival in Angoulême was held from January 31 to February 3, 2013. An ArtFx team was there for the occasion to share in some of the cultural experiences.
Below is a rather subjective overview of the Festival.
A quick inventory of indispensable items for surviving the Festival’s challenges
- Various maps of the city and the Festival so you can organize your schedule: It’s impossible to see everything in such a little time!
- A good pair of shoes; It is necessary to cross the charming town of Angoulême around twenty times a day in order to go from exhibit to exhibit. And don’t forget your raincoat and other gear to affront the cold/rain and other adventurous weather conditions.
- It is not useful to think about brining a car, most of the Festival takes place in the center of town and it is very difficult to park so it’s better to opt for a good pair of shoes.
- Portable chairs are a must for signature maniacs (of whom there are many). The wait for signatures is long and the are tons and tons of authors!
- Immortalizing this moment is a true assembly of fun and interesting elements: cosplays, private events, and very cool stands!
- A large bag dedicated exclusively to the multiple ‘goodies’ that will be collected during your visit!
Massive Cultural Zone
The Festival is extremely rich, as a result it can be difficult to organize your time.
- First, there is a large number of exhibits, each one more interesting than the other.
For the 40th edition, there was “Uderzo in Extenso ”, a retrospective on the work of Uderzo, “The Worlds of Jano” in the style of 80’s comic books and rock & roll, “Special Corea” where one could discover the best artists, or better yet the much anticipated exhibition of “Mickey & Donald, All an art!” (read the retrospective of this one here).
These are all very rich exhibits, but as explained earlier, you can’t see everything. The keyword: ORGANIZATION!
- Other events: During the International Meetings this year Leiji Matsumoto (“father” of Albator and Interstella 5555), Albert Uderzo and others from the summits of the Comics world were presented.
- Le Monde des Bulles which mainly brings together comic book publishers and authors (this is where signatures and meetings with authors is possible), and certain partners connected to this universe: Cultura, Wacom, etc. Here the Comic Book fans are captivated by crossing paths with Bill Willingham, Charlie Adlard and Arthur de Pins… and so it is here that you find the largest crowds gathering. You must be prepared to do whatever it takes to navigate this area.
- Finally, since they are not officially presented during the Festival, The “Off” (impertinent people have renamed it F*Off…) presents the independents and the micro-publishers. In summary, an amalgam of bizarre, but rather interesting, things focused on very particular subjects (some would say, ‘obscure’), with a peculiar ambiance and unique artists.
Gold mine for Comic Book Fans (that is to say: bring gold with you!)
Beyond these multiple cultural meetings, the Festival has a strong spending appeal (meaning you develop an irrepressible desire to buy almost everything you see…).
Between le Monde des Bulles, where one finds the most celebrated and authors and comics of the moment, different independent stands where the discoveries are numerous, and finally the para-Comics stand where exhibitors and vendors are selling splendid pieces: originally published works of the greatest authors, Comic Book posters, precious books, or other titillating cinema or video game products… you won’t know where to look!
So, don’t forget the keyword: organisation. And if you are the type to open your wallet, avoid these areas, this could prove to be fatal for you (don’t forget that you are currently reading a “Survival Guide”).
To conclude, it is a very rich festival, a little too rich perhaps in that one feels exhausted by the extensive progam of things to see and do. Merchandising is also very present, which bothers some people, but the magic is still there.
After enjoy the great atmosphere and seeing all the smiles on the faces of the attendees and exhibitors, I look forward to coming back next year.
Some photos from 2013 Angoulême Festival
Click on the photos to see the slideshow.
[small_button]English version by Danielle Harrell, English teacher for ArtFx[/small_button]