European comics

Back in 2000, my buddy Todd Dezago and I had the thrill and honor of being flown over to France by the SEMIC, the publisher that was offering translated volumes of our TELLOS comic to the French and Belgian markets. We were there mainly to attend the massive ANGOULEME international comics festival– but we got to spend three fantastic days in Paris before we took the train out to Angouleme. Paris was absolutely amazing, I have to say, and I could go on forever about all the wonders of the place…. but for the purposes of this entry, I’m going to concentrate on the comics angle.

The thing that first struck me as remarkable was that there seemed to be window displays of comics (or ALBUMS– hardcover comics that run around 48 pages and are much larger than our comic books) on almost every corner. The wonderful thing about Europe (and France in particular) is that comics are a much more visible, accepted form of entertainment. And unlike here in the States, a great wide variety of art styles and subject matter are on display for all to enjoy. And they ARE enjoyed. Humor and funny animal comics stand proudly beside science fiction, fantasy and adventure comics. One of the most amazing experiences I had was when Todd and I went into a huge book store called FNAC, which reminded me of a Barnes and Noble here in the States– and turning a corner, our eyes were greeted by the sight of a GIGANTIC area where every recent comic album available were on display. It was such an awe inspiring sight. I could swear I heard a chorus above me and light split the ceiling to flood down on the displays. It was almost a religious experience, I was so stunned at what I was seeing! And there were so many people standing or sitting around reading these things. Young AND old. Little kids stood next to old men– middle aged women sat next to teen aged boys… all reading or browsing these comics. I could have spent the entire week we were there in that place alone. I looked through as much material as I could, and grabbed everything I could carry to buy. I don’t remember how much I spent, but I should have had the albums shipped home, because carrying them in my bags almost broke my shoulders on the way home after the festival.

So when I learned that there was going to be a thread about European comics characters over at SKETCHBOOKSESSIONS, well, I had to join in!! The two sketches here today are from two of my favorite European comics– the first is from the series “LES LUMIERES DE L’AMALOU illustrated by the great Claire Wendling. She’s an amazing artist, and I was able to get 4 of the books in the series. The second sketch is of the character ATALANTE from a series illustrated by the equally amazing Didier Crisse. Anyone who has read the TELLOS: MAIDEN VOYAGE one-shot knows how fantastic Crisse’s work is– and Todd and I are lucky to know and have worked with this talented guy.



I have a great love for the amazing works in comic art that come out of Europe (in particular France and Belgium), and I hope to be able to get my grubby mitts on a lot more of that stuff in the future. It’s hard to come by over here– so for now, I’ll just have to console myself with the handful of books I have right now.


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