Thursday, February 21, 2008

French comics culture

If you look further you will see that the BD section - pronounced Bay-Day - is in fact sub-divided into several categories.

A Japanese artists signs books at the comics fair

There will be classics - Asterix, Tintin, Lucky Luke, the cowboy who shoots faster than his shadow - plus many that never made it out of Franco-Belgium, like Rahan - l'enfant des ages farouches or child of the age of savagery - about a Tarzan-like figure from prehistoric times.

There will be the latest best-sellers. Top of the book lists this month - beating Harry Potter and the latest on President Nicolas Sarkozy's love life - has been the last in a long-running adventure series called Thirteen about a man trying to rediscover his identity after losing his memory.

There will be the American comics section, the Japanese Manga section - this one getting bigger and bigger because they are getting more and more popular.

There will also be the adult section, with works of quite astonishing vividness.

And then, pride of place, the section for what the French call "les Auteurs".

Here, the most highly regarded authors are catalogued by name.

This is the art-house end of the market.

An album in this section may sell only a few hundred copies - compared to half a million for the latest hit - but the true connoisseurs will know all about it.

Here, experimentation and the avant-garde allow the Bay-Day fan to see him or herself as more than just a consumer, rather as a cultured devotee of a thriving art form.

[BBC story: link]

Thanks, Heavy D.

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