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SMURFS: A BELGIAN CREATION READY TO TOUR THE WORLD

Holy Smurf! Come along to an unusual immersive experience that will prepare Belgians (and all Earthlings) for Smurf life. In 1958, Belgian writer Pierre Culliford, also known as Peyo, fell in love with the mischievous little blue gnomes while writing a Johan and Peewit story (The Flute with Six Holes). Sixty years later, Smurf Village 2.0 has come to the Brussels Expo. Come and meet Peyo’s star creations from 9 June 2018 until the 27 January 2019 in Hall 4. Their empire includes more than 50 million comics sold in more than 90 countries, 272 TV episodes broadcast in more than 100 countries, 41 YouTube channels, 3 feature-length films and 4 theme parks. If you haven’t heard of the Smurfs by now, ghastly Gargamel will turn you into salt dough! 

2018: YEAR OF THE SMURFS

Only a country as Smurf-tastically surreal as Belgium could name 2018 the ‘Official Year of the Smurfs’. The Minister of Foreign affairs is mobilising his global network of diplomats for this special occasion. Brussels Airlines is also transforming an Airbus A320 into a colourful ‘Aerosmurf’ (take a look at the background). Over the years, Peyo’s little blue gnomes have become the most authentic ambassadors for Belgian humour and values. The Smurfs made their debut in the world of comics in 1958, as minor characters in one of Peyo’s earlier Johan and Peewit medieval adventures. In order to celebrate the Smurfs’ sixtieth birthday in style, the IMPS society wanted to use their copyright to the Smurf universe to create a major event to celebrate Peyo’s impressive legacy. This initial idea was coupled with the creativity and know-how of Stéphan Uhoda and his team. This association gave life to The Smurf Experience.

LED BY SEASONED PROFESSIONALS

The Smurf Experience is a fully immersive show. ASBL L’Usine à Bulles will be responsible for production and creation, as part of a co-production with DC&J Création. Meanwhile, operations will be led by Cecoforma (Uhoda group), an organisation specialised in communication and events. They are well known in Brussels and Wallonia, and have a strong international network. Leading this unusual project is Stéphan Uhoda, chairman of L’Usine à Bulles and CEO of Cecoforma. Born in 1953 in Liège, Uhoda is a culture and heritage aficionado. He joined his family’s service station business after studying at the University of Liège Administration and Business School.

Also read: Smurfs are coming to Brussels Ice Magic!

In 1978 he went on to manage the company. Cecoforma was involved in the technical assistance sector, in both Belgium and abroad. Uhoda diversified in 1990 after the Wallonia Region bought Cecoforma on behalf of the European Commission. In 2016, he acquired Dynamic Events, a B2B and B2C event management company. As a collector of contemporary art, Stéphan Uhoda has also invested in a number of cultural institutions in Liège. “Arts and culture are sources of inspiration for people, including entrepreneurs. The Smurf Experience is a project that is at the intersection of different kinds of work that the Uhoda group carries out. Above all, it was the product, the Smurfs, which convinced us to take on this project. The Smurfs are an amazingly powerful communication tool for spreading important messages,” says Uhoda.

To bring the Smurf Experience to life, L’Usine à Bulles called on seasoned professionals, starting with set designer Marcos Viñals Bassols from Barcelona. He studied interior architecture at the Institut St Luc, followed by set design at La Cambre. He has worked extensively with Belgian directors and producers. He was responsible for, amongst others, the set design for the Battle of Waterloo Memorial. “I was raised on comics, Peyo’s work in particular. Nowadays, children grow up to cartoon Smurfs on the TV, in cinemas or on YouTube,” explains the designer. “The main challenge to overcome in the Smurf Experience set was how to translate the expectations of the different target audiences (children and ‘big kids’) into something coherent.” Meanwhile, L’Usine à Bulles chose Mario Iacampo as executive producer of the project. He is the managing director of Exhibition Hub, an international exhibition creation, production and distribution company. They have worked on projects such as Van Gogh-The Immersive Experience and The Art of the Brick, which showcased Lego sculptures of American comic-book superheroes.

IMMERSION 2.0 IN SMURF WORLD

From 9 June, the Smurfs are in Hall 4 of the Brussels Expo for six months. They are inviting you to join them in an incredibly immersive world for an unusual adventure that is fun and educational in equal measure. Visitors will feel like they’ve been shrunk to Smurf-size (thanks to out-sized interiors and characters) as they explore the enchanted world full of discovery and danger. In nine unique spaces covering a total of 1,500 m2, visitors can get a taste of the Smurf lifestyle, speak their language and fight their longstanding enemy Gargamel.

What is the Smurfs Experience? By diving into a giant comic strip, visitors will go deep into a magic forest to reach the Smurf village. They will taste a magic elixir in Papa Smurf’s house that will turn them into Smurfs themselves. Far away, Gargamel is working on a terrible machine that will destroy the village’s climate, our climate. Visitors will have to brave the enchanted forest, avoiding terrible traps that lead to the infamous Gargamel’s lair. They will need all the Smurfs’ help if they are to capture the evil wizard and destroy his awful invention. The adventure has a happy ending and visitors are invited to the village party where they can learn the Smurf dance!

PERFORMING ARTS AND TECHNOLOGY

By using the latest technical innovations, this immersive Smurf experience has a realistic interactive dimension. Animated hologram Smurfs are incorporated in the spaces. A computer graphic Gargamel, trapped in a cage, interacts with the audience thanks to live motion capture. There are giant projections on tarpaulins thanks to video mapping and technology developed by Faceshift means visitors can look into a virtual mirror and see a Smurf version of themselves reflected back! There will also be several amazing virtual reality experiences for them to try out. “This technology was specially adapted for the Smurf Experience through the creation of unique content. One of the big moments in the Experience is a virtual reality section where visitors escape Gargamel and fly back to the village on a stork. It’s a gripping, realistic flight!” says producer Mario Iacampo. Dirty Monitor is the company which developed the different apps used in the Smurf Experience.

“We wanted to present the Smurfs as modern characters that have moved with the times, not as old trolls with white beards, no offence Papa Smurf. Since their inception, Peyo’s blue gnomes have always had this amazing capacity for reinvention and relevance. We have ensured that all the technology can be used by all our visitors, young or old,” adds Chloé Beaufays, the Smurf Experience spokesperson.

The performing arts are present throughout this ambitious show. Throughout the visit there are different activities involving characters in costume. Two of them are at the entrance in a comic strip frame to talk to visitors. Others work Grumpy Smurf, Lazy Smurf and Jokey Smurf puppets from a 120cm stand. “These actors share spontaneous interactive moments with the audience. They can adapt each performance to their reactions,” says Mario Iacampo.

DEFENDERS OF UNIVERSAL VALUES

Part of the show’s appeal is the values the Smurfs espouse: honesty, courage, tolerance, solidarity and generosity. They have healthy lifestyles and care about protecting the environment. “These universal values transcend age, gender and culture, and it’s in this spirit that the Smurf Experience was created. The Smurfs’ values encourage you to reflect on the modern world,” explains Véronique Culliford, the CEO of IMPS.

In 2016, the Smurfs were chosen as ambassadors for 17 sustainable development goals (SDG) set out by the United Nations. 195 countries adopted these goals in 2015. The SDG correspond to three main objectives to be fulfilled between now and 2030: end poverty; protect the planet and guarantee prosperity for everyone. They have been chosen as the themes in the educational content incorporated in the Smurf Experience. Seventeen objects scattered throughout the visit embody the SDG and are accompanied by information sheets and projections. For example, there is a washing line for gender equality, a safe to reference the eradication of poverty and a rolling pin is a symbol of reducing economic inequality. There are also teaching materials for school groups which have been produced with the different education systems in the north and south of Belgium in mind. These materials are available in the three national languages.

“The SDG are a fabulous resource for making young children think about sustainable development,” says Marcos Viñals Bassols. “What’s more, as the Smurf Experience is expected to go on tour around the world, particularly in countries where children don’t necessarily know about the pressure our planet is under, this educational message takes on even more importance.”

A SHOW PARTLY FUNDED BY TAX SHELTER

With a 5 million euro budget, the Smurf Experience is an ambitious immersive show. A fifth of the budget came from Tax Shelter, which expanded to performance arts in 2017. Combining performance with innovative sound, image and set technology, the Smurf Experience corresponds perfectly to the newly expanded Tax Shelter framework. By using this funding source L’Usine à Bulles has collaborated with the DC&J Création cooperative, Tax Shelter specialists Inver, the Theatre de Liège and Theatre Jean Vilar.

The Smurf Experience also relies on the support of several private and public partners. Its main sponsor is Daoust, a Belgian human resources company that was named Business of the Year 2016 (Ernst & Young, L’Écho) and Best Career Transition Company at the HR Excellence Awards 2017. Daoust will be sporting Smurf colours throughout 2018. “The Smurfs are an important source of our national pride. Our collaboration with the Smurfs highlights the Belgian roots our family business holds dear. Beyond this Belgian spirit, this collaboration was a no-brainer as Daoust and the Smurfs share common values such as respect, friendliness and being family-oriented. These values are really at the heart of our famous “Welcome to the Family!” motto explains Giles Daoust, company CEO and recently named Young Top Manager in The Entrepreneur Awards.

Also read: Comic festival unveils great new features this year

BNP Paribas Fortis, as well as other public institutions (the National Lottery, Brussels Region and some of its organisations such as Visit Brussels, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the German-Speaking Community) are also lending their support to the Smurf Experience.

AN INTERNATIONAL CALLING

In 2019, the Smurf Experience will set out on a five-year world tour. The sets, the storyline and the technology incorporated in the show were planned so that they can be adapted to a range of audiences around the world. Several interested parties from Europe, the Middle East and Asia have been in touch, before the Experience had even been launched. Peyo’s little blue gnomes have succeeded in the fantastic feat of becoming ambassadors for Belgian heritage around the world.

ONCE UPON A TIME…

It all began on 23 October 1958 in the pages of the Belgian magazine Spirou. Johan and Peewit were the heroes of a comic set in the Middle Ages. A little voice appeared on the 36th page of their ninth story saying, “Can’t you look where you put your Smurfs? You nearly smurfed me!” Then a little blue-skinned gnome popped up from behind a stone. It led Johan and Peewit to the village. The Smurfs had made their début in Peyo’s world. Nobody could have imagined that this modest beginning would mark the start of a global phenomenon. As minor characters in “The Flute with Six Holes”, they could have disappeared after “the end”, but the audience’s enthusiasm made that impossible. From then on, Peyo took them on their own adventures, firstly in short stories in a smaller format, then in a series of full size albums the success of which grew and grew.

Thirty-six albums later, with more than 50 million albums sold around the world, the Smurfs have become international icons of Belgian comics. But these mischievous little blue creatures soon leapt off the pages and onto our cinema and TV screens, and digital platforms. ‘The Smurfs and the Lost Village’ came out in 2017. It was the third feature-length animated film starring Peyo’s mini heroes and the first full-length CGI (computer generated imagery) animation. A new 3D animated series is planned for 2020. The Smurfs also have their own official YouTube channel available in 41 languages. They star in musicals and are special guests at theme parks in Antwerp, Dubai, Malaysia and Moscow (in 2019), and soon they will be heading to China too.

PEYO: A MODEST, SELF-TAUGHT MAN

Pierre Culliford (known as Peyo) was born in Brussels on the 25 June 1928. He had to work from the age of 15, starting out as a cinema projectionist, then moving on to working in a cartoon studio. The studio closed and Peyo decided to move on to comics. He published comic strips in a wide variety of daily papers, but it was difficult at first.

He did not become successful until he joined Spirou magazine. With fellow artists Franquin, Morris and Roba, their work formed a milestone in humorous European comics. After the Smurfs appeared, Peyo continued working on the adventures of Johan and Peewit, as well as Poussy the cat, and he created Benoît Brisefer, a boy with super-powers (known variously as Tammy Tuff, Benny Breakiron and Steven Strong in English). However, the global success of the Smurfs meant they ended up taking up all his energy. He devoted himself to them and their destiny (in all its forms) until his death in 1992. There are qualities that were embodied in Peyo’s art and were key to the success and timelessness of his work: clear storytelling, a poetic sense of humour, an effective style and constant creativity, not forgetting key values which transcend generations such as tolerance, belief in the future and respecting others.

Studio Peyo was founded in 1964 and trained several big names in Belgian comics, such as Derib, Gos and Walthéry. Six illustrators (three of whom were trained by the father of the Smurfs) still carry on Peyo’s work today. One of them is Thierry Culliford, Peyo’s son, who cowrites new stories with Alain Jost and Luc Parthoens. The 36th album, ‘The Smurfs and the Dragon of the Lake’, came out in March 2018.

Some statistics about the power of the Smurf brand

• 700 active licences

• 100 million Schleich figurines sold

• 1 billion dollars of annual revenue generated by selling retail products

• Over 75 million video game downloads

• 1 Smurf Haribo eaten every minute around the world

60 YEARS OLD AND STILL GOING STRONG

The opening of the Smurf Experience on 9 June was one of the key moments in the “Official Year of Smurfs”, which is packed full of events.

• Since 24 March, one Brussels Airlines Airbus A320 has been flying with a Smurf makeover.

• In April, the studio that creates the Smurf comics created a special drawing for the 60th anniversary of the Atomium. It is on display in front of the kid’s sphere.

• On 24 May, the Expo Peyo, an exhibition telling the life story of the great comic artist, opened in the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles in Paris (opposite the Pompidou Centre). The exhibition is on until 28 October 2018

• On the 19 June, a Smurf mural will be officially unveiled close to Brussels Central Station (next to the Hilton Brussels Grand-Place). A second fresco will be inaugurated in Rochefort.

• On the 31 August, the Smurfs will once again serve as mascots at the Memorial Van Damme athletics event.

• In September they will be guests of honour at the 9th Brussels Comic Strip Festival.

• In October, the Smurfs’ birthday month, (their actual birthday is 23 October), a heritage book about Peyo’s work will be released.

Also read: A lot for comic lovers in Brussels this year

Have you ever been hooked by cartoon strips like Smurfs?  How far you can travel to be part of this experience? Please share your experience in the comments section below!

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Comics Festival unveils great new features this year


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Comic Book Festival
BOZAR © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

There are not many comics festivals in the world like the now famous Brussels Comics Festival in the European capital. To mark its 9th year, from 14–16 September 2018, the Brussels Comics Festival contains its own batch of novelties. This year the brave Alix is celebrating 70 years of existence and will be honoured right through this weekend dedicated to the 9the art. Since its inauguration in 2010 by visit.brussels, the Comics Festival has come a long way. Launched after a year dedicated to Brussels about the 9th art, each year the Comics Festival welcomes nearly 100,000 visitors and more than 250 comics artists.

Comic Book Festival
Parc de Bruxelles – Warandepark © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

This year, the Comics Festival will once again be taking up its place in Brussels park where the traditional tents will be pitched over 14, 15 and 16 September coming. Aside from the regular giant balloon parade or the rally of cars drawn from the huts of the greatest comics, the Comics Festival offers lovers of the genre talks, screenings, signings and other activities suitable for all.

Comic Book Festival
Parc de Bruxelles – Warandepark © Visit Brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

For its 9the year, this unmissable event for comics fans has its own batch of new features:

• The courageous Alix will be honoured throughout the festival. From the exhibition poster to the Balloon’s Day Parade, the Gallic hero will be present everywhere.

• There will be two exclusives exhibitions:

o “Alix–The art of Jacques Martin”:This is the show-piece exhibition of this year’s festival. In collaboration with the publisher Casterman and the Royal Museum of Arts and History (Parc du Cinquantenaire), it will be produced by all parts for the Comics Festival. This will bring together around 150 original drawings arranged by topic (historical references, treatment of women and homosexuality, treatment of the imagination, etc.) situated among the permanent museum collections in the Parc du Cinquantenaire and will be on display for 4 months.

Also read: A lot for comic lovers in Brussels this year

o “Live in Fran Disco”–Thierry Van Hasselt/FMK(Wallonia-BrusselsFederation): This exhibition honours the winner of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation Prize for Comics (Prix Atomium 2017), Thierry Van Hasselt/Fremok for his work “Live in FranDisco”.

Comic Book Festival
BOZAR © Visit Brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

• A Smurf balloon will be appearing in the Balloon’s Day Parade.

• An exceptional comics improv contest: “Spirou vs Fluide Glacia: the clash!”In recent months, a curious tension has been noted in the relations between SPIROU and FLUIDE GLACIAL, two monuments of the comics newspaper press. No holds barred, it seems. As a sharp observer of this battle, Thierry Tinlot, former head editor of the two newspapers, has put himself forward as a referee and proposed an improv match during the comics festival! The only weapon of choice: humour! Players and artists will be defending the honour of their respective magazine. We’re talking here about Berco and Munuera siding with Spirou, and Mo/CDM and Ju/CDM with Fluide… Provided, however, this means the two publications don’t mutually destroy one another. This super-original face-off is taking place at BOZAR. In collaboration with the Belgian Professional Improvisation League.

• Lastly, there was one publisher missing from the Comics Festival. A very important publisher from the north of the country: The Comics Festival is proud to welcome Standaard Uitgeverij this year.

Comic Book Festival
BOZAR © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

Second edition of the Atomium Comic Strip Prizes

Comic strips are an art that has fallen from favour in recent years. It has often proved difficult for professional comic strip artists to make a living from their work. visit.brussels, in close collaboration with the Brussels-Capital regional government, highlights the city’s support for creativity and brings together existing initiatives in awarding mainly cash prizes that will help the winners to finance their work.

Comic Book Festival
Parc de Bruxelles – Warandepark © Visit Brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

In 2017, as part of its 8th edition, the Comics Festival presented the Atomium Comic Strip Prize for the first time. Some 7 prizes, worth a total of 100,000 euros, were presented in September 2017 in BOZAR. Building on this success, the Comics Festival is reliving the experience in 2018, while expanding the concept even further: no less than 9 prizes will be given out for a total amount of 115,000 euros. The sponsor of the second awards ceremony will be French screenwriter Fabien Vehlmann, author of the series “Seuls” and “Spirou and Fantasio”.

Comic Book Festival
Parc de Bruxelles – Warandepark © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

So if you love comics, then Brussels is place to be for you this September.

Have you ever been at Brussels Comics Festival? Share your experience with your favourite comic characters.

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A lot for comic lovers in Brussels this year


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When it comes to Comics, no country celebrates the 9th art like Belgium. This year once again, European capital Brussels is honouring the bande dessinée with a number of key events. Such an array of activities would be impossible to overlook. From the
unmissable comics festival to the book fair, taking in the Smurf Experience, the capital of the 9th art is honouring it more than ever this year.

From its early beginnings in the 19th century, the Belgian bande dessinée or comic strip has garnered truly worldwide fame. Many comic illustrators and scriptwriters from our country, and Brussels artists in particular, have earned recognition far beyond our borders. As the acknowledged capital of the comic, Brussels has continually honoured the 9th art: museums, galleries, markets, festivals and specialist stores dedicated purely to the bande dessinée.

To promote this rich comic heritage, Brussels and Belgian comic artists will be there in force again at the 45th Angoulême International Comic Festival. And, thanks to the support of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Belgian publishers and authors will have the pleasure of unveiling their works to their audience in Angoulême. 2018 is also “Smurf Year” culminating in the organisation of one exceptional event: The Smurf Experience. Aside from the comics festival taking place from 14–16 September, the Belgian capital is offering a series of activities centring on the 9th art right through the year, a taste of which is to follow.

The Smurfs are celebrating their 60th birthday

It all began back in 1958. These tiny blue creatures, fruit of Peyo’s imagination, first appeared in another series by the same author, ” Johan and Pirlouit “, and instantly won the hearts of readers demanding new stories about the Smurfs. In 2018, they will be celebrating their 60th birthday.

This Smurfantastic year will be marked by several events: the 5th iconic Brussels Airlines aircraft will be taking off with a Smurf makeover, a gigantic comic mural will be inaugurated at the heart of the capital and a surprise will be unveiled on the Grand-Place of Brussels. Moreover, the Smurfs share a birthday with another symbol of Brussels, the Atomium which is also celebrating its 60th birthday, with another surprise to mark this double celebration. Lastly, there will be a thrills at the Belgian National Day festivities (21 July) at the 20 km Brussels and at the Vandamme Memorial athletics championship – with the highlight being the holding of a special event: The Smurfs, an immersion experience.

The new Flemish comic strip

The new Flemish comic festival brings together a string of talented authors, who are all developing their own individual style. However, their artistic differences do not stop these hungry young artists from sharing the same ambition: conquering the world (of the comic strip). They include Brecht Evens, Nix, Olivier Schrauwen, Pieter de Poortere, Simon Spruyt and Judith Vanistendael. Translated into several languages, they are renowned for their illustrating and scriptwriting qualities, both in Belgium and internationally.

Dates : until 03/06/2018

Location : Comic Strip Museum

Chinese comic panorama

While the oldest illustrated Chinese book dates from 868, well before Gutenberg invented the printing press, the manhua (Chinese comic strip) really began to take off in the first half of the 20th century, as it did in Belgium. Mr Wang, the first serial comic strip hero, appeared in 1929, the same year as Tintin. And Sanmao, the most famous Chinese comic strip character, was created in 1935, at the same time as ” the Blue Lotus “, Tintin’s adventure in China! Yet the Chinese comic strip also includes the lianhuanhua, which has its origins in a thousand- year tradition of storytelling through images.

Dates : 13/02/2018 > 09/09/2018

Location : Comic Strip Museum

Everybody loves Tintin

The comic strip will be exhibiting at the Brussels Book Fair

At its Imaginary Palace, the Brussels Book Fair will be offering wonderful live drawing sessions featuring the stars of the 9th art such as Enki Bilal, Benoît Sokal or François Boucq. This workshop will offer an opportunity for a total immersion in the world of comic strip artists with multimedia screenings. At the Comix Factory, visitors will also get a chance to enjoy the buzz of a drawing studio and to learn more about the comic strip of tomorrow, somewhere between tradition and the digital world. Don’t miss : the Comics Night on 23 February. This festive evening will be inviting all authors present to take part in an impressive mural that will impress everybody.

Dates : 22 > 25/02/2018

Location : Tour & Taxis

The Smurf Experience

60 years after their creation, 2018 will be “Smurf Year” culminating in an exceptional highlight event: The Smurf Experience. The world conceived by Peyo will come to life through a series of unique experiences, taking place over a full-immersion circuit. An unforgettable family experience will also be highlighting Smurf values: friendship, tolerance, working together, respect for others and nature. The wonderful world of the Smurfs will extend over 1500 m2. Using holograms, enhanced reality or Kinect effects, both children and adults will learn about the customs of this restless and peaceful tribe, even when they are threatened by their sworn enemy, the infamous Gargamel, who will not rest until he has erased this haven of peace from the face of the earth! And the little ones will get a chance to fulfil their dream of experiencing a real Smurf adventure in Smurf skin and at Smurf scale.

Dates : 09/06/2018 > 29/01/2019

Location : Brussels Expo

Catel : Women’s careers in drawing

Catel has become, in just two decades, a big celebrity in the the French-language comic strip scene, through her portraits of famous women. The Strasbourg-born artist started out by illustrating a number of comic books and annuals for children before drawing her first fictionalised biographies. Meeting the author and screenplay writer José-Louis Bocquet would have a formative effect on the trajectory of her work. Together, they would tackle an album dedicated to Edith Piaf. The graphic novels “Kiki de Montparnasse”, “Olympe de Gouges” and “Joséphine Baker” would follow. She will be meeting Benoîte Groult and talking about the life of Rose Valland and also Mylène Demongeot. Somewhere between graphic literature and comic strip, Catel has earned a retrospective at the Comic Strip Museum.

Dates : 19/06/2018 > 25/11/2018

Location : Comic Strip Museum

Magasin Général

Magasin Géneral (General Store) is series drawn and written by Régis Loisel and Jean-Louis Tripp. The two colleagues combined their talents from 2006 to 2014 in creating, in nine instalments (or volumes!), a moving village symphony, which brings 1920s rural Quebec marvellously to life. As funny as it is sweet.

Dates : 25/09/2018 > 10/03/2019

Location : Comic Strip Museum

Urbanus

In the early 80s, the Belgian illustrator Willy Linthout dreamt up a comic strip based on the Belgian comic Urbanus. « Het fritkotmysterie » (or the chip shop mystery) is the first album in a saga that would run for more than 170 episodes. Purposefully loud, with its absurd characters and amazing story lines, it was enormously successful. Welcome to the surrealist universe of Urbanus!

Dates : 11/12/2018 > 26/05/2019

Location : Comic Strip Museum

The Brussels Comics Festival, the 9th fair for the ninth art !

Since its launch in 2010, the Comics Festival has become the essential meeting point for all comics lovers. Young and old, amateurs or specialists, everyone shares a passion for the ninth art and each year they meet at various activities put on for them. Last year, in 2017, the Comics Festival presented the Atomium Comic Strip Prize for the first time. This was Brussels’ way of showing its support for creative endeavour, bringing together existing initiatives by awarding these prizes, the majority of which were presented as cash prizes to enable the winners to finance their work. In total, at least 100,000 euros in prize money was given out to 7 artists.

Given the notable success of this first round, prizes are being awarded again this year with some new features to be announced shortly.

Dates : 14 > 16 /09/2018

Location : Brussels Park

BALLOON DAY PARADE & TINTIN RALLY

Cars on the stroll!

The comic figure giant balloon parade will be taking over the capital on the weekend of the Comics Festival. The spectacular balloon inflation will begin in the morning. In the afternoon, Spirou, Tintin, Le Chat, Boule, Lucky Luke and their new friends will start their annual game and will be taking over the main streets of Brussels. It will then be the turn of the ancestors of the Tintin Rally to sweep into the capital ending their journey on the Place des Palais.

Date : Comics Festival

Location : Brussels city centre

So, lot to love in these comic characters celebrated in Belgium like nowhere else. Many events to plan in advance. Just be there, if you love comics.

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The Comic Strip World ready to literally invade Brussels

Bande Dessinée Mur BD Stripmuur Le jeune Albert (c) Olivier van de Kerchove

From 1st through 3 September 2017 Brussels will become the capital of Comic Strips. Besides the Parc de Bruxelles and BOZAR where the main activities of the weekend will take place, Comic Strips will colour the city. Numerous activities, exhibitions, signing sessions and all sorts of other events will charm young and old throughout this weekend dedicated to the 9th art. For this, its 8th edition, Brussels’ Comic Book Festival is spreading out across the city. Beyond the Parc de Bruxelles, it will be featured at BOZAR, Brussels’ prestigious Palais des Beaux-Arts. And just to make the festival even better, an international pavilion is also setting up shop at the Brussels Comic Strip Festival. It’s the cherry on top of a 2017 schedule that was already bursting with new things.
Each year the Brussels Comic Strip Festival brings together many big names from the comics industry. This year it will be impossible to miss this essential ninth art gathering. From musical performances to film screenings and a drawing concert, comics lovers of all ages will be able to literally explore the world of the ninth art’s major players.

Not to be missed at BOZAR:
Exhibitions:
· The Brussels Comic Strip Festival presents a selection of panels from this hilarious new album with drone overflights, exploding abandoned suitcases, and inappropriate selfies.
· Thorgal (exhibition of originals) : As part of the 40th anniversary of the famous series created by Jean van Hamme and Grzegorz Rosinski, discover over thirty original black and white panels.
· Gaston:(guest of honour) : In the prestigious setting of Horta Hall at Bozar, Gaston will roll out his best gaffes for a flash (full-size!) exhibition on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of his debut in the SPIROU Journal in 1957. An exhibition created especially for the Comic Strip Festival.

Frescoes :
· Kim Jung Gi is leaving his native Korea to give you the chance to watch him complete one of his impressive murals over three days.
· Grzegorz Rosinski offers an inside view of his universe in the time it takes to draw.

Screenings:
Very first public screening of the film « Le Petit Spirou », in the presence of the creators of the Comic Strip : Tome et Janry (tickets on sale at BOZAR)
Screening of the feature film ” Titeuf ” in the presence of: Zep
The original show : TRAGAWDOUKOUTRRR: ode to the gaffophone:
In this original show, Max Vandervorst makes music with instruments that were not musical before crossing paths with this totally crazy conductor. (tickets on sale at BOZAR)

On the Place des Palais :
The Balloon Day Parade and the Tintin Magazine Rally
Sunday 3 September: Festival visitors will live the rich life of Belgian comic books thanks to the serendipitous combination of the “Balloon Day Parade” and the Tintin Magazine Rally. The parade of giant comics character balloons will invade the capital early in the afternoon. Then the progenitors of Tintin Magazine will rally in the capital before ending their journey on the Place des Palais :

In the city :
But the Festival is not limited to the Parc de Bruxelles nor to BOZAR. A variety of original activities will take place too in different key spots all over the city. Here’s a sneak peek.

Guided tours
Guided tours to view Comic Strip frescoes
Travel across Brussels with a professional guide from Arkadia to admire such likeable characters as Astérix, Tintin and Milou, Néron and even Ric Hochet, immortalised in giant size on the gables of almost 50 houses.

Guided bicycle tour to Laeken
Go on an 8-kilometre cycle ride to Laeken and explore the north of Brussels, where two wheels go hand in hand with the ninth art world. Professional guides from Pro Velo will accompany you throughout this journey of comic strip discovery.

© visit.brussels – Eric Danhier – 2017

Exhibitions and activities across the city
Galerie Tintin©Hergé will present a facility devoted to the Tintin Imagination Museum over the festival’s three-day run! The Tintin Imagination Museum was developed in 1979 and was the subject of a major exhibition at the Brussels Fine Arts Palace that same year. The purpose of that exhibition was to juxtapose the mythical objects collected by Tintin during his adventures with the real objects that inspired them. On the poster for the exhibition, Hergé attempts to organise his main characters’ foray right into the middle of an imaginary facility fit to drive collectors mad with jealousy.

From this poster, a collection of character statuettes and mythical artefacts has been constructed. During the Brussels Comic Strip Festival period it will be possible to see certain pieces already produced for this collection at Galerie Tintin©Hergé as well as certain prototypes of new pieces to come. This facility will also enable visitors to know and understand the documentary context of this Imagination Museum.

Comics have no age bar

Belgian Comic Strip Centre (CBBD)
Zidrou and his accomplices will put on a live show!
Zidrou and his collaborators concoct a show of living drawings in the context of the exhibition that the CBBD is giving them ! Departing from several key words, Master Zidrou will ask five of his artists to create the scenario of an exquisite corpse. Each artist in turn will illustrate a frame of the scenario that, in the end, will become a comic strip. Your chance to discover the incredible graphic talent of Jordi Lafebre, Francis Porcel, Josep Homs, Oriol Hernandez and Godi, plus the way-out scenarist ideas of Zidrou!
Guided tour of the Zidrou exhibition by… Zidrou and some of his accomplices! Guided tour of the Zidrou exhibition by the author and 4 of his artists.

Signing Sessions
Zidrou, Jordi Lafebre, Francis Porcel, Josep Homs, Oriol Hernandez and Godi will sign their work in the hall of the CBBD. But that’s not all! Because the CBBD offers three exhibitions in its magnificent Art-Deco rooms. But be aware that this will be your last chance to enjoy two of these exhibitions:

Champaka Gallery
“Ravage & Co.” Exhibition
Writer Jean-David Morvan has a knack for discovering outsize “made in Asia” graphics talent. After Korean Kim Jung-gi, here is the Philippines Rey Macutay! Trained at the demanding Manilla animation studios storyboard school, he has always dreamed of making comics. The dream came true when J-D Morvan entrusted him with drawing Jaurès (2014) and, especially, Ravage (2016), the second instalment of which comes out in September. The two artists are engaged in a modern reimagining of René Barjavel’s masterpiece. As a veritable graphical adventurer, Macutay combines the dynamism of comics and mangas while incorporating the readability of European comics. With bold composition, panels laid out like paintings, and energetic drawing, Rey Macutay is fearless. Taking part in the Brussels-Capital Region’s Brussels Comic Strip Festival, the exhibition – a world premiere – displays major panels from Jaurès, Outlaw Territory, and Ravage.

Korean Cultural Centre in Brussels
The blue ghost, Youth
The Korean Cultural Centre of Brussels will hold its 4th exhibition of Belgian and Korean comics under the theme of “blue ghost, Youth” in cooperation with Manhawa Contents Agency (KOMACON) which hosts the Bucheon International Comics Festival. This year, KOMACON is celebrating its 20th anniversary and on this occasion, seven Belgian and Korean authors will present their works about “Youth.”
Artists: CHOI Gyusuk, SOO Shinji, RYU Seunghee, HAN Hyeyeon, Frank PE, Dominigue GOBLET, CONZ

Filigranes Bookstore
Atelier Mille Exhibition
Atelier Mille is more than just a studio! The product of a meeting of five former students from the Saint-Luc Institute in Brussels, the studio has since expanded to welcome new illustrators. To mark the occasion of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, the studio and its members are exhibiting on the great red wall of the Filigranes bookstore. Come and admire the panels, drawings, research, etc. of the new Belgian comics dream team!
Members: Flore Balthazar, Léonie Bishoff, Thomas Gilbert, Nguyen Hieu, Nicolas Pitz, Emilie Plateau, Jérémie Royer, and Tiffanie Vande Ghinste.

Publishing Houses

In addition to meeting the Brussels Comic Strip Festival’s most loyal publishers, visitors can also count on the presence of new publishers making their Brussels “debut”: Rue de Sèvres, Futuropolis, Fluide Glacial, La Revue Dessinée, Sarbacane, Pinceel Distributie, and Stripgids. The Brussels Comic Strip Festival will also have the pleasure of hosting ten independent publishers who are the pride of capital, especially with the Requins Marteaux Publishing (A Méroll World) exhibition, which will be on display at BOZAR.

International Pavilion
Although Belgium is particularly proud of its comics heritage, a number of other countries also have quite a few successful comics to their credit. Among them, 19 foreign cultural delegations will set up shop in the International Pavilion to share their works and enjoy a special interactive time. Exhibitions, autographs, conferences, workshops… will take you on a journey through the ninth art realm! Here’s a sneak peek.

Comics Pass
Experience the Brussels Comic Strip Festival all over town with Comics Pass! Get all kinds of benefits by clipping discount coupons from the official event programme. Just go to the Comic Strip Festival to receive your programme and benefit from reduced-price access to museums and discounts in many Brussels shops.

Balloon’s Day Parade, Tintin Rally to end Brussels’ summer on a high note

Balloon’s Day Parade

As it does each year, the month of September in Brussels will start with a bang as the 8th annual Brussels Comic Strip Festival gets under way. To mark the occasion, the European capital’s streets will be cheerfully decked out in the thousand and one colours of the “Balloon’s Day Parade.” At the same time, the Tintin Magazine Rally will bring its share of activities and new attractions to make this latest edition a real party.

Everybody loves Tintin

New happenings this year

  • A Gaston balloon will appear at the Brussels Comic Strip Festival to celebrate his 60th birthday
  • The Ducobu balloon will also make its parade debut this year.
  • This year the Comic Strip Rally will specially feature cars ripped right from the pages of the Tintin and Spirou magazines.
  • Instead of the customary single kick-off, there will be four starts this coming Sunday, 3 September.
Comics have no age bar

Since its debut in 2010, the Brussels Comic Strip Festival has become the main event for comics fans. Young and old, novices and experts, all share a passion for the ninth art and come together each year to participate in the variety of activities on offer.

Great occasion for kids to learn
Children get to have first hand experience of drawing cartoons

On Sunday, 3 September, comics fans will eat, sleep, and breathe Belgian comics thanks to the seamless combination of the “Balloon’s Day Parade” and the Tintin Magazine Rally. The parade of giant comics character balloons will invade the capital early in the afternoon. Next, the forerunners of the Tintin Magazine Rally will reach the capital, ending their journey on Place des Palais.

Writers are there to sign the books
Artists are there to give some lessons in sketching
There is art of sculpture of cartoon characters
And cartoon characters themselves in live
There are games to play, from angry birds…
…to simpsons on play machines
There is everything from billboards…
… to food stalls, loved by everyone!

Balloon’s Day Parade

Once again this year, the “Balloon’s Day Parade,” will roll through the streets for nearly two hours. This time two new balloons, Docobu and Gaston, will be delighted to take part in the procession. The spectacular balloon inflation will begin in the morning on Place des Palais.

Parade of the balloons
a big pomp and show!

Over the course of the afternoon, Spirou, Tintin, Le Chat, Boule, Blork de Kid Paddle, Lucky Luke, and their new friends will begin their annual promenade and take over Brussels’ main arteries. During this latest edition, schools (circus, music, sport, etc.) from all over Belgium will be in charge of the parade.

Tintin Magazine Rally

All the Tintin’s cars!

Since its first running in 2013, the Tintin Magazine Rally has become an essential event at the Brussels Comic Strip Festival. This year the rally will take place once again and Tintin Magazine will host Spirou Magazine. In all, about 100 collectors’ cars will participate. In another significant new development, the event will start at four different locations: Lier, Verviers, Jumet, and Anderlecht.

Cars on the stroll!

On Sunday, 3 September, period cars that have appeared in Tintin Magazine and Spirou Magazine since 1946 will lead the way. At about 2 PM, after completing a nearly 100 kilometre course, these legendary cars will arrive on Place des Palais. It’s a wonderful opportunity to immerse in the comics of yesteryear and rediscover these rare gems.

with all the characters!

Two people per car will be invited to dress up and join the rally and take part in a meal among fans. At the end of the rally, a panel will award prizes to the teams and cars that were the most faithful to the two magazines’ original illustrations.

…also top of the class designs!

So if you are fascinated with anything related to comics and cartoons or want to give your cartoon loving kids a treat, than plan a trip to Brussels this September.

Comic Strip Festival gets bigger, bolder and rewarding too!

The Annual feature for the comic lovers of the world is here again. If you love comics, than you have enough time to plan for this once in a lifetime trip to the European Capital as Brussels is holding its 8th annual Comic Strip Festival from 1st to 3 September 2017. From their beginning at the turn of the century, Belgian comics have really become famous the world over. Many illustrators and writers from our country and its capital are well-known beyond its borders. That is reason enough to dedicate a weekend to this rich cultural heritage.

Bande Dessinée Mur BD Stripmuur Le jeune Albert (c) Olivier van de Kerchove

For its 8th running, the Brussels Comic Strip Festival is marking the occasion with its fair share of new things. Beyond the traditional Balloon’s Day Parade, conferences, and autographs, the event will literally expand its scope. The festival will award Europe’s biggest prizes, offer premiere film and manga screenings, madcap performances, and many other original activities.

Fete de la Bd – Stripfeest (c)VISITBRUSSELS -E.Danhier

Since its debut in 2010, the Brussels Comic Strip Festival has become the main event for comics fans. Young and old, novices and experts, all share a passion for the ninth art and come together each year to participate in the variety of activities on offer. More than 100,000 people and some 250 famous authors gather every year. For this 2017 edition, the essential events are definitely on the schedule: autograph sessions, the predecessors of the great Oldtimer Rally, the Balloon’s Day Parade and many more. There’s a whole range of activities to delight everyone.

© visit.brussels – Eric Danhier – 2017

Festival also gets a new prestigious location. Besides the Parc de Bruxelles, le Brussels Comic Strip Festival will take over the prestigious setting of Brussels’ Palais des Beaux-Arts, BOZAR. Two new places that pair phenomenally well together for the Brussels Comic Strip Festival. Festival-goers will be able to stroll along as they please, enjoying countless activities and novelties on offer wherever they go. From hundreds of autograph signings to premiere cartoon screenings and multiple exhibitions and encounters with professionals, ninth art fans will have plenty to keep them entertained. For the first time in its history and thanks to its new set-up at Bozar, the Brussels Comic Strip Festival will also be able to offer premiere film screenings!

Fete de la BD – Stripfeest

Comic strip writing has become something of an endangered activity in these last few years, with the industry’s professionals often finding it hard to make a living from it. As the organisers of the Comic Strip Festival, visit.brussels has been working in close collaboration with the Brussels-Capital Region in a bid to show its support for the creative process and bring existing initiatives together by launching a series of awards, most of which will be in cash and will allow the winners to fund their work. Offering €100,000 in prize money, a total of seven awards have already been confirmed, with several more in line to be added to the list between now and September.

Jean-David Morvan

Brussels Comic Strip Festival will award some brand new comics prizes for the first time: The Atomium Prizes, during a gala evening when no less than €100,000 will be awarded for the best new works from the past year. French comics writer, Jean-David is the sponsor of the Atomium Prizes. Jean-David Morvan will be on hand at his exhibition throughout the Brussels Comic Strip Festival. There he will discuss his work and welcome his main contributors to his couch. His contributors will come and show him (as well as the audience) their new panels, answer questions, improvise autograph sessions and other original performances.

This year the Brussels Comic Strip Festival is also celebrating good old Gaston’s 60th birthday. To mark the occasion, the Spirou Festival is inviting the famous, sixty-year-old lazybones to the Brussels Comic Strip Festival. An exhibition, a musical performance, conferences – it will be impossible to miss this perennial blunderer.

Over these three days, the European capital will eat, sleep, and breathe comics. A little train will travel around town and stop at the essential Ninth Art destinations around Brussels (Comics Art Museum, the MOOF, murals, book stores, etc.), free guided tours will bring visitors to see comics murals, many organisations from the Brussels-Capital Region will offer activities and discounts related to the Ninth Art. In short, from 1-3 September 2017, comics will be on the menu just about everywhere!

The Brussels Comic Strip Festival has become more international over the last two years. As part of the MIXITY.2017 year and in keeping with the diverse nationalities that call Brussels home, the booths and activities on offer are multi-cultural and multi-lingual. Languages will be well represented: in addition to the three national languages, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and even Korean will be heard. Clear information available in several languages will be included in the Brussels Comic Strip Festival programme. The Brussels Comic Strip Festival is a Brussels-Capital Region initiative with the support of the City of Brussels and the COCOF, coordinated by visit.brussels.

Eroticism in comics

The 2017 Brussels Comic Strip Festival is taking advantage of its new setting to offer a number of comics-themed exhibitions. Numerous exhibitions will be held there, allowing visitors to explore certain iconic realms of the 9th Art. There will even be an exhibition devoted to eroticism in comics behind closed doors.

Your fantasy world awaits you!

It’s finally that time of the year again! And, its Brussels again!! European and Belgian capital brings another of its amazing events- a celebration of geek culture.

comic-con4Comic Con Brussels returns to the buildings of Tour&Taxis during the weekend of Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 February 2017. Thousands of fans, Cosplayers and other visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the world of science fiction, fantasy and contemporary pop culture of the immensely popular comic books. Comic Con Brussels is an event entirely dedicated to Pop Culture in all its forms: comic, manga, fantasy, sci-fi & horror, gaming and Cosplay. You will find famous actors and authors for signing sessions, a Gaming Area, Fan Clubs, a cosplay contest and many thematic stands. It’s a Con that brings together all the things you love:MOVIES, GAMING, COMICS, MANGA, COLLECTIBLES, ANIME, TV, CLOTHING, TOYS AND GADGETS AND A LOT MORE!

comic-con1Comic Con Brussels wants to offer fans a total experience, which naturally also means inviting several international stars. Autograph hunters should prick up their ears because the list is quite long. With the actor Dirk Benedict, fans are in for a double treat. Many of us known him as Face in the popular series The A-Team but he also played Lt. Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica. We are also pleased to welcome the one and only Sam Jones, better known to audiences as Flash Gordon (with the eponymous soundtrack by Queen), another Eighties era gem who also starred in the blockbuster movie Ted by Seth MacFarlane. And how about a one-off, exclusive European appearance by Kevin Eastman, the original designer and inventor of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? And it wouldn’t be a real fantasy convention without Star Wars of course. Which is why Comic Con Brussels is proud to present an impressive list to mark the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: Paul Blake, or the bounty hunter Greedo in the legendary “Who shot first” scene with Han Solo, Anna Brewster who played the spy  Bazine Netal  in The Force Awakens, Femi Taylor or Oola, Garrick Hagon better known as Biggs, Luke Skywalker ‘s best friend in Star Wars : A New Hope and Michael Carter whom audiences will remember as Bib Fortuna will all be travelling to Brussels. Finally these two big names complete the already impressive line-up: Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle in Game Of Thrones) and James Duva (Frank The Bunny in the cult classic Donnie Darko).

comic-con3But there is more to Comic Con Brussels than meeting international guests. There are hundreds of booths where you can browse some extraordinary merchandise and find fun gadgets, unique games, comics or T-shirts of that one series you have been a fan of for years. You can also learn a lot at Comic Con Brussels. Check out the many workshops where visitors can learn how to wield a Lightsaber, race real drones or enrol in a real Jedi Academy (especially for our youngest visitors, who enjoy free admission)! Do you think you know all there is to know about creating amazing costumes?  Then why not enter the Cosplay contest, which will be judged this year by the internationally renowned Cosplayer Nicole Marie Jean(USA) for a chance to win a 1,000-euro cash prize?

comic-con5This year’s hosts of Comic Con Brussels are the comedian and singer Alex Agnew and the British comedian Matthew Highton. A sure bet that this event will be a barrel of laughs.

comic-con2Whether you’re interested in fab costumes, international stars or plenty of unique merchandise, Comic Con Brussels is an entertaining and amazing event for people of all ages in the magnificent buildings of Tour & Taxis in Brussels.

(Copyright of all images lie with respective owners. No intrusion intended)

Tintin is calling for the Comic Strip Festival

Fete de la BD - StripfeestIf you love comics, then you will certainly love Tintin and when it comes to Tintin, Belgians love him. He is fondly considered as the first citizen of the capital city Brussels. No doubt that Brussels celebrates every year a festival dedicated to comics and comic strips. A unique event of this type anywhere in the world. Belgium has actually created a niche for itself in organising some exclusive festivals, and Comic strip is one of them. This year, festival will be from 2nd to 4th September. So, if you are a comic lover, then it is time to pack and head to Brussels. Here is everything you would like to know about this year’s edition of Comic Strip Festival.

Ninth Art

Belgium, and Brussels in particular, have been fertile ground for comic strips from the very beginning, so it’s entirely fitting that they dedicate a full weekend to the rich cultural heritage that is the “Ninth Art.” Since it began in 2010, the Brussels Comic Strip Festival has grown by leaps and bounds and acquired a reputation as a premier festival in the Ninth Art world. More than 100,000 people are now expected to attend each year as well as 250 renowned authors. And there will be a lot to entice everybody: The endless mazes of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, the superb collector’s items from the great Journal Tintin Rally, and the impressive giant floats of the Balloon’s Day Parade. A wide array of offerings to delight little kids as much as grown-up comic strip fans and Sunday readers.

Fete de la BD - StripfeestAt the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, which will set up shop in the Parc de Bruxelles, there will be hundreds of signings, exhibits, a packed international pavilion, workshops, and activities in every direction. Sales, and contests awaiting festival-goers. This year the Brussels Comic Strip Festival will also provide the perfect occasion to celebrate several important anniversaries: the tenth anniversary of the Raymond Leblanc prize for Young Artists, the 70th anniversary of Le Lombard’s publishing house, as well as Lucky Luke’s 70th birthday. This is the chance to top off the weekend with a few extra surprises!

Finally, it should be noted that this year, the Brussels Comic Strip Festival will play host to a greatly expanded international programme. Just like the multiculturalism in Brussels, the stands under the tents and the outdoor activities will be conducted in various languages. French, Dutch and English will of course be widely present, but also Spanish, Italian, Finnish or even Korean will be heard. As to help the visitor to quickly identify the language in which an event will take place, a free programme of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, mentioning all languages of all events, will be distributed in the tents.

Comic FestivalBrussels will show more than ever that it deserves the title of comic strip capital. Comic strip walls, museums, and bookstores will be in the spotlight while special comic strip activities will pop up around Brussels throughout the weekend and beyond. The whole of Brussels will be decked out in comic strip colours for the first weekend of September. The occasion to highlight the fact that Brussels is bursting with can’t-miss comic strip places: whether it is the 53 comic strip walls scattered around the city, the numerous specialised bookstores and museums, ninth art lovers have found their headquarters.

A Little Train will link these hotspots throughout the weekend. Free of charge, it will make its way through the streets of Brussels from the Brussels Comic Strip Festival’s marquee entrance. It will take visitors on a tour several kilometres in length, passing by, or stopping at, the Comic Strip Museum, the MoOF (Museum of Original Figurines), the Korean Cultural Centre which will present its second comic strip exhibition, comic strip walls, specialised bookstores, and other points of interest.A free Comic Strip Pass comes with this tour and offers discounts at museums and stores.

Comic stripsAnother way to explore these comic strip sites is to take advantage of the free guided tours led by professional guides specialising in comic strips. On one hand, there will be a walking tour of comic strip murals dotting the European capital: over the course of an hour and a half, the guides will share the unique history of the murals, these sections of abandoned walls decorated with comic strip themes. On the other hand, there will be a three-hour bicycle tour departing from, and returning to BIP (Brussels Info Place) that runs to Laeken, off the beaten path, and visits jewels like the Corto Maltese mural and the Parc de Laeken.

Special Comic Strip Festival activities

The Improv League, in addition to its performances under the marquees, will offer fans the chance to take full advantage of two weekend performances at the Marni Theatre. The Improv Match will obviously be enhanced with the concept of randomness: along with three comedians, the show will include two cartoonists. Together, they will share a funny improvisational moment, combining theatre and drawing. The Cinematek will also play along by presenting a comic strip film each day during the Brussels Comic Strip Festival weekend. Personalities from the comic strip world whose works inspired the film or vice versa will introduce “Paul in Quebec,” “The Army of the Twelve Monkeys,” and “Planet of the Vampires.” The films will be shown in their original language with subtitles in French and Dutch or English.

Comic StripIn addition to the five major publishing houses, and tens of small and micro publishers, the many merchants and BD booksellers and 250 authors present, the chapters of the Comic Festival will bubble with cultural, recreational and professional activities on first weekend of September. This year, the Comic Festival aims to launch on the discovery of the ninth art of close or distant lands. An international pavilion will welcome representatives from more than ten countries around the world, as well as their authors, their works and their curiosities.

Talks: For the third consecutive year, the Comic Festival programme is complemented by a double series of conferences, hosted by the authors and designers of all backgrounds. This year, the first series is entitled “Comics around the world”. Quebec, the guest of honour this year, and the participants of the International Pavilion will host discussions, round tables and presentations to lead visitors through the culture of the ninth art. The second series, “When Comics become teachers”, analyses how comics can offer everyone current topics, society matters and sometimes complex science.

Exhibitions: A number of free exhibitions will pop up under the big top. These vital partners are also bringing the renowned exhibitions and retrospectives of their author. It’s a chance to discover unexpected gems or original drawings! The Jeu de Bulles gallery in Brussels will also flaunt its impressive collection of pieces from the world of Hergé. Finally, the 22 cartoonists of The Cartoonist will celebrate the comic strip and its heroes in their exhibition, with which they have grown up and frequently referred to in their own drawings. And this is but a brief selection: the Centre belge de la bande dessinée, The Cartoonist, BD Enchères, Banque Dessinée, 501st FanWars Garrison and the 9th Art Gallery also provide a nice compilation of the most original surprises.

Comic FestivalWorkshops and entertainment: In addition to the necessary Spirou Festival and entertainment and games planned for the 70 years of Lombard, an infinity of other options are available to all festival-goers. Those who want to laugh uproariously can relax in the spectacle of the improvisation of the actors of the Ligue d’Impro, led by Quebec’s designers. Those who like to see things large can admire the giant fresco which Frank Pé will make during the Brussels Comic Strip Festival.  Those who want to engage in the delicate art of caricature can follow the advice of the Atelier 24. Finally, the “geeks” and fans of manga can meet in Belgotaku to hunt for manga treasure, to read or to learn to draw the Japanese way. For the most avid of new horizons, the International Pavilion will reveal the comic in all its diversity.

Finally, toddlers and youth will see their creativity challenged; they will have fun tinkering, becoming revampers or by colouring in the Kids Zone, or learn the ropes of humorous comics by creating their own board at the Macadam Valley stand. The more adventurous will visit the “Sky High Survival”, an inflatable structure over six metres high erected by Éditions Kana.

Tintin RallyThe journal Tintin Rally: The Brussels Comic Strip Festival is organising the journal Tintin Rally for the third year in a row. In what has become an essential weekend tradition, the race of vintage vehicles will gather nearly 80 collector cars. On Sunday, 4 September, vintage vehicles found in the journal Tintin from 1946 to 1988 will be invited to participate in the great rally. After a journey of about one hundred kilometres and a stop at the Hergé Museum, these cars will arrive in Brussels from 2:30 PM. The public will then be able to come and admire the myriad of auto bodies at Place des Palais/Paleizenplein next to Parc de Bruxelles/Warandepark where the festival of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival will be in full swing at the same time. This should be a delightful spectacle for people of all ages and interests. At the end of the race, a panel of judges will award the prizes for the cars that best match the journal Tintin.

EDAN5232The Balloon’s Day Parade: On the occasion of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, the 8th Balloons’ Day Parade will take place along the main streets of Brussels. Composed of famous Belgian comic strip characters, the Balloons’ Day Parade will give kids young and old the opportunity to see these gigantic balloons. This year, the Balloons’ Day Parade will take place on Sunday 4 September. For an hour and a half, a parade of giant balloons taking the form of comic strip characters will cross the city, turning it upside down. The Balloons’ Day Parade and the Comic Strip festival will plunge comic fans into the fantastic world of Belgian comics. Another brand new balloon representing a famous comic strip character will join this year’s parade.  The impressive sight of the balloons being inflated will begin in the morning at the Place des Palais. During the afternoon, Billy, Spirou, Tintin, Le Chat and their new friends will parade through the city centre. The route comes to an end at De Brouckère, where the balloons will be deflated. The Brussels Police Band will open the parade. In addition, folk groups from around Belgium will join this colourful parade to provide entertainment.

(All photos: courtesy Visit Brussels)

Fly with balloons in comic festival!

Fête de la BD 2011 Stripfeest
Fête de la BD 2011 Stripfeest

On the occasion of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, the 7th Balloons’ Day Parade will take place along the main streets of Brussels on the first weekend of September. Composed of famous Belgian comic strip characters, the Balloons’ Day Parade will give kids young and old the opportunity to see these gigantic balloons.

Fete de la BD - Stripfeest
Fete de la BD – Stripfeest

This year, the Balloons’ Day Parade will take place on Sunday 6 September. For an hour and a half, a parade of giant balloons taking the form of comic strip characters will cross the city, turning it upside down. The Balloons’ Day Parade and the Comic Strip festival will plunge comic fans into the fantastic world of Belgian comics. Another brand new balloon representing a famous comic strip character will join this year’s parade.

Fete de la Bd - Stripfeest 2012 (c)VISITBRUSSELS -E.Danhier
Fete de la Bd – Stripfeest 2012 (c)VISITBRUSSELS -E.Danhier

The impressive sight of the balloons being inflated will begin in the morning at the Place des Palais. More than 1.000 m3 of helium will be needed to breathe life into the balloons, most of which have crossed the Atlantic to participate in this event. During the afternoon, Billy, Spirou, Tintin, Le Chat and their new friends will parade through the city centre. They will pass down important streets like Rue de la Loi, Mont des Arts, Boulevard Anspach and the Bourse quarter. The route comes to an end at De Brouckère, where the balloons will be deflated.

The Brussels Police Band will open the parade. In addition, folk groups from around Belgium will join this colourful parade to provide entertainment.

Comic strip fans can also satisfy their passion at the Comic Strip Festival in Brussels Park as well as other themed events around the capital over the weekend.

Tintin Rally will be back for third year

Tintin RallyThe Tintin Magazine Rally: The must-see of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival is back! The Brussels Comic Strip Festival, which runs from 4-6 September 2015, is organising the Tintin Rally for the third year in a row. In what has become an essential weekend tradition, the race involving dozens of vintage vehicles will try to expand this year to an unprecedented field of more than 80 collector cars.

This coming Sunday, 6 September, on the occasion of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival, vintage vehicles found in Tintin Magazine from 1946 to 1988 will be invited to participate in the great Tintin Rally. After a journey of about one hundred kilometres and a stop at the Hergé Museum, these cars seemingly driven straight off the pages of Tintin Magazine will arrive in Brussels from 2:00 PM. The public will then be able to come and admire the myriad of auto bodies at Place des Palais/Paleizenplein next to Brussels Park where the festival of the Brussels Comic Strip Festival will be in full swing at the same time. This should be a delightful spectacle for people of all ages and interests.

 

Fete de la BD - Stripfeest
Fete de la BD – Stripfeest

Owners of vehicles or motorcycles appearing in Tintin Magazine’s weekly editions between 1946 and 1988 can register in order to bring together the greatest number ever at the Tintin Rally.

Two people per car will be invited to blend in and participate in this parade and share a meal with fellow fans. At the end of the race, a panel of judges will award the prizes for the cars that best match the Tintin Magazine’s drawings.